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One evening, during an annual party at Oliver Larrabee's Long Island estate, chauffeur's daughter Sabrina Fairchild sits in a tree, spying lovingly on David, Oliver's ne'er-do-well son. After observing the thrice-divorced David and a giggling debutante dancing and flirting in the indoor tennis court, Sabrina runs, crying, to the rooms she shares with her widowed English father Thomas. Thomas gently scolds Sabrina for "reaching for the moon" and reminds her that, the next day, she is going to cooking school in Paris, far away from David. Later, in her bedroom, Sabrina ponders her situation, then writes her father a suicide note, shuts herself in the garage and starts the engines of all eight cars. As Sabrina begins to succumb to the fumes, Linus Larrabee, David's middle-aged, conservative brother, hears the rumbling of the engines and opens the garage to investigate. Unaware of her intentions, Linus saves Sabrina and carries her back to her room. Sometime later, in Paris, Sabrina, still lovesick over David, stumbles through her cooking classes. Deducing the cause of Sabrina's distracted behavior, an elderly baron who is enrolled in the school takes charge of her, transforming her into a sophisticated woman. On Long Island, meanwhile, David, who continues to aggravate Linus with his irresponsible attitudes toward the family business, storms into Linus' New York office, angry over a newspaper item announcing his engagement to socialite Elizabeth Tyson. Linus admits that he planted the item, as he wants David to marry Elizabeth, because her father owns sugar factories in Puerto Rico, and Larrabee Industries needs sugar to manufacture a new type of plastic. After Linus convinces David that the financial merger hinges on the marital "merger," David, who has been dating Elizabeth, agrees to the engagement. Later, Sabrina, having completed her two-year cooking course, returns to America. With a new hairdo, sleek Paris clothes and fluffy dog named David, Sabrina waits for her father at the Long Island train depot and is pleasantly surprised when David drives up and offers her a ride. Not recognizing Sabrina, David flirts with her and drives her all the way home before realizing who she is. Though stunned, David asks her out that night, then remembers that his family is hosting a party to which Elizabeth has been invited. Sabrina, who is aware of David's engagement, insists on attending, confidently telling her father later that the moon is now "reaching for her." At the party, David slips away from an unsuspecting Elizabeth to dance with Sabrina, who is dressed in a dazzling Paris gown. David instructs Sabrina to wait for him in the tennis court, but before he can leave with his bottle of champagne and glasses, he is waylaid by Linus and Oliver. After the eccentric Oliver lectures David about dallying with the servants, Linus forces David, who has the champagne glasses tucked in his back pockets, to sit down. David's rear end is impaled with broken glass, and while he writhes in pain, Linus meets Sabrina at the tennis court. When Sabrina admits that she is in love with David, Linus claims to endorse the romance and dances with her. The next day, after presenting David with a plastic hammock with a hole cut out for his rear end, Linus announces he is taking Sabrina sailing. David thanks Linus for "taking care of" Sabrina and remains oblivious to his scheming, even after Elizabeth shows up to nurse him. While pondering whether to go sailing in his Yale University beanie and sweater, Linus informs his father that he is wooing Sabrina in order to distract her from David and thereby protect the merger. On the boat, Linus talks about his two long-lost loves, claiming that he almost committed suicide over one, and Sabrina suggests that he go to Paris to forget his troubles. The next day, while driving Linus to town, Thomas overhears Linus making arrangements for a date with Sabrina and asks him to be "gentle" with his daughter. Linus assures the class-conscious Thomas that he is sending Sabrina back to Paris, first-class, but when Sabrina arrives at his office, Linus tells her that he is sailing to Paris. At dinner, Sabrina speaks glowingly about Paris and advises Linus not to bring his umbrella, as it will make him look like a tourist. On the drive home, Sabrina sings the romantic French song "La vie en rose," and Linus hints that he is falling in love with her. Later, Sabrina, her feelings about the brothers now confused, tells David that she does not want to see Linus anymore, but the almost recuperated David insists that she be nice to Linus, their only "ally." The next day, at Linus' office, Elizabeth goes over her wedding plans with Linus, and Linus presents Mr. Tyson with his merger contract. Afterward, Linus explains to Oliver that he is going to buy two boat tickets to Paris and will trick Sabrina into thinking he is on board until she is safely away from New York. Linus also reveals he is paying Sabrina's living expenses in Paris, as well as giving her father some Larrabee stock. Later, Sabrina, who has a dinner date with Linus, telephones him from the office lobby and tells him she cannot see him. Linus persuades Sabrina to come up to his office and asks her to cook an omelette. Thoroughly confused, Sabrina starts to cry until she notices two boat tickets to Paris on Linus' desk and deduces that one is meant for her. Chagrined by Sabrina's joy, Linus confesses his deception, and heartbroken, Sabrina takes her ticket and leaves. The next morning, before a board meeting, David confronts Linus in his office, slugging him after revealing that Sabrina broke off with him. David then declares he is going to Paris, even though he knows that Linus is in love with Sabrina. During the board meeting, Linus announces that the merger is off as David is on his way to Paris with Sabrina, but before Elizabeth, her father and the board can register their shock, David storms in and goads Linus into hitting him and admitting that he loves Sabrina. After David tells him that a tugboat is waiting to take him to Sabrina's ocean liner, Linus races to the docks. Once on board the liner, Linus discards his umbrella and reunites with a surprised Sabrina.