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Of Human Hearts (1938)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Western  |  11 February 1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 620 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 5 critic

This is a story about family relationships, set in the time before and during the American Civil War. Ethan Wilkins is a poor and honest man who ministers to the human soul, while his son ... See full summary »



(screen play), (story) (as Honoré Morrow) , 1 more credit »
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Title: Of Human Hearts (1938)

Of Human Hearts (1938) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Wilkins
Mary Wilkins
George Ames
Dr. Charles Shingle
Annie Hawks
Jim Meeker
Leona Roberts ...
Sister Clarke
Elder Massey
Arthur Aylesworth ...
Rufus Inchpin
Gene Reynolds ...
Jason Wilkins as a Child
Leatrice Joy Gilbert ...
Annie Hawks as a Child
Chauncey Ames


This is a story about family relationships, set in the time before and during the American Civil War. Ethan Wilkins is a poor and honest man who ministers to the human soul, while his son Jason yearns to be a doctor, helping people in the earthly realm. It is a rich story about striving for excellence, the tension of father-son rebellion, and the love of a mother that can never die. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Great $5,000 Title Contest Picture


Drama | Western


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 February 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Benefits Forgot  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The story takes place on a small town located on the Ohio River called "Pine Hill, Ohio". There is an actual town in Ohio by that name, but it is located in Carroll County, many miles north of that important waterway. See more »


Rev. Ethan Wilkins: Jason, this is an important event in sister Clarke's life, our stopping here tonight. She never had a minister visit her before.
Jason Wilkins: Well, I don't wonder at that. But that frog, pop - why, it made me sick!
Rev. Ethan Wilkins: Suppose I'd called her attention to it, told her it was there? She never would have recovered from the mortification. The only time the minister ever stopped for her... it wasn't easy, but I swallowed it. That, sir, is my idea of courtesy. And I wish you not to forget it.
Jason Wilkins: I understand, father.
See more »


Featured in Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998) See more »


The Battle Cry of Freedom
(1862) (uncredited)
Written by George Frederick Root
Snippet played in the montage at the start of the Civil war
See more »

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User Reviews

Another Cinema Treasure
3 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie is a reminder of the treasures we have to enjoy from the early eras of movie-making. Walter Huston portrays a minister who has sensitivity and understanding for his parishioners but is bound by the restrictive morals of his background. The story takes place in the period before and during the Civil War. The minister has moments when he really is an admirable man; he even has the courage to grab and stop a runaway horse. That horse becomes a thread that winds through the rest of the movie. However, his treatment of his young son is a good example of why ministers' children are often described as troubled. Beaulah Bondi plays the saintly wife/mother whose love binds the family. Her unconditional love and sacrifice first console the boy and then elicit a narrow selfishness from the boy when he leaves home and goes to medical school in Baltimore.

There are some wonderful moments in this movie. It is notable that James Stewart could play such a callow young man who takes advantage of his mother's generosity.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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