Oscar Best Picture Wiki

The Apartment

Several weeks later, at the company's raucous Christmas party, Sheldrake's secretary Miss Olsen (Edie Adams), drunkenly reveals to Fran that Fran is just the latest in a string of female employees whom Sheldrake has seduced into affairs with the promise of divorcing his wife, with Miss Olsen herself being one of them. At Bud's apartment, Fran confronts Sheldrake, upset with herself for believing his lies. Sheldrake maintains that he genuinely loves her but then leaves to return to his suburban family as usual.

Meanwhile, Bud accidentally finds out about Sheldrake and Fran. Heartbroken, he lets himself be picked up by a woman (Hope Holiday) at a local bar. When they arrive at his apartment, he is shocked to find Fran in his bed, fully clothed and unconscious from an intentional overdose of his sleeping pills. He enlists the help of his neighbor, Dr. Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen), to revive Fran without notifying the authorities and sends his confused bar pickup home. To protect his job, he lets Dreyfuss believe that he and Fran are lovers who had fought, which he took so lightly that he was meeting another woman while she was attempting suicide. This comes as no surprise to Dr. Dreyfuss or his wife, who long assumed Baxter was a womanizing playboy from all the noise coming from his apartment at all hours. Fran spends two days recuperating at his apartment, while Bud tries entertaining and distracting her from any further suicidal thoughts, talking her into playing numerous hands of gin rummy.

Since she has been missing, Fran's brother-in-law Karl Matuschka (Johnny Seven) comes to the office looking for her. She has not been there and neither has Bud. The previous day, one of the executives had seen Fran in the bedroom when he came to the apartment hoping to borrow it, and mentioned it to the other executives. Resenting Bud for denying them access to his apartment, the executives direct the man there. Bud again takes responsibility for Fran's actions, and Karl punches him twice in the face. Fran kisses Bud for not revealing her affair with Sheldrake to Karl, and Bud, sensing that she now cares for him, smiles and says the punch "didn't hurt a bit".

Sheldrake rewards Bud with a further promotion and fires Miss Olsen for telling Fran his history of womanizing. However, Miss Olsen retaliates by telling his wife, who promptly throws him out. Sheldrake moves into a room at his athletic club but now figures that he can string Fran along while he enjoys his newfound bachelorhood. When Sheldrake asks Bud for the key to the apartment on New Year's Eve, Bud refuses and quits the firm. That night at a party, an indignant Sheldrake tells Fran about Bud refusing to let Sheldrake use the apartment, especially for bringing Fran there, and then quitting. Fran finally realizes that Bud is the man who truly loves her. Fran deserts Sheldrake at the party and runs to Bud's apartment. Arriving at the door, she hears a loud noise like a gunshot. Afraid that Bud has shot himself, Fran pounds on the door. Bud, holding a bottle of overflowing champagne, finally opens the door, surprised and delighted that Fran is there. Bud has been packing for a move to another job and city. Fran insists on resuming their gin rummy game, telling Bud that she is now free as well. When he declares his love for her, her reply is the now-famous final line of the film: "Shut up and deal", delivered with a loving and radiant smile.


Immediately following the success of, Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond wished to make another film with Jack Lemmon. Wilder had originally planned to cast Paul Douglas as Jeff Sheldrake; however, after he died unexpectedly, Fred MacMurray was cast.

The initial concept for the film came from by Noël Coward, in which Celia Johnson has an affair with Trevor Howard in his friend's apartment. However, due to the Hays Production Code, Wilder was unable to make a film about adultery in the 1940s. Wilder and Diamond also based the film partially on a Hollywood scandal in which high-powered agent Jennings Lang was shot by producer Walter Wanger for having an affair with Wanger's wife, actress Joan Bennett. During the affair, Lang used a low-level employee's apartment. Another element of the plot was based on the experience of one of Diamond's friends, who returned home after breaking up with his girlfriend to find that she had committed suicide in his bed.

Although Wilder generally required his actors to adhere exactly to the script, he allowed Jack Lemmon to improvise in two scenes: in one scene he squirted a bottle of nose drops across the room, and in another he sang while making a meal of spaghetti (which he strains through the grid of a tennis racket). In another scene, where Lemmon was supposed to mime being punched, he failed to move correctly and was accidentally knocked down. Wilder chose to use the shot of the genuine punch in the film. Lemmon also caught a cold when one scene on a park bench was filmed in sub-zero weather.

Art director Alexandre Trauner used forced perspective to create the set of a large insurance company office. The set appeared to be a very long room full of desks and workers; however, successively smaller people and desks were placed to the back of the room, ending up with children. He designed the set of Baxter's apartment to appear smaller and shabbier than the spacious apartments that usually appeared in films of the day. He used items from thrift stores and even some of Wilder's own furniture for the set.

The film's title theme, written by Charles Williams and originally titled "Jealous Lover", was first heard in the 1949 film . A recording by Ferrante & Teicher, released as "The Theme from The Apartment", reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart later in 1960.


At the time of release, the film was a critical and commercial success, making $25 million at the box office and receiving a range of positive reviews. film critic Bosley Crowther enjoyed the film, calling it, "A gleeful, tender, and even sentimental film." film critic Roger Ebert and ReelViews film critic James Berardinelli both praised the film, giving it four stars out of four; Ebert added it to his Great Movies list. The film has a 93% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 54 reviews; the site's consensus states that "Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos." As of March 2015, the film holds a 4.00/5 weighted mean rating on rating aggregator site RateItAll.

However, there was also a wave of criticism. Due to its themes of infidelity and adultery, the film was controversial for its time. It initially received negative reviews for its content. Film critic Hollis Alpert of the called it "a dirty fairy tale". According to Fred MacMurray, after the film's release he was accosted by women in the street who berated him for making a "dirty filthy movie" and once one of them hit him with her purse.

The film earned a profit of over $1 million during its theatrical run.

33rd Academy Awards (Oscars) – 1960[edit]

The Apartment received 10 Academy Award nominations and won 5 Academy Awards.

Although Jack Lemmon did not win, Kevin Spacey dedicated his Oscar for (1999) to Lemmon's performance. According to the behind-the-scenes feature on the American Beauty DVD, the film's director, Sam Mendes, had watched The Apartment (among other classic American films) as inspiration in preparation for shooting his film.

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