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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) More at IMDbPro »

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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington -- 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.

Overview

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8.3/10   60,520 votes »
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Up 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Sidney Buchman (screen play)
Lewis R. Foster (story)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 October 1939 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Capra at his greatest! See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A National Treasure See more (226 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jean Arthur ... Saunders

James Stewart ... Jefferson Smith

Claude Rains ... Senator Joseph Paine

Edward Arnold ... Jim Taylor
Guy Kibbee ... Governor Hopper

Thomas Mitchell ... Diz Moore

Eugene Pallette ... Chick McGann

Beulah Bondi ... Ma Smith

H.B. Warner ... Senate Majority Leader

Harry Carey ... President of the Senate
Astrid Allwyn ... Susan Paine
Ruth Donnelly ... Mrs. Hopper

Grant Mitchell ... Senator MacPherson
Porter Hall ... Senator Monroe
Larry Simms ... Hopper Boy (as Baby Dumpling)
H.V. Kaltenborn
Pierre Watkin ... Senate Minority Leader

Charles Lane ... Nosey

William Demarest ... Bill Griffith
Dick Elliott ... Carl Cook
Billy Watson ... Hopper Boy
Delmar Watson ... Hopper Boy

John Russell ... Hopper Boy (as John Russell)
Harry Watson ... Hopper Boy
Garry Watson ... Hopper Boy (as Gary Watson)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Erville Alderson ... Handwriting Expert (uncredited)
Harry Anderson ... Hoodlum (uncredited)
Stanley Andrews ... Senator Hodges (uncredited)
William Arnold ... Reporter (uncredited)
Sam Ash ... Senator Lancaster (uncredited)
Edwin August ... Senator (uncredited)
Frank Austin ... Inventor at Smith's Office Door (uncredited)
Harry A. Bailey ... Senator Hammett (uncredited)
Tommy Baker ... Boy Ranger (uncredited)
Kathryn Bates ... Committeewoman (uncredited)
Brooks Benedict ... Senate Clerk (uncredited)
Wilson Benge ... Hopper's Butler (uncredited)
Wade Boteler ... Family Man (uncredited)
Harry C. Bradley ... Arthur Kim (uncredited)
Lynton Brent ... Photographer (uncredited)
Ed Brewer ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Al Bridge ... Senator Dwight (uncredited)
Harlan Briggs ... Mr. Edwards - Howling Citizen (uncredited)
Tommy Bupp ... Boy Cheering for Smith in Meeting (uncredited)
Harry Burkhardt ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Frederick Burton ... Senator Dearhorn (uncredited)
Georgia Caine ... Third Radio Speaker (uncredited)
Ken Carpenter ... Announcer (uncredited)

Jack Carson ... Sweeney Farrell - Newsman (uncredited)
Burr Caruth ... Townsend (uncredited)
Maurice Cass ... Handwriting Expert (uncredited)
Allan Cavan ... Ragner - Newsman (uncredited)
Eddy Chandler ... Reporter (uncredited)
George Chandler ... Reporter (uncredited)
Davison Clark ... Committeeman (uncredited)
Dora Clement ... Mrs. McGann (uncredited)
Richard Clucas ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Shirley Coates ... Assistant Bartender (uncredited)
Edmund Cobb ... Senator Gower (uncredited)
Eddie Coke ... Photographer (uncredited)

Dorothy Comingore ... Woman at Station (uncredited)
Chester Conklin ... Man in Press Section of Senate Gallery (uncredited)
Hal Cooke ... Reporter (uncredited)
George Cooper ... Waiter (uncredited)
Georgie Cooper ... Committeewoman (uncredited)
Jack Cooper ... Photographer (uncredited)
Nick Copeland ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)

Anne Cornwall ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)

Gino Corrado ... Barber (uncredited)
Maurice Costello ... Diggs - Newsman (uncredited)
Alec Craig ... Speaker (uncredited)
Beatrice Curtis ... Paine's Secretary (uncredited)
Lew Davis ... Senate Clerk (uncredited)
Dulcie Day ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Wally Dean ... Paine's Friend (uncredited)
Vernon Dent ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Harry Depp ... Hat Salesman / Secretary (uncredited)
Joe Devlin ... Waiter (uncredited)
Clyde Dilson ... Reporter (uncredited)
John Dilson ... Secretary (uncredited)
Neal Dodd ... Senate Chaplain (uncredited)

Ann Doran ... Paine's Secretary (uncredited)
Lester Dorr ... Taylor's Stooge (uncredited)
Robert Dudley ... Reporter (uncredited)
Edward Earle ... Reporter (uncredited)

Helen Jerome Eddy ... Paine's Secretary (uncredited)
Jack Egan ... Reporter (uncredited)
Douglas Evans ... Francis Scott Key (uncredited)
Eddie Fetherston ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Mabel Forrest ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Byron Foulger ... Hopper's Secretary (uncredited)
Gladys Gale ... Committeewoman (uncredited)
Jack Gardner ... Reporter (uncredited)
Frances Gifford ... Hopper Girl (uncredited)
June Gittelson ... Woman at Station (uncredited)
Gus Glassmire ... Angry committee member (uncredited)
Mary Gordon ... Woman (uncredited)
Jesse Graves ... Black Committeeman (uncredited)
Lorna Gray ... Woman at Station (uncredited)
Roger Haliday ... Senate Guard (uncredited)
Wilfred Hari ... House Boy (uncredited)
Harry Hayden ... First Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Henry Hebert ... Senator (uncredited)
Louis Jean Heydt ... Soapbox Speaker (uncredited)
Fred Hoose ... Senator (uncredited)
Philip Hurlic ... Boy Ranger (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten ... Butler (uncredited)
John Ince ... Senator Fernwick (uncredited)
Lloyd Ingraham ... Committeeman (uncredited)
Mitchell Ingraham ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Frank Jaquet ... Senator Byron (uncredited)
Dick Jensen ... Hoodlum (uncredited)
John Lester Johnson ... Butler (uncredited)
Dickie Jones ... Pageboy Richard Jones (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Reporter (uncredited)
Robert Emmett Keane ... Editor (uncredited)
Donald Kerr ... Reporter (uncredited)
Milton Kibbee ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Joe King ... Summers - newsman (uncredited)
Richard Kipling ... Senator (uncredited)
Evalyn Knapp ... Reporter Asking 'What Do You Think of the Girls in This Town?' (uncredited)
Wright Kramer ... Senator Carlton (uncredited)
Paul Kruger ... Bodyguard (uncredited)
Bobby Larson ... Boy Ranger (uncredited)
Billy Lechner ... Boy Ranger (uncredited)
P.H. Levy ... Rabbi (uncredited)
Vera Lewis ... Mrs. Edwards (uncredited)
Jack Lindquist ... Chorus Member (uncredited)
George Lloyd ... Hoodlum (uncredited)
Arthur Loft ... Chief Clerk (uncredited)
Jane Loofbourrow ... Committeewoman (uncredited)
Jack Low ... Hoodlum (uncredited)
Jackie Lowe ... Boy Ranger (uncredited)
Jimmie Lucas ... Photographer (uncredited)
Wilfred Lucas ... Pompous Man (uncredited)
Stanley Mack ... Senator (uncredited)
Mary MacLaren ... Head Sister (uncredited)
Hank Mann ... Photographer (uncredited)
Margaret Mann ... Nun with Cheering Orphan Boys (uncredited)
Eric Mayne ... Man in Senate Building (uncredited)
Philo McCullough ... Senator Albert (uncredited)
Ralph McCullough ... Assistant Bartender (uncredited)
Matt McHugh ... Reporter (uncredited)
George McKay ... Reporter (uncredited)
Lafe McKee ... Civil War Veteran at Lincoln Memorial (uncredited)
Sammy McKim ... Boy Ranger (uncredited)
James McNamara ... Reporter (uncredited)
Robert Middlemass ... Second Radio Announcer (uncredited)
James Millican ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Howard M. Mitchell ... Shoe Salesman (uncredited)
Charles R. Moore ... Porter (uncredited)
Bert Moorhouse ... Man in Senate Building (uncredited)
Gene Morgan ... Reporter (uncredited)
Robert Morgan ... Senate Clerk (uncredited)
William Newell ... Reporter (uncredited)
Ray Nichols ... Boy Ranger (uncredited)
Field Norton ... Pompous Man (uncredited)
Alex Novinsky ... Foreign Diplomat (uncredited)
Frank O'Connor ... Senator Alfred (uncredited)
Frank Otto ... Fisk (uncredited)
Joe Palma ... Hoodlum (uncredited)
Blanche Payson ... Committeewoman (uncredited)
Frank Puglia ... Handwriting Expert (uncredited)
Spencer Quinn ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Tom Quinn ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Ed Randolph ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Charles Regan ... Hoodlum (uncredited)
Jack Rice ... Lang (uncredited)
Jack Richardson ... Senator Manchester (uncredited)
Henry Roquemore ... Senator (uncredited)
Johnny Russell ... Otis Hopper (uncredited)
Walter Sande ... Newspaperman with Pipe (uncredited)
Russell Simpson ... Kenneth Allen (uncredited)
Walter Soderling ... Senator Pickett (uncredited)
Harry Stafford ... Senator Atwater (uncredited)
Wyndham Standing ... Senator Ashman (uncredited)
Paul Stanton ... Flood - Newsman (uncredited)
Larry Steers ... Committeeman (uncredited)
Count Stefenelli ... Foreign Diplomat (uncredited)

Robert Sterling ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Craig Stevens ... Senate Reporter (uncredited)
Landers Stevens ... Committeeman (uncredited)
Carl Stockdale ... Senator Burdette (uncredited)
Harry Strang ... Bodyguard (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... Cab Driver (uncredited)
Ben Taggart ... Pompous Man (uncredited)
Emma Tansey ... Committeewoman (uncredited)

Dub Taylor ... Reporter (uncredited)
Ferris Taylor ... Senator Carlisle (uncredited)
Harry Tenbrook ... Bodyguard (uncredited)
Arthur Thalasso ... Doorman (uncredited)
Edward Thomas ... Butler (uncredited)
Frank M. Thomas ... Hendricks (uncredited)
Layne Tom Jr. ... Boy Ranger (uncredited)
Fred 'Snowflake' Toones ... Porter (uncredited)
Victor Travers ... Senator Grainger (uncredited)
Laura Treadwell ... Mrs. Taylor (uncredited)
John Tyrrell ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Frederick Vroom ... Paine's Friend (uncredited)
Bess Wade ... Committeewoman (uncredited)
David Wade ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Max Waizmann ... Photographer (uncredited)
Robert Walker ... Senator Holland (uncredited)
Myonne Walsh ... Jane Hopper (uncredited)
John Ward ... Photographer (uncredited)
Billy Wayne ... Reporter (uncredited)
Lloyd Whitlock ... Schultz - Newsman (uncredited)
Dave Willock ... Senate Guard (uncredited)
Florence Wix ... Committeewoman (uncredited)
Eleanor Wood ... Committeewoman (uncredited)
William Worthington ... Committeeman (uncredited)
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Directed by
Frank Capra 
 
Writing credits
Sidney Buchman (screen play)

Lewis R. Foster (story)

Myles Connolly  contributor to screenplay construction and dialogue (uncredited)

Produced by
Frank Capra .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Dimitri Tiomkin (musical score by)
 
Cinematography by
Joseph Walker (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Al Clark (film editor)
Gene Havlick (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Lionel Banks 
 
Costume Design by
Robert Kalloch (gowns) (as Kalloch)
 
Makeup Department
Faye Hanlin .... hair (uncredited)
Helen Hunt .... hair (uncredited)
William Knight .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Fred B. Phillips .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Arthur S. Black Jr. .... assistant director (as Arthur S. Black)
Rex Bailey .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Richard McWhorter .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Charles Vidor .... second unit director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Walter Holscher .... set designer (uncredited)
George Montgomery .... set dresser (uncredited)
Cary Odell .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Jack Wrenn .... prop master (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Edward Bernds .... sound engineer (uncredited)
John P. Livadary .... supervising sound editor (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Fred Jackman Jr. .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Slavko Vorkapich .... montage effects
John Hoffman .... montage effects (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
George Hager .... head electrician (uncredited)
William Jolley .... assistant camera (uncredited)
George F. Kelley .... second operative camera (uncredited)
Al Layter .... assistant electrician (uncredited)
Irving Lippman .... photographer: production stills (uncredited)
Irving Lippman .... still photographer (uncredited)
James Lloyd .... head grip (uncredited)
Enzo A. Martinelli .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Adolph L. Schafer .... special portrait art (uncredited)
Victor Scheurich .... first operative camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Forrest T. Butler .... wardrobe: men (uncredited)
Ray Howell .... head of wardrobe (uncredited)
Roselle Novello .... wardrobe: women (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Morris Stoloff .... musical director (as M.W. Stoloff)
R.H. Bassett .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Ben Oakland .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
 
Other crew
James D. Preston .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Joseph Sistrom .... production assistant (uncredited)
Harold Winston .... dialogue director (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" - USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
129 min | West Germany:120 min (TV)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Brazil:Livre | Canada:G (Manitoba/Nova Scotia/Quebec) | Canada:F (Ontario) | Finland:S | Germany:o.Al. | Iceland:L | South Korea:12 | UK:U | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #5370) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Bitterly denounced by Washington insiders angry at its allegations of corruption, yet banned by fascist states in Europe who were afraid it showed that democracy works.See more »
Goofs:
Errors in geography: 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:
Senator Joseph Paine:I wish to ask my distinguished colleague, has he one scrap of evidence to add now to the defense he did not give and could not give at that same hearing?
Jefferson Smith:I have no defense against forged papers!
Senator Joseph Paine:The Committee ruled otherwise! The gentleman stands guilty, as charged. And I believe I speak for every member when I say that no one cares to hear what a man of his condemned character has to say about any section of any legislation before this House.
President of Senate:Order, order, gentlemen.
Jefferson Smith:Mr. President, I stand guilty as FRAMED! Because section 40 is graft! And I was ready to say so, I was ready to tell you that a certain man in my state, a Mr. James Taylor, wanted to put through this dam for his own profit. A man who controls a political machine! And controls everything else worth controlling in my state. Yes, and a man even powerful enough to control Congressmen - and I saw three of them in his room the day I went up to see him!
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Mr. Dreyfuss Goes to Washington (2001) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
The Star-Spangled BannerSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Is "Mr Smith Goes to Washington" based on a book?
What was the original ending?
See more »
111 out of 122 people found the following review useful.
A National Treasure, 6 June 2000
Author: FlickJunkie-2 from Atlanta, GA

James Stewart and Frank Capra. One needn't know much more going in to be assured that this will be an enjoyable film. Together they take on the Washington elite with this dramatic comedy about a naïve Washington outsider who gets appointed to the Senate and stands alone against corruption and graft. Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) is appointed from an unnamed state after one of its Senators dies. He is appointed because the political fat cats need someone who will not seem like a crony, but who will not stand in the way of a graft scheme for a pork barrel dam that will make bigwig Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold) millions. When the wide eyed Smith gets to Washington, he discovers the corrupt bill because the dam will stand in the way of his own proposed bill for a children's camp. When he tries to stop the project, Taylor's political machine frames him to make it seem like he is the one taking graft. This leads to the dramatic confrontation in the Senate, where Smith filibusters in an attempt to get the truth out.

This film is wonderful in so many ways. The story is a classic struggle between good and evil. In typical Capra style, the protagonist and antagonists are exaggerated so there is no confusion as to who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. If there is one clear message in Capra's films it is that those with strong moral fiber never give up hope. He likes to create utterly hopeless situations for characters to test their integrity, and rewards unswerving adherence to basic values and principles by triumph against the odds.

I was dismayed to see a comment, obviously from a young viewer of this film, that said that the characters weren't realistic because no one used profanity. This is a sad testimonial to our culture, when it inconceivable to young people that there was once a time when profanity was the exception and not the rule.

Stewart is brilliant as the idealistic and awe struck kid from the backwoods who is overwhelmed by the glory of Washington, with its monuments and history. The story brings us a confrontation between political expediency and idealistic principles with the message that the truly great men are the ones that don't compromise their principles to hold on to power. Stewart also brings a whole treasure chest of bumbling comedic sight gags that make him all the more lovable in the part.

Jean Arthur is fabulous as the tough and savvy assistant who is jaded by Washington politics, but gets a fresh injection of fervor as she listens to Smith's noble homespun philosophies. Claude Rains is also masterful as the adulterated Senator, who sold his soul to corruption for a chance at the presidency. He plays the simultaneous sense of guilt and ambition with a torment that is clearly ripping his heart out, and the power of both emotions portrayed in his performance makes his character both repugnant and pitiable.

This film is a national treasure. It is in my top 50 list of all time. The story of corruption in politics and the greatness of the men who resist it is timeless and would not be lost on the politicians in Washington today. A 10/10.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Sentimentalist rubbish siluad2
Mr Smith punching people? luks-11
Would like to see a colorized version of this film cadams-5
The ending is way too sudden. SixteenSaltines
The system has been rotten for a long time pinkybanana2000
Was Mr. Smith based on somebody?? ironhorse_iv
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