The ambiance. The snack. The suits. The screams. The thrill of it. Yes, there is nothing like being at a circus, and these sorts of venues have been enthralling people for years. If you enjoy circuses, then these 8 Circus Movies to watch in celebrating Circus Day are for you!
Celebrate World Circus Day
- Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
- Michelle Williams, Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron (Actors)
The Greatest Showman
Growing up in the early 1800s, P.T. Barnum displays a natural talent for publicity and promotion, selling lottery tickets by the age of 12.
After trying his hands at various jobs, P.T. turns to show business to indulge his limitless imagination, rising from nothing to create the Barnum & Bailey circus.
Featuring catchy musical numbers, exotic performers, and daring acrobatic feats, Barnum’s mesmerizing spectacle soon takes the world by storm to become the greatest show on Earth.
To continue this unit study, check out The Greatest Showman Study Guide.
Water for Elephants
Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson), a veterinary student, is close to graduating when a terrible tragedy forces him to leave school. With nowhere else to go, he hops on a passing train and finds it belongs to a traveling circus.
Jacob takes a job as an animal caretaker and meets Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), a beautiful circus performer. Their shared compassion for a special elephant named Rosie leads to love, but August (Christoph Waltz), Marlena’s cruel husband, stands in their way.
When Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) becomes ill, his son, William (Billy Crudup), travels to be with him. William has a strained relationship with Edward because his father has always told exaggerated stories about his life, and William thinks he’s never really told the truth.
Even on his deathbed, Edward recounts fantastical anecdotes. When William, who is a journalist, starts to investigate his father’s tales, he begins to understand the man and his penchant for storytelling.
Oz the Great and Powerful
When shady circus magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is hurled away from Kansas into the wonderful land of Oz, he thinks that fame and fortune are his for the taking.
However, three witches — Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams) — remain unconvinced that Oscar is the great wizard that the inhabitants of Oz need and expect.
Reluctantly drawn into Oz’s epic problems, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it’s too late.
Struggling circus owner Max Medici enlists a former star and his two children to care for Dumbo, a baby elephant born with oversized ears.
When the family discovers that the animal can fly, it soon becomes the main attraction — bringing in huge audiences and revitalizing the run-down circus.
The elephant’s magical ability also draws the attention of V.A. Vandevere, an entrepreneur who wants to showcase Dumbo in his latest, larger-than-life entertainment venture.
The Greatest Show on Earth
“The Greatest Show on Earth” is a dazzling spectacle of life behind the scenes with Ringling Bros.-Barnum and Bailey Circus, the best three-ring circus in the land. Celebrates the extravagant three-ring circus and depicts the passionate scenes of love and jealousy behind the greatest show on Earth.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Animal pals Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are still trying to make it back to New York’s Central Park Zoo. They are forced to take a detour to Europe to find the penguins and chimps who broke the bank at a Monte Carlo casino.
When French animal-control officer Capitaine Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand) picks up their scent, Alex and company are forced to hide out in a traveling circus.
When Matt Masters (John Wayne) takes his ailing circus on a tour of Europe, it’s not simply to put its finances back into order. He’s also there on a romantic quest to find his old flame Lili Alfredo (Rita Hayworth), whose daughter Toni (Claudia Cardinale) he raised.
But both missions are put in jeopardy when the ship ferrying his circus across the Atlantic sinks. But the show must go on — and Masters pulls out all the stops to make the tour a success and reunite with Lili.