a cast of thousands

a cast of thousands

cliché A very large group of people (involved in something). A reference to the advertising claims of the epic films of early Hollywood. The ceremony was broadcast live all over the world, featuring a cast of thousands orchestrating the event. The popular ad has a cast of thousands all singing along to "Imagine" by John Lennon.
See also: cast, of, thousand
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cast of thousands

A great many individuals, a large crowd. This term originated in Hollywood, in advertisements for epic-scale films such as Ben-Hur (1926), which had an enormous cast. Legendary producer Samuel Goldwyn, during the filming of The Last Supper, allegedly had this exchange: “‘Why only twelve [disciples]?’—‘That’s the original number.’—‘Well, go out and get thousands.’”
See also: cast, of, thousand
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer