Liliom is a shiftless young bully in Budapest. He works intermittently as a barker for a merry go round and many servant girls fall victim to his charms. Among these girls is Julie, whom he eventually marries. Learning that he is about to become a father Liliom participates in a robbery to enhance his fortunes. But he is caught and stabs himself rather than submit to arrest. He is tried in the Magistrate's court on high, but they see through him there. They know what repentance is in his heart though he is much too cocky to admit it. He is sentenced to a term of years in the purifying fires with the promise that after that sentence has been served he can go back to earth with a chance to do one good deed there. A tender and moving story told with a master's touch.