It Happened One Night (1934) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

  • Ellie Andrews has just tied the knot with society aviator King Westley when she is whisked away to her father's yacht and out of King's clutches. Ellie jumps ship and eventually winds up on a bus headed back to her husband. Reluctantly she must accept the help of out-of- work reporter Peter Warne. Actually, Warne doesn't give her any choice: either she sticks with him until he gets her back to her husband, or he'll blow the whistle on Ellie to her father. Either way, Peter gets what (he thinks!) he wants .... a really juicy newspaper story.

  • In Miami, the spoiled socialite Ellie Andrews is trapped in the yacht of her controller father, the Wall Street banker Andrews, who has just annulled her secret marriage with the snobbish aviator King Westley. Out of the blue, Ellie jumps overboard and swims to the shore. Andrews hires a detective agency to find her and offers a 10,000 dollars reward for any information about his daughter. But Ellie pawns her watch, buys some clothing and a bus ticket to New York to meet her lover. She seats side-by-side with the cynical reporter Peter Warne. However, when a thief steals her purse with her money in a bus stop and Ellie does not report to the police, Peter recognizes and blackmails Ellie, asking her to travel together with him. He promises to protect her and in return he would write her adventure to meet King Westley. Along their journey, Ellie falls in love for Peter; but when he vanishes from the motel where they are lodged and contacts her father later, she believes he was only interested in the reward. In the end, love triumphs and the wall of Jericho falls.

  • Rich heiress Ellie Andrews has married against her father's wishes and manages to get away from him by jumping off the family yacht in Florida. While her father hires a detective agency to track her down, she tries to make her way to New York City. She starts out on a bus where she meets newly unemployed journalist Peter Warne. He's quickly onto her real identity and it's pretty obvious that she's a spoiled brat. She has no money and he decides to help her get to New York thinking he'll get a good story out of it. As they travel together however, they develop an appreciation and an understanding of one another. It soon turns to love.

  • Ellie Andrews is a spoiled heiress who has, against her father's will, eloped with fortune-hunting aviator "King" Westley. Jumping ship in Florida to reunite with her new spouse, her impromptu exit leads her to a bus traveling to New York City where she meets cheeky, charismatic news reporter Pete Warne. Warne, recognizing Ellie, agrees to help reunite the two lovers but with a special caveat: the heiress must give him an exclusive on her story. As the two travel northward together, they take part in a series of misadventures which gives rise to romantic feelings.

  • In Frank Capra's acclaimed romantic comedy, spoiled heiress Ellie Andrews impetuously marries the scheming King Westley, leading her tycoon father to spirit her away on his yacht. After jumping ship, Ellie falls in with cynical newspaper reporter Peter Warne, who offers to help her reunite with her new husband in exchange for an exclusive story. But during their travels, the reporter finds himself falling for the feisty young heiress.

  • Rebellious socialite Ellie Andrews marries King Wesley but her wealthy father has it annulled. Tired of her father's control, she runs away by diving off the family yacht in Miami and heading for New York. On the bus she meets street-smart reporter Peter Warne. They end up traveling together as Warne hopes to get a great story, and Ellie needs his worldly help. Nearing New York, with their many adventures coming to an end, they find that they are reluctantly in love and afraid to admit it to each other. After she mistakenly thinks that Warne has run out on her Ellie returns to King Wesley, but for how long?


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • It Happened One Night begins with a rich heiress named Ellie Andrews sequestered by her father on his yacht, disapproving of her marriage to a famous aviator named King Westley. After an argument, she escapes the yacht and swims away. She buys a bus ticket to travel back to New York to her husband, where she meets an out of work reporter named Peter Warne. Eventually he finds out her true identity from a newspaper article about her escape. He offers to help her get to her destination in exchange for exclusive rights to her story, and secures her cooperation by threatening to turn her in to her father if she does not agree. Andrews and Warne share hotel rooms on their trip, pretending to be husband and wife to keep from arousing suspicion. Because she is a married woman, they put up a blanket as a barrier, with Warne referring to it as the walls of Jericho. One of the other bus passengers recognizes Andrews from an article offering a $10,000 reward for her return. While the bus is stranded in mud, the passenger offers to split the money with Warne if he helps him turn in Andrews. Warne scares the passenger away by implying that hes a professional criminal looking for $1,000,000 in ransom money and then threatens to shoot him when he becomes frightened. Warne and Andrews then leave the bus to hitchhike in case the other passenger decides to turn them in to the police. After they spend the night sleeping in hay, Andrews gets a driver to stop by flashing one of her legs, who turns out to be a robber who drives off with their possessions. After chasing after him, Warne inexplicably returns with a bloody temple and the mans car. In the meantime, the father reluctantly agrees to allow the marriage to the aviator if his daughter returns. While spending another night in a blanket-partitioned hotel room, Andrews throws herself at Warne and proposes that they both be together. Warne seemingly rejects her and after she falls asleep he drives back to New York in the middle of the night. He sells his story about his love and potential marriage to Andrews to his old boss for $1000, so as not to propose to her while broke. Meanwhile, the suspicious manager of the hotel kicks out Andrews when she finds out that Warne has left. Thinking that Warne hates her, Andrews phones her father in order to turn herself in. Her father picks her up with a police escort while Warne is returning just in time to see them drive by. Angry with her, Warne contacts the father about reward money. He agrees to go to their home while a real marriage ceremony for Andrews and the aviator is to take place. He only comes to collect $39.60 for his expenses and not the full $10,000 and admits to the father that he loves his daughter. The father starts to like Warne and during the ceremony manages to convince his daughter that Warne really loves her and that she should leave the aviator. Andrews runs away during the ceremony, her father pays off the aviator to annul the wedding, and she eventually marries the reporter. The film ends in a hotel room with the "walls of Jericho" coming down.

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