[[quoteright:340:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/it-happened-one-night1_4720.jpg]]

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 (Claudette Colbert). He meets her 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 the first film to win all five major Oscars in the same year (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay - a feat only repeated twice since with ''Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest'' and ''Film/SilenceOfTheLambs''), established Creator/ColumbiaPictures as a major film company, made Clark Gable a star, and let the world know that Frank Capra was a great director. Its title was the solution to the very first rebus on ''Series/{{Concentration}}''.

It's also the first ScrewballComedy — it started a whole genre of comedy films in which a straight man-style character is chased, harassed, and eventually romantically captured by a {{Cloudcuckoolander}} (or related trope).

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!!This film provides examples of:
* AbhorrentAdmirer: A very obnoxious guy hits on Ellie on the bus so Peter starts pretending to be her husband.
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Peter ''is'' kind of a jerk to Ellie in some scenes. She still falls for him anyway.
** 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.
* BreakUpMakeUpScenario: one of the first in cinema, as Peter and Ellie angrily separate, only to be reunited at the end.
* 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 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. Of course, Ellie never really ''knew'' him. He was simply the first man she ever got ''alone'' with and married 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
* {{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.
* 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.
* 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.
* IHaveAFamily: Peter gives Oscar Shapely a good scare with the kidnapping and YouKnowTooMuch plot upon which the latter replies that he has a wife and kids.
* 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!
* 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.
* 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.
* LostInImitation: WesternAnimation/BugsBunny's love of carrots was intended as an obvious ShoutOut to this movie, but it quickly became the StockAnimalDiet of fictional rabbits everywhere. (In RealLife, carrots are unhealthy for rabbits in large amounts.)
* MeetCute: In the not so spacious backseat of a cross-country night bus.
* NonIndicativeName: The story takes place over the course of at least three days.
* 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: The heiress has run away because her father is trying to annul her marriage. Of course, this happens before she meets Clark Gable.
* 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.
* RecycledInSpace: The plot of ''Film/{{Spaceballs}} (1987)'' [[WholePlotReference closely resembles]] this film, down to Lone Star only accepting the $200-something travel expenses as pay, rather than the million space bucks.
* RoadMovie
* RoadTripRomance: The TropeMaker.
* RomanceEnsues: Take a couple with a healthy dose of {{UST}} 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.
* ShowSomeLeg: The TropeMaker, and so old that many people don't even realize this is where it comes from.
* ShirtlessScene: Gable's scene caused a media sensation.
* SlapSlapKiss
* SleepCute: Early in the film, Ellie falls asleep on Peter's shoulder, while riding a bus.
* SpinningPaper: We see several newspaper montages throughout the movie.
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''It Happened One Night'' is this to ''Film/RomanHoliday''.
* 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.
* TheThirties: ''Two dollars'' to rent a motel room for the night.
* 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 ''[[BradyBunchSpinOffs A Very Brady Sequel]]''.
* UptownGirl: A bit of ItWasHisSled, right?
* WellExcuseMePrincess
* 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 TheGreatDepression, chances are that ''any'' more upbeat news would've been more than welcome.
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