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The Million Dollar Nickel (1952)

One can no longer purchase much with five cents. But what one can still buy for a nickel, but is worth millions of dollars collectively, is a stamp to mail a letter overseas. The importance... See full summary »


Peter Ballbusch (uncredited)




Complete credited cast:
Pier Angeli ... Herself
Ricardo Montalban ... Himself
Leslie Caron ... Herself
Zsa Zsa Gabor ... Herself


One can no longer purchase much with five cents. But what one can still buy for a nickel, but is worth millions of dollars collectively, is a stamp to mail a letter overseas. The importance of the mail service over the course of the U.S.'s history is described. Letters sent abroad have and still do fuel much of the immigration to the U.S., which is a never-ending cycle. Those personal letters, many from naturalized U.S. citizens to their original homeland, dispel myths that citizens residing in other countries often hear about life in the U.S., those myths often perpetrated by governments of totalitarian regimes. It is uncertain whether letters going to those countries actually do make it to their intended destinations unaltered. It makes it that much important for other methods of broader communication to reach overseas, these methods endorsed by a plethora of Hollywood stars who were born in countries other the the U.S. to their original homelands. Written by Huggo

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Plot Keywords:

cold war | See All (1) »


Documentary | Short


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English | Italian | Spanish | French | Hungarian

Release Date:

1952 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Film debut of Pier Angeli. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Here in Philadelphia, since 1793, they make money. Silver dollars and half dollars, quarters and dimes, and pennies and nickels. And of all the coins minted in this building, the nickel was once the most important to the average American. Yes, for a nickel any of us could buy most of the little things we needed. Remember when for a five cent piece we could get this...
[cut to shot of a bartender pouring a mug of beer]
Narrator: and in most cases, a free lunch besides? And for that same nickel...
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Crazy Credits

All credited performers are identified by subtitles. See more »

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User Reviews

The power of the nickel is extolled in this strange documentary...
1 July 2008 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

It's extraordinary how something like the nickel can be the subject of a documentary from MGM which ends with statements from four of their stars to write letters overseas to let European know what America is really like.

It begins with a look at the nickel over the years and how it became the most used bit of currency from Americans during the '20s and '30s (and even '40s), buying everything from a haircut to a beer or a visit to a movie house known as "the Nickelodeon".

The rather dry narrative goes on and on extolling the virtues of spreading America's capitalistic system throughout the world by writing letters which can be posted for a nickel to all your European relatives or friends, concluding with the brief statements from Leslie Caron, Ricardo Montalban, Pier Angeli and Zsa Zsa Gabor, all of whom speak in their native languages. Seems to be saying what we all know--the pen is mightier than the sword to spread democracy.

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