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The First 12 Marx Brothers Movies

Updated on August 10, 2016

Experience the comedy gold of the Marx Brothers with 12 of their classic films. The Marx Brothers comedy still holds up today. These movies are packed with sight gags, wicked one-liners, puns, over-the-top misunderstandings, and general zaniness.

All of the Brothers best scenes and lines are in one of these great movies.


Three years ago I came to Florida without a nickel in my pocket. Now, I’ve got a nickel in my pocket.

The Cocoanuts

Mr. Hammer (Groucho) runs a bankrupt hotel. With the help of two shady visitors (Chico & Harpo), he schemes to make money selling nearby lots.

This is the first Marx Brothers movie which debuted in 1929. It is essentially a filmed version of the stage and Broadway show the brothers had been performing the prior two years.

Some standout scenes include:

Harpo in the lobby tearing up the guests’ mail and his amazement at being able to make young women (hotel employees) appear by ringing a bell. Later he also “carpet swims”.

Grouch and Chico’s famous “viaduct” exchange (why a duck?).

Chico out bidding everyone for the lots, rendering them worthless to Groucho.

Groucho MC’s the engagement party speeches, keeping it moving despite Harpo’s interruptions, and insulting some of the guests.

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.

Animal Crackers

Groucho is Captain Spaulding, an African explorer who’s attending a social function held in his honor. A famous painting is going to be displayed as part of the event but it goes missing.

Some standout scenes/moments from the Marx Brothers second film include:

Groucho singing “I Must Be Going”

The guests honor Groucho by singing “Hooray For Captain Spaulding”, with Groucho’s accompanying dance.

Harpo chases women at a full sprint.

Harpo’s various antics with his feet and legs (putting them in people’s hands)

Chico and Harpo’s “flesh” exchange (flash light).

The butler tries to set up a card table with Harpo’s “help”.

During a bridge game, Harpo plays endless aces of spades.

Groucho dictates a letter to Zeppo.

All of the host’s silverware falls out of Harpo’s coat.

I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Monkey Business

The Brothers are stowaways on an ocean liner. They’re hired by rival gangsters as tough guys. The third Marx Brothers movie was the first one scripted directly for the screen.

Some of the best scenes/moments include:

To hide out, Harpo puts his head into a puppet show. It blends in really well.

Chico and Harpo pose as barbers.

Chico and Harpo “fight” to show how tough they are.

Groucho says goodbye to someone and then walks into a closet.

In a very well known and funny scene, the Brothers all impersonate Maurice Chevalier to get through customs.

Groucho gives commentary on a fight.

"You know, you’ve got the brain of a four-year-old child, and I bet he was glad to get rid of it.

Horse Feathers

Professor Wagstaff (Groucho) is the new president of Huxley College. He wants to hire two ringers for the big football game but accidentally hires Chico and Harpo instead.

Some of the highlights include:

Groucho sings “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It”.

Groucho’s introductory remarks to the College Board.

Chico asks Groucho for the password to get into a speakeasy.

The Brothers disrupt a class, giving lots of nonsense answers.

The climactic football game, including a horse drawn carriage.

I could dance with you ‘till the cows come home. On second thought, I’d rather dance with the cows ‘till you came home.”

Duck Soup

Groucho is Rufus T. Firefly, dictator of Freedonia. Chico and Harpo are hired as spies. Firefly declares war on neighboring Sylvania.

Duck Soup has few musical numbers. It is non-stop Marx Brothers zaniness.

Some of the memorable scenes/moments include:

The famous and often imitated “Mirror scene”, where Harpo pretends to be Groucho’s reflection.

Chico and Harpo aggravate a lemonade vendor first with a confusing exchange of hats and then with Harpo cooling his feet in the container of lemonade.

Harpo tries to break into a safe which turns out to be a radio.

Groucho lets an imaginary insult ruin the peace talks and he strikes the other head of state.

The climactic battle scene which has Groucho in a different uniform after every camera cut.

When I invite a woman to dinner I expect her to look at my face. That’s the price she has to pay.

A Night at the Opera

The Brothers scheme to help a young opera singer get his big break.

It is considered by some to be the best Marx Brothers film.

A Night at the Opera contains some of the Brothers best bits, including:

The Stateroom scene where 15 people are jammed into a room that seemed full with only 3 people in it.

A contract negotiation between Grouch and Chico containing the “Sanity Clause” exchange.

The Brothers pretend to be famous aviators and are forced to make a speech. Their thinning beards eventually give them away.

One dollar and you’ll remember me all your life.”

“That’s the most nauseating proposition I ever had.

The Marx Brothers Collection

A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, Room Service, At the Circus, Go West, The Big Store, A Night in Casablanca
A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, Room Service, At the Circus, Go West, The Big Store, A Night in Casablanca

A Day at the Races

Groucho is Dr. Hackenbush, a veterinarian posing as a regular doctor and treating a hypochondriac, Mrs. Upjohn, at Standish Sanitarium. A young singer buys a horse with the hope of winning money with it to save the sanitarium which is owned by his girlfriend.

Some memorable moments include:

Mrs. Upjohn’s medical examination where the Brothers spend most of their time keeping sterile.

A phone call to uncover Hackenbush’s true identity is intercepted by Groucho with hilariously frustrating consequences.

The famous “Tootsi Frootsi” ice cream scene where Chico sells Groucho numerous books that will supposedly give him a tip on a horse.

Groucho’s dinner with a scheming woman where he affectedly says “thank you” repeatedly.

The climactic horse race.

They stalled as long as they could and then Harpo fakes his death.

Too soon, too soon, he died too soon.”

“An hour too soon.

Room Service

Groucho is trying to get a backer for a play he’s producing. He’s in debt to a hotel so Harpo feigns an illness to keep them from being thrown out.

One of the standout scenes is where the Brothers are melodramatically mournful while pretending that Harpo has died.

Groucho, a lawyer, is invited to learn a circus trick that involves hanging from boots attached to the ceiling.

I have an agreement with the houseflies. They don’t practice law and I don’t walk on the ceiling.

At the Circus

The Brothers try to save a circus from bankruptcy. Groucho plays a lawyer, J Cheever Loophole, who tries to get the needed money.

Notable bits include:

Groucho’s song “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady”

A meeting in the tiny home of Little Professor Atom.

Chico and Harpo search the circus strong-man’s room while he sleeps.

I give you my solemn word as an embezzler; I’ll be back in ten minutes.

Go West

The Brothers help settle a family feud and help an old man make a new life.

Highlights include the $1 scam, the stagecoach ride, and the train chase finale.

The wealthy woman Groucho is wooing expresses concern that he'll meet a younger woman and forget all about her.

Don’t be silly. I’ll write you twice a week.”

The Big Store

The manager of Phelps department store plots to kill the co-owners and take it for himself.

Groucho is hired as a security guard who also woos Martha, one of the owners.

Some highlights include:

a scene in the bed department where lots of children get lost and much chaos ensues

the Brothers roller skate through the store

Groucho’s song “Sing While You Sell.”

"Sir, this lady is my wife. You should be ashamed.”

“If this lady is your wife, you should be ashamed.”

A Night in Casablanca

Groucho becomes manager of a hotel where the previous managers have been killed. Nazis are trying to recover hidden treasures stashed in the hotel.

Highlights include:

Groucho trying to eat while Chico and Harpo interfere.

Groucho’s “customer service” at the hotel check-in desk.

Harpo acts out and whistles his information while Chico tries to guess what he’s saying.

Chico and Harpo on a dance floor that gets smaller and smaller.


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