Duck Soup is a classic and chaotic 1933 comedy from the Marx Brothers. The bankrupt nation of Freedonia has fallen on hard times, so wealthy widow Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) offers to lend the country $20 million of her paramour, Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) becomes its inept ruler. Trentino (Louis Calhern), ambassador of the neighboring Sylvania, sends two spies, Pinky (Harpo Marx) and Chicolini (Chico Marx) to investigate the changes, but they do little more than cause trouble. Trentino then decides to woo Mrs. Teasdale in an effort to undermine Firefly and perhaps score some of her vast fortune for his own country. His visit leads to the two countries declaring war with the large-scale musical number "We're Going to War." As with every Marx Brothers movie, the outlines of the plot are less important than the comic bits of mayhem from the three iconic characters the brothers brought to all of their collaborations.
Rufus T. Firefly
When Pinky runs into the mirror the glass does not shatter until he's fallen to the floor.
You can clearly see a string pull Pinky's motorcycle when he pulls away from the cart.
The horseshoes that were removed from the horse Pinky was riding are much larger than that of ones worn by the animal, instead these are ones used in the game of horseshoes.
Firefly: Not that I care, but where is your husband?
Teasdale: Why, he's dead.
Firefly: I bet he's just using that as an excuse.
Teasdale: I was with him to the very end.
Firefly: No wonder he passed away.
Teasdale: I held him in my arms and kissed him.
Firefly: Oh, I see, then it was murder. Will you marry me? Did he leave you any money? Answer the second question first.
Firefly: Chicolini, give me a number from one to ten.
Firefly: I could dance with you until the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows till you come home.
Firefly: (Pinky drives off without him for a third time) This is the only way to travel.
Firefly: I'll see my lawyer about this as soon as he graduates from law school!
Firefly: How would you like a job in the mint?
Chicolini: Mint? No, no, I no like a mint. Uh, what other flavor you got?
Firefly: Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honour, which is probably more than she ever did.
Firefly: I got a good mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.
This is the final film of the Marx Brothers that features Zeppo.
Scenes in an opera house and aboard a Zeppelin were included in early script drafts.
The city of Fredonia in New York complained that the film's use of their name (albeit with an additional 'e') would hurt their city's reputation. The Marx Brothers response was the city should change its name to stop it hurting the picture.
In 1998, Duck Soup was ranked 85th on the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies, where they were ranking the 100 best movies in American cinema. The poll was retaken in 2007 and the film increased 25 places to 60th.
In 2000, Duck Soup was ranked 5th on the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs, where they were ranking the 100 funniest movies in American cinema.