Kelly plays Don Lockwood, who frequently stars with Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen's character), who has a grating voice and thinks their acted romance is real. At the urging of Lockwood and his partner Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor), the studio turns their current film The Dueling Cavalier into a musical and overdubs Lamont's voice; meanwhile Lockwood falls in love with the overdub artist (Debbie Reynolds) and Lamont does everything possible to sabotage the romance.
The film features a rendition of the 1929 Freed & Brown song, along with other popular tunes from the late 1920s and the 1930s. The dance routine in which Gene Kelly sings the title song while twirling an umbrella, splashing through puddles and generally getting soaked to the skin, is probably the most famous of all movie musical sequences. It has of course been parodied several times, notably by Morecambe and Wise.
Original music and lyrics were written by Comden and Green.
The audio commentary on the movie's "Special Edition" DVD includes a claim that the original negative was destroyed in a fire. In spite of this the movie has been digitally restored to an impressive standard of picture and sound quality.