Peter Warne (Creator/ClarkGable) is a hard-bitten reporter. He loses his job, but finds a ticket back in when he stumbles onto a runaway heiress, Ellie Andrews (Creator/ClaudetteColbert), who is determined to marry an airplane pilot named King Westley against her father's wishes. Peter meets Ellie on a cross-country night bus, and threatens to blow her cover unless she gives him the exclusive story about her escape. They hate each other at first; when they realize that they'll have to share a room, they invent the "Wall of Jericho," a blanket between their two beds to keep them apart. But they eventually fall in love...

This RomanticComedy from 1934 was directed by Creator/FrankCapra. It was a low-budget movie that only became a huge success after it attracted a very strong word-of-mouth, and stayed in theaters for many years. It was the first comedy to win the UsefulNotes/AcademyAward for Best Picture, and the first film to sweep all five major categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay) in the same year -- a feat repeated only twice since, with ''Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest'' and then ''Film/TheSilenceOfTheLambs''. It established Creator/ColumbiaPictures as a major film company and established Frank Capra as a great director. Its title was the solution to the very first rebus on ''Series/{{Concentration}}''.

It's also notable for codifying the ScrewballComedy genre, in which a straight man-style character is chased, harassed, and eventually romantically captured by a {{Cloudcuckoolander}} (or related trope).

Random trivia: WesternAnimation/BugsBunny's love of carrots was intended as an obvious ShoutOut to Clark Gable's carrot chomping in this movie, but [[LostInImitation it quickly became]] the StockAnimalDiet of fictional rabbits everywhere. (In RealLife, carrots are unhealthy for rabbits in large amounts.)

Remade in 1956 as the {{musical}} film ''You Can't Run Away from It'', starring Creator/JackLemmon and June Allyson.

!!This film provides examples of:
* AbhorrentAdmirer: Annoying fellow bus passenger Oscar Shapely hits on Ellie, so Peter starts pretending to be her husband.
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Peter ''is'' kind of a jerk to Ellie in some scenes. She falls for him ''because'' of him being a bit of a jerk now and then - she likes someone who stands up to her and isn't impressed by her (father's) money.
* TheAllegedCar: Peter's car has a PlotDrivenBreakdown while pursuing Ellie's convoy. Not only does the car overheat, a tire goes flat as well.
* AlmostKiss: Between Peter and Ellie in the hay.
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove
--> '''Ellie''': I love you. Nothing else matters. We can run away. Everything will take care of itself. Please, Peter, I can't let you out of my life now. I couldn't live without you.
* BeautifulDreamer: Peter to Ellie on the bus: "I hated to wake you up. You look kind of [[SleepCute pretty asleep]]."
* BelligerentSexualTension: They sure do snipe at each other a lot in the beginning.
* {{Blackmail}}:
** Peter wants the scoop on Ellie's flight to her husband; he threatens to call her father unless she gives it to him.
** Also, Oscar Shapely wants to go 50/50 on a $5,000 reward he sees in the newspaper.
* BrandishmentBluff: Part of Peter's tactic to scare off Shapely; he pretends to have a gun in his pocket, but it's [[FingerGun just his finger.]]
* BreakUpMakeUpScenario: One of the first in cinema, as Peter and Ellie angrily separate, only to be reunited at the end.
* BrickJoke: When Peter first hangs the sheet between them as the 'Walls of Jericho', he alludes to the real walls being brought down with a trumpet. At the very end on their wedding night, the landlord tells his wife that the newlyweds asked for a trumpet. Cue trumpet blowing and the bed sheet hitting the floor.
* CatchPhrase: ''I'll write a book about it.''
* ClarkKenting: Peter and Ellie fool the detectives by pretending to be a low-class married couple. Somehow it works.
* CrowdSong: Though the bus passengers' rendition of "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" is believable.
* DeadpanSnarker: Ellie to Peter during his hitchhiking attempts.
* DefrostingIceQueen: Ellie's character development over the course of the movie.
* DisposableFiance: King Westley. He is the reason why Ellie jumped from her father's yacht and is attempting to escape to New York. Of course, Ellie never really ''knew'' him. He was simply the first man she ever got ''alone'' with; she got engaged to him to stick it to her overprotective father. Once she spends her time with Peter and finds out what falling in love is actually like, she realizes there's no way she ever loved her fiancé.
* DomesticAbuser: Peter pretends to abuse his "wife" to fool those who are looking for Ellie.
* DrowningMySorrows: Peter does this when his wedding plans with Ellie fail.
* FairytaleWeddingDress: Ellie's is pretty sweet.
* {{Fanservice}}: Clark Gable was seen without an undershirt in this film. There is [[http://www.snopes.com/movies/actors/gable1.asp an urban legend]] that this hurt undershirt sales.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Calling the dividing towel the "Wall of Jericho" foreshadows that the barriers between the couple will eventually fall away. The end includes a CallBack to this very topic, where the couple request a trumpet and a towel is shown tossed into a corner.
* FullyClothedNudity: Ellie is completely covered in baggy pajamas, but she still demands Peter's robe before walking to the separate shower room at the motel.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: So blatant it hardly counts as sneaking. Peter and Ellie spend the movie hanging a towel (the Wall of Jericho) between the beds in their hotel/motel rooms for privacy. At the end, when they have been married, they retire to a hotel room, while the owner remarks to a friend how funny it is that the newlyweds requested a trumpet. Cut to a scene of a towel being thrown into the corner, with the sound of a trumpet being blown. ''Really'' suggestive for 1934. It helps that the movie was made right at the end of UsefulNotes/ThePreCodeEra.
* GilliganCut: At the train station Peter insists that he wasn't interested in Ellie's money. Cut to the next scene where he sends off a telegram to his boss with the attempt to cash in on the big story that fell into his lap.
* HaveAGayOldTime: "Dyke's Auto Camp" might elicit a few snickers today.
* HitchhikersLeg: Ellie picking up a ride by flashing her legs is the TropeMaker, and so old that many people don't even realize this is where it comes from.
* IHaveAFamily: Peter gives Oscar Shapely a good scare with the kidnapping and "HeKnowsTooMuch" plot, upon which the latter replies that he has a wife and kids.
* IdiotBall: Yes, Peter. Suggest they get out of the car and walk away from it while their lift is inside getting a bite to eat. Sure enough said lift assumes they've gone and drives off.
* ImmediateSelfContradiction: Peter does this towards the end when meeting with Ellie's father:
-->'''Mr. Andrews''': Do you love my daughter?\\
'''Peter''': Any guy in love with your daughter should be examined.\\
'''Mr. Andrews''': Do you love her?\\
'''Peter''': A normal man couldn't live with her without going nutty.\\
'''Mr. Andrews''': I asked you a simple question! Do you love her?\\
'''Peter''': Yes! But don't hold that against me, I'm a little screwy myself!
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold:
** Peter, who is rude and crass but really does care about Ellie.
** Also, Peter's MeanBoss seems to have a soft side to him. It's implied that when he reads Peter's story about Ellie, he puts two and two together and realises that Peter was genuinely in love with the girl.
* JustForTheHeliOfIt: The groom arrives at the society wedding in an autogyro (like a helicopter, but with an unpowered rotor), apparently for the PR value. The bride and her father are not favorably impressed:
--> '''Mr. Andrews:''' Everything's set. Creating quite a furore, too. (''pause'') Great stunt King is going to pull.\\
'''Ellie:''' Stunt?\\
'''Mr. Andrews:''' Yeah, he's landing on the lawn in an autogyro.\\
'''Ellie:''' (''flatly'') Yes, I heard.\\
'''Mr. Andrews:''' Personally, I think it's silly, too.
** Ellie and her father aren't the only ones to find it a bit silly:
---> '''Peter:''' I'd like to get a load of that three-ring circus you're pulling. I wanna see what love looks like when it's triumphant. I haven't had a good laugh in a week.
* KingIncognito: Ellie, the rich society heiress trying to sneak back to New York on a bus.
* LonelyRichKid: Ellie in a different sense. She remarks she's never done anything on her own because she's always been with bodyguards.
--> "I'd change places with a plumber's daughter any day."
* MeetCute: In the not so spacious backseat of a cross-country night bus.
* MyOwnPrivateIDo: Ellie and King Westley eloped before the start of the picture. After Ellie is reunited with her father, she decides to have a lavish, public ceremony as well.
* NeverTrustATitle: The story takes place over the course of at least three days. The title might well refer to that they fell in love one night along that trip.
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: We don't get to see how Peter managed to outrun the car and overwhelm the driver who tried to get away with his luggage.
* OverTheShoulderCarry: Peter walks across a shallow stream carrying Ellie over his shoulder to prevent her from falling in. However, Ellie thinks he is carrying her piggy-back and Peter slaps her on the butt for being foolish.
* ParentalMarriageVeto: Ellie has run away because her father is trying to annul her marriage. Of course, this happens before she meets Clark Gable.
* PhoneyCall: Type C. Peter makes a drunk call to his editor who decides to fire him while on the phone and then hangs up in disgust. Peter, surrounded by other drunkards, pretends the conversation is going on and that his editor is begging him to stay on the job which then earns him the applause of his friends.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Peter is giving one to Ellie at the train station accusing her of being a SpoiledBrat who is used to buy her way out of all problems.
* RefugeInAudacity: Peter makes Oscar Shapely shut up about his blackmailing by spinning a yarn about kidnapping Ellie and the probable shootout ahead.
** Also, the way Peter and Ellie throw off the detectives by playing a quarreling couple.
* RoadTripPlot: Probably the first ever "road movie".
* RoadTripRomance: The {{Trope Maker|s}}.
* RomanceEnsues: Take a couple with a healthy dose of UnresolvedSexualTension between them and send them on a road trip.
* RomanticFalseLead: Does anyone watch this movie and think that Ellie will choose King Westley?
* RunawayBride: One of the, if not ''the'' earliest example on film. Ellie races away from the altar and into the arms of Peter at the last moment.
* SeinfeldianConversation: Ellie and Peter spend quite a bit of time discussing hitchhiking techniques and what does or does not constitute a piggy-back ride.
** Gable has one of his own, where he complains that women "don't know how to dunk" (donuts into coffee). Nike used that scene for a shoe ad in the 1980s.
* ShirtlessScene: Gable's scene caused a media sensation.
* SleepCute: Early in the film, Ellie falls asleep on Peter's shoulder, while riding a bus.
* SleepingSingle: Played straight--why would a supposedly married couple get separate beds?--but also used by Capra to set up the iconic "walls of Jericho".
* SmithicalMarriage: Peter and Ellie have to pretend to be married to get a room in a motel.
* SneakyDeparture: Done by Peter for selfish reasons which puts Ellie in trouble the next morning when the landlords ask for their money.
* SpinningPaper: We see several newspaper montages throughout the movie.
* SpoiledBrat: Ellie is so spoiled that she can't grasp the concept of a budget, and tries to buy candy on the bus when she has $4 to her name.
* ThereIsOnlyOneBed: One of the most famous scenes in the film is when our two leads much share a bedroom for the night. Peter hangs a towel across the room to give Ellie privacy, calling it the "Wall of Jericho." Of course, the Wall of Jericho is most famous for ''falling down,'' foreshadowing their eventual romance.
* TheThirties: ''Two dollars'' to rent a motel room for the night.
** An early scene has the bus stopping at a place that sells food and beverages....for ''10 cents''. There's also the fact that the ten dollars Peter had on him would have provided them with enough food to last ''the whole trip''. Something practically unthinkable today.
* ThirdActMisunderstanding: Played straight as an arrow, almost to the point of deconstruction. After Ellie [[AnguishedDeclarationOfLove confesses love]] to Peter, he leaves [[ThirdActStupidity without telling her]] to make arrangements for them to get married (including trying to gather enough money to have her marriage annulled). Ellie misunderstands the situation, thinking he abandoned her and went to collect the reward money, and goes off to have a proper wedding with King Westley. Meanwhile, the newspaper headlines [[OneSideOfTheStory have Peter believe]] Ellie changed her mind about him and thus he [[PoorCommunicationKills refrains from making an effort to explain the situation]] and win her back. Fortunately, Ellie's father comes to save the day, even though Ellie [[NotNowKiddo brushes him off]] the first time he tries to set things right.
* ThisIsMySide: That bedsheet been homaged/used dozens of times by everything from ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' to ''Film/AVeryBradySequel''.
* UptownGirl: A bit of ItWasHisSled, right?
* WellExcuseMePrincess: Happens quite a bit between rough-mannered Peter and snooty Ellie.
* WorstNewsJudgmentEver: Ellie's love life makes the top story on the front page of every newspaper. Evidently, not much else was going on in the world in 1934.
** Considering that it was in the middle of UsefulNotes/TheGreatDepression, chances are that ''any'' more upbeat news would've been more than welcome.