The plot is based on the August 1933 short story “Night It happened one wedding pdf” by Samuel Hopkins Adams, which provided the shooting title. One of the last romantic comedies created before the MPAA began enforcing the 1930 production code in 1934, the film was released on February 22, 1934.
In 1993, It Happened One Night was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. In 2013, the film underwent an extensive restoration.
Spoiled heiress Ellen “Ellie” Andrews has eloped with pilot and fortune-hunter “King” Westley against the wishes of her extremely wealthy father, Alexander Andrews. Andrews wants to have the marriage annulled because he knows Westley is really only interested in her money. Jumping ship in Florida, she runs away and boards a bus to New York City to reunite with her husband. She meets fellow bus passenger Peter Warne, a freshly out-of-work newspaper reporter.
Soon Warne recognizes her and gives her a choice: If she will give him an exclusive on her story, he will help her reunite with Westley. If not, he will tell her father where she is.
Ellie agrees to the first choice. As they go through several adventures together, Ellie loses her initial disdain for him and begins to fall in love. When they have to hitchhike, they fail to secure a ride until Ellie displays a shapely leg to Danker, the next driver.
When they stop en route, Danker tries to steal their luggage but Peter seizes his car. Nearing the end of their journey, Ellie confesses her love to Peter. When the owners of the motel in which they are staying notice that Peter’s car is gone, they expel Ellie. Believing Peter has deserted her, Ellie telephones her father, who agrees to let her marry Westley.
Meanwhile, Peter has obtained money from his editor to marry Ellie, but he misses her on the road. Although Ellie has no desire to be with Westley, she believes Peter has betrayed her for the reward money and agrees to have a second, formal wedding to Westley.