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Going My Way
Theatrical release poster (with executive producer B. G. DeSylva given prominent credit)
Directed byLeo McCarey
Screenplay by
Story byLeo McCarey
Produced byLeo McCarey
CinematographyLionel Lindon
Edited byLeRoy Stone
Music byRobert Emmett Dolan
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • May 3, 1944 (1944-05-03) (New York City, premiere)
  • May 29, 1944 (1944-05-29) (US)
Running time
126 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$6.5 million (US/Canada rentals)[2]

Going My Way is a 1944 American musical comedy drama film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald. Written by Frank Butler and Frank Cavett, based on a story by McCarey, the film is about a new young priest taking over a parish from an established old veteran. Crosby sings five songs[3] with other songs performed onscreen by Metropolitan Opera's star mezzo-soprano Risë Stevens and the Robert Mitchell Boys Choir. Going My Way was the highest-grossing picture of 1944, and was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning seven, including Best Picture.[4] Its success helped to make movie exhibitors choose Crosby as the biggest box-office draw of the year,[5][6] a record he would hold for the remainder of the 1940s. After World War II, Crosby and McCarey presented a copy of the film to Pope Pius XII at the Vatican. Going My Way was followed the next year by a sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's.

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  • Going My Way (1944) - Official Trailer
  • Going My Way (1944) - Clip: Right Field Preacher (HD)
  • Going My Way Official Trailer #1 - Bing Crosby Movie (1944) HD
  • Going My Way (1944) - Clip: First Impression (HD)
  • Going My Way (1944) - Clip: Basement Choir (HD)



Father Charles "Chuck" O'Malley (Bing Crosby), an incoming priest from East St. Louis, is transferred to St. Dominic's Church in New York City.

On his first day, his unconventional style gets him into a series of mishaps; his informal appearance and attitude make a poor impression with the elder pastor, Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald). The very traditional Fitzgibbon is further put off by O'Malley's recreational habits – particularly his golf-playing – and his friendship with the even more casual Father Timmy O'Dowd (Frank McHugh). O'Dowd tricks O'Malley into revealing that the bishop actually sent him to take charge of the parish's affairs, with Fitzgibbon remaining on as pastor. To spare Fitzgibbon's feelings, O'Malley acts as if he is simply his assistant.

The difference between O'Malley and Fitzgibbon's styles is openly apparent as they deal with events like a parishioner being evicted and a young woman named Carol James (Jean Heather) having run away from home. The most consequential difference arises in their handling of the church youth, many of whom consistently get into trouble with the law in a gang led by Tony Scaponi (Stanley Clements). Fitzgibbon is inclined to look the other way, siding with the boys because of their frequent church attendance. O'Malley seeks to make inroads into the boys' lives, befriending Scaponi and eventually convincing the boys to become a church choir.

The noise of the practicing choir annoys Fitzgibbon, who goes to the bishop and asks for O'Malley to be transferred away. In the course of the conversation, Fitzgibbon infers the bishop's intention to put O'Malley in charge of the parish. To avoid an uncomfortable situation, Fitzgibbon asks the bishop to put O'Malley in charge, and then, resigned to his fate, he informs O'Malley of his new role. A distressed Fitzgibbon runs away in a rainstorm, returning late that night. O'Malley puts the older priest to bed, and the two begin to bond. They discuss Fitzgibbon's long-put-off desire to go to Ireland and see his mother, now over 90 years old. O'Malley puts Fitzgibbon to sleep with an Irish lullaby, "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral".

O'Malley runs into Jenny Tuffel (Risë Stevens), an old girlfriend whom he left to join the priesthood. Jenny now has a successful career with the Metropolitan Opera, performing under the stage name Genevieve Linden. As she prepares to go onstage as the lead in a performance of Carmen, the two discuss their past, and she learns that her world travels with a previous opera company caused her to miss his letter explaining he had entered the priesthood.

O'Malley next pays a visit to Carol, now suspected of living in sin with Ted Haines Jr. (James Brown), the son of the church's mortgage holder. O'Malley describes to the young couple his calling in life, to follow the joyous side of religion and lead others to do the same, sung as his composition "Going My Way". When the junior Haines is later confronted by his father, the father discovers that he and Carol have married, and he has joined the Air Force.

Jenny visits O'Malley at the church, sees the boys' choir, and reads the sheet music of "Going My Way". She, O'Malley, and O'Dowd devise a plan to rent out the Metropolitan, have the choir perform it with a full orchestra, then sell the rights to the song, saving the church from its financial woes. When Max Dolan (William Frawley), the music executive brought on to hear the song does not believe it will sell, the choir decides to make the most of its opportunity on the grand stage, and sings "Swinging on a Star". The executive overhears and decides to buy it, providing enough money to pay off the church mortgage.

With everything settled, O'Malley is transferred to a new assignment; O'Dowd will be Fitzgibbon's new assistant, with Tony Scaponi in charge of the choir. However, the church is damaged by a massive fire. On Christmas Eve, parishioners gather in a temporary church for a Mass that also serves as O'Malley's farewell. O'Malley sent for Fitzgibbon's mother (Adeline De Walt Reynolds) from Ireland as a parting gesture. As mother and son embrace for the first time in 45 years, the choir sings "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral", as Father O'Malley quietly slips away into the night.



St. Monica Catholic Church (2007)

Risë Stevens, whose character is seen onscreen performing the lead role in a Metropolitan Opera (the Met) production of Carmen, was an actual performer with the Met when the film was made. A few years later she would earn enormous personal triumph as the Met's Carmen in the famous Tyrone Guthrie production of 1951, becoming the leading Carmen of her generation.[7]

Filming locations included the following:[8]


Critical reception

According to Bosley Crowther in The New York Times, Going My Way was "the best" of Crosby's career, which is "saying a lot for a performer who has been one of the steadiest joys of the screen. But, in this Leo McCarey film ... he has definitely found his sturdiest role to date."[9] Crowther, however, criticized the film's length while lauding Crosby, and wrote that "he has been stunningly supported by Barry Fitzgerald, who plays one of the warmest characters the screen has ever known. As a matter of fact, it is a cruel slight to suggest that this is Mr. Crosby's show. It is his and Mr. Fitzgerald's together. And they make it one of the rare delights of the year."[9]

Variety endorsed the film, saying: "Bing Crosby gets a tailor-made role in Going My Way, and with major assistance from Barry Fitzgerald and Risë Stevens, clicks solidly to provide top-notch entertainment for wide audience appeal. Picture will hit hefty biz on all booking ... Intimate scenes between Crosby and Fitzgerald dominate throughout, with both providing slick characterizations ... Crosby’s song numbers include three new tunes by Johnny Burke and James Van Heusen — 'Going My Way,' 'Would You Like to Swing on a Star' and 'Day After Forever.' Trio are topgrade and due for wide pop appeal due to cinch recording and airings by Bing. He also delivers 'Ave Maria,' 'Adeste Fideles' and 'Silent Night' in addition to a lively Irish-themed song, 'Toora-loora-looral' with boys' choir accompaniment."[10]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a score of 83% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 7.0/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald are eminently likable, and film is pleasantly sentimental, but Going My Way suffers from a surplus of sweetness."[11]


The film received ten Academy Award nominations at the 1944 ceremony and won seven, including two for Barry Fitzgerald (whose work on the film was nominated for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor). Bing Crosby won for Best Actor, while Fitzgerald won for Best Supporting Actor. (Subsequently, the rules were changed to prevent a recurrence).[12]

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Motion Picture Leo McCarey (for Paramount Pictures) Won [13]
Best Director Leo McCarey Won
Best Actor Bing Crosby Won
Barry Fitzgerald Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Won
Best Screenplay Frank Butler and Frank Cavett Won
Best Original Motion Picture Story Leo McCarey Won
Best Cinematography – Black-and-White Lionel Lindon Nominated
Best Film Editing Leroy Stone Nominated
Best Song "Swinging on a Star"
Music by Jimmy Van Heusen;
Lyrics by Johnny Burke
Argentine Film Critics Association Awards Best Foreign Film Leo McCarey Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Picture Won [14]
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Barry Fitzgerald Won
Best Director – Motion Picture Leo McCarey Won
National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films 2nd place [15]
Best Acting Bing Crosby Won
National Film Preservation Board National Film Registry Inducted [16]
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Won [17]
Best Director Leo McCarey Won
Best Actor Bing Crosby Nominated
Barry Fitzgerald Won
Photoplay Awards Won
Picturegoer Awards Best Actor Bing Crosby Won

In 2004, Going My Way was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[18][19]


Bing Crosby recorded six of the songs for Decca Records[21] and some of them were issued on a 3-disc 78rpm set titled Selections from Going My Way. “Swinging on a Star” topped the Billboard charts for nine weeks in a 28-week stay. "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby)" was in the charts for twelve weeks with a peak position of #4. "The Day After Forever" and "Going My Way" also charted briefly.[22] Crosby's songs were also included in the Bing's Hollywood series.

Adaptations and related films

Fred Clark (in a guest role) and Gene Kelly (as Father O'Malley) in an episode of the TV adaptation

Going My Way was adapted as a radio play for the January 8, 1945, broadcast of The Screen Guild Theater starring Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald and Paul Lukas. It was also adapted for the May 3, 1954, broadcast of Lux Radio Theatre with Barry Fitzgerald.

The film also inspired an hour-long comedy drama of the same name during the 1962–63 television season starring Gene Kelly in the role of Father O'Malley. The series ran on ABC for one season of 30 episodes.

In 1962, McCarey directed Satan Never Sleeps, also featuring an old priest and his younger substitute but set in a Chinese mission during the Communist takeover of the country in 1949.

See also


  1. ^ McQuade, Martin (June 5, 2023). "A star grows in Brooklyn". The Brooklyn Eagle. Archived from the original on September 28, 2023. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  2. ^ ""All-Time Top-Grossers", Variety 18 January 1950 p 18". 1950.
  3. ^ Going My Way
  4. ^ "Awards for Going My Way". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on April 13, 2012. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  5. ^ "Bing Crosby Overview". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on December 18, 2023. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  6. ^ Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854. Tape 1, side B.
  7. ^ Huizenga, Tom; Tsioulcas, Anastasia (March 21, 2013). "Remembering Risë Stevens, a Star of Opera and Pop Culture". NPR Music. Archived from the original on April 7, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "Locations for Going My Way". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Crowther, Bosley (May 3, 1944). "Comedy-Drama With Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  10. ^ Walt (March 8, 1944). "Going My Way". Variety. p. 14. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  11. ^ "Going My Way". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on January 8, 2024. Retrieved August 13, 2023.
  12. ^ Mike D'Angelo (April 1, 2014). "In 1982, everyone agreed on Jessica Lange (but not for the big prize)". Dissolve. Archived from the original on April 4, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
  13. ^ "The 17th Academy Awards (1945) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  14. ^ "Going My Way – Golden Globes". HFPA. Archived from the original on August 1, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  15. ^ "1944 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Archived from the original on August 30, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  16. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  17. ^ "1944 New York Film Critics Circle Awards". New York Film Critics Circle. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  18. ^ "Librarian of Congress Adds 25 Films to National Film Registry". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  20. ^ Reynolds, Fred (1986). Road to Hollywood. John Joyce.
  21. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". A Bing Crosby Discography. Archived from the original on October 5, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  22. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, US: Record Research Inc. p. 109. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.

External links

This page was last edited on 6 April 2024, at 21:47
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