AFI Movie Club: IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT – American Film Institute
It Happened One Night Film Still - Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert



IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT appears on four of AFI’s lists of the greatest America films – including #8 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs, which chronicles the funniest films ever to grace the silver screen. 

Movie Trivia about IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

DID YOU KNOW the film is the first of only three films to ever win Oscars® in the five major categories – Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Screenplay? The other two members of this exclusive club are ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, both fixtures on AFI’s lists of the greatest American films. 

-DID YOU KNOW Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert performed a radio version of IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT in 1939? The host for the radio broadcast was iconic film director Cecil B. DeMille. 

-DID YOU KNOW that the working title for IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT was “Night Bus” – and it was to have starred Robert Montgomery, who was Frank Capra’s original choice for the part of Peter Warne?

-DID YOU KNOW that director Frank Capra sought Myrna Loy, Margaret Sullavan, Miriam Hopkins and Constance Bennett for the role of Ellie Andrews before selecting Claudette Colbert?

-DID YOU KNOW in an interview filmed for the 1975 feature BUGS BUNNY SUPERSTAR, Warner Bros. animation director Bob Clampett states that he based Bugs Bunny’s characteristic carrot-munching technique on the scene in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT in which Gable chomps on a carrot?

DID YOU KNOW that AFI Trustee Steven Spielberg anonymously purchased Clark Gable’s Oscar® statuette for $607,500 to protect it from commercial exploitation? He donated it back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – saying that there was “no better sanctuary for Gable’s only Oscar® than the Motion Picture Academy.” 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.


The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-What were some the moments or scenes that made you laugh? 

-IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT is considered the first screwball comedy. What is your favorite screwball comedy? Can you name any modern-day screwball comedies? 

-Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert had long careers in Hollywood. What are some of their other films that rank among your favorites? 

-Opposites attract in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. What other films and film couples come to mind when you think of romance between conflicting personalities? 

-IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT came out more that 85 years ago, why is it still beloved today? What other films do you like that are more than 50 years old? 

-How would you rate IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT? 


Watch an exclusive clip from the AFI Archive of Cameron Crowe talking about IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT:

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AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

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