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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 19 October 1939 (USA)
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A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

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Writers:

(screen play), (story)
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Top Rated Movies #131 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
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Chick McGann
...
Ma Smith
...
Senate Majority Leader
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President of the Senate
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Susan Paine
Ruth Donnelly ...
Mrs. Hopper
...
Senator MacPherson
...
Senator Monroe
Larry Simms ...
Hopper Boy (as Baby Dumpling)
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Storyline

Naive and idealistic Jefferson Smith, leader of the Boy Rangers, is appointed on a lark by the spineless governor of his state. He is reunited with the state's senior senator--presidential hopeful and childhood hero, Senator Joseph Paine. In Washington, however, Smith discovers many of the shortcomings of the political process as his earnest goal of a national boys' camp leads to a conflict with the state political boss, Jim Taylor. Taylor first tries to corrupt Smith and then later attempts to destroy Smith through a scandal. Written by James Yu <jamestyu@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Stirring - In the seeing! Precious - In the remembering! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's premiere was sponsored by the National Press Club in Washington, DC, at Constitution Hall with over 4,000 in attendance, including congressmen, Supreme Court Justices and Cabinet members. Frank Capra was seated next to Montana Sen. Burton Wheeler, who was one of many public officials who disliked the negative representation of Washingtonian politics, and left the theater midway through in a huff. Capra described the aftermath as "the worst shellacking of my professional life." See more »

Goofs

(at around 30 mins) Twice, Saunders says that Jefferson Smith is going to go "up" to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. Mt. Vernon is approximately 15 miles south of the Capitol in Washington [you can check that using Google maps], and is right on the Potomac River downstream from Washington, so it is not "up" in a north-south sense nor in the sense of elevation. The script should have had Saunders saying that Smith was going "down" to Mt. Vernon, which is how anyone living or working in Washington would have put it. See more »

Quotes

Diz Moore: [dictating into phone] In protest, the whole Senate body rose and walked out.
Clarissa Saunders: No! No, not that straight stuff. Now listen, kick it up, get on his side, fight for him! Understand?
Diz Moore: You love this monkey - don't you?
Clarissa Saunders: What do you think? Now listen, go to work. Do as I tell you.
Diz Moore: [into phone] Throw out that last, take this. This is the most titanic battle of modern times. A David without even a slingshot rises to do battle against the mighty Goliath, the Taylor machine, allegedly crooked inside and out....
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cosby Show: Mrs. Huxtable Goes to Kindergarten (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Sung at the banquet by the senators
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Want to Get Your View Across? Why Not Filibuster?
30 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The media and those in Washington, D.C. cringed in 1939 when Frank Capra (Oscar-nominated for directing) come out with "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". Capra, fresh off amazing successes like "Lady for a Day", "It Happened One Night", "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", "Lost Horizon" and "You Can't Take It With You", used his power to slap some bigwigs in the face with a powerful medium---the motion picture. The result was an immediate backlash by publications and politicians, but cheers from critics and the audience. As with society, the critics and the masses won out as the movie is a masterpiece in every way. A U.S. Senate vacancy leads to a dilemma. Who should be put in office? Everyone believes the apparently naive and gullible James Stewart (Oscar-nominated) is the logical choice because he will be easy to manipulate and he won't rock the boat. Stewart, the leader of the Boy Rangers (a local camp association for youngsters), gets blind-sided by many high-ranking officials who have alterior motives (Oscar nominees Harry Carey and Claude Rains in particular) when his idea for a national boys' camp goes by the wayside. Thus the only thing left for Stewart is to beat those in charge by beating them at their own game---creating a filibuster (a never-ending governmental argument for his cause). Stewart is solid as always here and the supporters (love interest/reporter Jean Arthur and drunk newspaper man Thomas Mitchell included with the aforementioned players) are all terrific throughout. The Oscar-winning screenplay is deceptively intelligent and Capra just had the uncanny ability to mix comedy, drama and interpersonal characterizations together to make consistently wonderful American film experiences. 5 stars out of 5.


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Recent Posts
Sentimentalist rubbish siluad2
Jefferson Smith: liberal or conservative gbromberg
Mr Smith punching people? luks-11
The system has been rotten for a long time pinkybanana2000
Would like to see a colorized version of this film cadams-5
Casting a Remake. laffalott1
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