MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 479 this week

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  19 October 1939 (USA)
8.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.3/10 from 70,254 users  
Reviews: 237 user | 92 critic

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (story), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

"Hand of God" - What to Watch

IMDb sits down with the cast of the thriller drama "Hand of God," including Ron Perlman, Julian Morris, Garret Dillahunt, and Alona Tal.

Watch our interview

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 07 Sep 2011
 
a list of 25 titles
created 16 May 2012
 
a list of 36 titles
created 03 Oct 2012
 
a list of 49 titles
created 01 Jan 2013
 
a list of 40 titles
created 15 Jul 2013
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) on IMDb 8.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

User Polls

Top 250 Movies #126 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A spoiled heiress, running away from her family, is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A poor Midwest family is forced off of their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Three WWII veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy
Rebecca (1940)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband's dead first wife.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders
All About Eve (1950)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An ingenue insinuates herself in to the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders
The General (1926)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.

Directors: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart
High Noon (1952)
Drama | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A marshall, personally compelled to face a returning deadly enemy, finds that his own town refuses to help him.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
Edit

Cast

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

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:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Edmund Mortimer was first chosen for the role of Senator Agnew, and studio records/casting call lists reflected this. However, Mortimer dropped out of the finished film entirely, and the role went to H.B. Warner. See more »

Goofs

Under the Standing Rules of the Senate governing debate, Senator Paine would not technically have been allowed to attack Senator Smith's character and accuse him of graft. The rule states: "No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator." See more »

Quotes

Clarissa Saunders: They're not letting what Jeff says get printed in the state. Now if I give you a raft of it over the phone, can you print it up and spread a billion copies? Swell! Get ready to take this down, Mrs. Smith.
Ma Smith: Boys, everything about Jeff, get pencils and paper.
Clarissa Saunders: Alright, here we go.
Ma Smith: All ready, Clarissa.
Clarissa Saunders: She called me Clarissa. Okay Ma! JEFF TELLS TRUTH, SHOWS UP TAYLOR!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Jim Carrey/The Black Keys (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Red River Valley
(uncredited)
Traditional
In the score when Smith is at the Lincoln Memorial
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Capra-corn but very watchable with some great performances...
1 August 2003 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Frank Capra's knack for getting the best out of JAMES STEWART and JEAN ARTHUR is demonstrated here with both stars giving superb performances. Ironically, Stewart would not win the Oscar for this role but was awarded one the following year for a lesser role in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY.

As a bumbling, naive senator who is a lamb thrown to the wolves in Washington, D.C., Stewart does a fabulous job--although there are moments when his bumbling awkwardness looks a bit staged. Jean Arthur is a natural for the role of the wise secretary who at first scorns his innocent ways but soon comes to realize he's the real thing.

All of the supporting players are excellent--especially CLAUDE RAINS as a mentor to Stewart who finally has a conscience about deceiving him, and Harry Carey (the western actor) as the man with the gavel who soon realizes that Stewart is not to be underestimated. His reaction shots, grinning and sometimes stifling a grin, say more than words. He and Rains both deserved their supporting role nominations.

But, as usual in a Capra film, you have to be willing to forgive some obvious plot contrivances or overall schmaltz. The ending (when it finally comes after some excessive length in running time) is rather abrupt as though the director suddenly realized he'd gone overtime on the story. And some of the sentimentality (such as the scene where Arthur joins him at the Lincoln Memorial where she knew she'd find him), is hard to swallow until you remind yourself that--hey, this is Capra-corn.

Nevertheless, despite some flaws, it's the kind of comedy-drama about Washington, D.C. that only a director like Capra could make. And the replica of the Senate is amazingly detailed, as are all the interiors which were shot on a soundstage at Columbia. It's also a nice lesson in how the Senate works, how bills have to go through committees, the rules of behavior, filibustering, etc. It will leave you with a warm glow--somewhat like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE in that respect.

Summing up: It's Stewart's show all the way. He's at his peak here.


24 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
people have gone over this but still didn't explain it. mrwnmero
Sentimentalist rubbish siluad2
Jefferson Smith: liberal or conservative gbromberg
Mr Smith punching people? luks-11
Would like to see a colorized version of this film cadams-5
I don't understand something... Angel_Buffy
Discuss Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?