IMDb > Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

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

Photos (See all 35 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington -- James Stewart takes on the powers-that-be in our nation's capitol in Frank Capra's timeless classic. Nominated for eleven 1939 Oscars(r), including best picture.
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

User Rating:
8.3/10   69,311 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 25% 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 »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 5 wins & 10 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Required viewing for anyone elected or appointed for public office. See more (236 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)

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


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

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:
Frank Capra received many letters over the years from individuals who were inspired by the film to take up politics.See more »
Goofs:
Plot holes: Jeff Smith is accused of putting forward his bill on Boys Camp for his own benefit, as the supposed owner of the land on which the two contending bills lay claim. Yet if he did own this land and was concerned about selling it overpriced "at $500 an acre", he would in fact support the bill backed by the corrupt Senators, since he would make a profit from the sale of "his" land whatever the State decided to build there, Boys Camp or a dam.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 »
Soundtrack:
Jeanie With the Light Brown HairSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
How does the movie end?
What is 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' about?
See more »
75 out of 94 people found the following review useful.
Required viewing for anyone elected or appointed for public office., 2 June 1999
Author: Lenny Mucci (marquis192@hotmail.com) from South Jersey, USA

Since the beginning of the art form, movies have generally fallen into two categories: the realistic, and the fantastic (fantasy-based). There are some that point out that the films of Frank Capra unduly fall into the latter, that they are completely far-fetched and fastened in their own time, and even invented a pejorative term "Capra-esque" to describe any non-cynical, heartwarming picture that has a message. His great films, like It Happened One Night, It's a Wonderful Life, and of course, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, however, are not fixed in a single era, but all eras, the truest definition of a classic. And considering it was released among true powerhouses in 1939, a year as important to movies as 1998 was to baseball, its ideals, story, and general excellence shine as bright today as it did over 60 years ago.

A Senator from an unnamed, middle America state dies and a new one must be appointed by Governor Hubert Hopper, a puppet whose strings are held by newspaper magnate Jim Taylor. They need to find one that would be easily controlled by the now-senior Senator Joseph Paine (played brilliantly by Claude Rains), so a bill allowing a building of a dam near land by the Willett Creek owned by Taylor can pass in the Senate. After his initial choice is rejected by Taylor, and Taylor's handpicked man is shot down by the public, the governor chooses Jefferson Smith, played to perfection by James Stewart, a boy scout leader and local hero who is both wholly idealistic in his patriotism for America but naive and blind to the actual process. After he gets embarrassed by the local print media, Mr. Smith begins to learn the harsh realities of DC. Paine, Smith's boyhood hero, takes him under his wing and suggests that Smith try to create a bill. Smith agrees, and with his assistant, Clarissa Saunders (played by Jean Arthur), they create a bill to create a campground for boys from all over the country to learn about each other and the civic process, much to the initial dissuasion by Saunders. Smith then wants to choose a site near the Willett Creek, the same site where the dam is to be built and when his superiors and true string-pullers find that out, major complications ensue.

Although the basic premise is David vs. Goliath, the story is wholly originally and was probably one of the earliest pictures to suggest the government as corrupt. The characters are played excellently by all principal actors, with Mr. Smith you root for whole-heartedly, Mr. Taylor you root against for his sheer arrogance and greed, and Mr. Paine, who you pity as you see a man who lost his initial zest to serve the public and is now a jaded shell of his former self. A great performance was given by Harry Carey, Sr., who plays the Vice President/President of the Senate for comic relief. The lines where completely believable and the parts of Smith's final filibuster that were shown give the most impact. There is a beautifully shot scene with images of the monuments and sights of Washington with several national anthems synchronized as the score. The climax is as tension-packed as drama can get, and while the ending may seem rather sudden, and everything isn't completely or neatly resolved, it works perfectly and ends the movie on a happy note.

Obviously, few if any people elected to public office has the moral character, conviction, and general good heartedness of Jefferson Smith, and I doubt whether the government would be better if it was. The movie showed an ideal, a supposed "lost cause" of truth in government. And although it is next to impossible for Capra and the eternal good guy Jimmy Stewart to ever fully change the world of politics with just a motion picture, at least it shows that maybe once in a great while, being the good guy has its definite rewards. If (using the same analogy of the 1998 baseball season) The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind were the Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa of 1939 moviemaking, then this would be like Cal Ripken voluntarily ending his Iron Man Streak, something done with full class and the highest respect in mind, and that elevates an ideal of being the good guy and sticking to your dedication brings the greatest of riches. This picture is flawless in all respects and a true classic, with thought-provoking ideas, wit, a little bit of platonic romance, and an excellent cinematography and score, and deserves the rank as a 10 out of 10. And in giving this rating, either I'm damn right or I'm crazy.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (236 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
people have gone over this but still didn't explain it. mrwnmero
Why did Mr. Smith not donate the land to his boys? Maerlyn
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
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
They Won't Forget Fury Fair Game Thank You for Smoking Frost/Nixon
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb top 250 movies IMDb Drama section
IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.