A Merry-Go-Round Marathon of Movie Choices for National Carousel Day on July 25

July 25th is National Carousel Day. Or, depending on your cultural situation, National Merry-Go-Round Day. What is the difference between a carousel and merry-go-round? Who knows? Who cares? You know what I’m talking about. If you don’t have access to this iconic piece of Americana, then celebrate through osmosis by taking in these movies that are heavily dependent on a carousel as part of their narrative.

Strangers on a Train

The ultimate carousel ride in a movie takes place in Alfred Hitchcock’s brilliantly suspenseful tale of a murder a la criss-cross. Two men meet on a train. One is a famous tennis player and the other a psychotic. The latter thinks he has reached a verbal contract to pull off the perfect crime: each will murder the others’ obstruction to happiness and since there is nothing to tie the two men together, the murders will be viewed as motiveless and go unsolved. “Strangers on a Train” kicks off with this conversation and steadily builds up the tension that is finally released courtesy of a dizzying ride for life on a carousel.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

National Carousel Day carries with it a bit of nostalgia for a time long past. The carousel is a symbol of gentility among the raucous evolution of theme park rides springing up around it. That sense of innocence is signified best by the carousel in “Something Wicked This Way Comes” that has the power to make the rider younger or age them again depending on the direction the merry-go-round spins. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” should be more unnerving that it is and the carousel almost achieves this sense of wickedness stated in the title. But not quite. Ripe for a remake.

Ride the Pink Horse

The title of this gritty and little-known example of film noir refers to the carousel run by Pancho. The carousel of “Ride the Pink Horse” is quite obviously a metaphor since preciously few objects in any film noir are not intended as metaphor. You will have to watch the movie for yourself to determine exactly what kind of metaphorical statement the film wants the carousel to state, but even if you never come up with any, “Ride the Pink Horse” is worth the effort on National Carousel Day or any other day.


Well, you certainly can’t have a discussion about carousels in movies when you have a movie as famous as “Carousel” in the mix. This film based on a very popular Broadway musical is much darker than your average example of this genre. The main character is a carnival barker working the carousel ride and the attraction also works as a metaphor for this crazy little thing called life.