7.6/10
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Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 9 June 1939 (USA)
A fictionalized account of the early life of the American president as a young lawyer facing his greatest court case.

Director:

Writer:

(original screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Abigail Clay
...
...
Sarah Clay
Eddie Collins ...
Efe Turner
...
...
Matt Clay
...
Prosecutor John Felder
Judith Dickens ...
Carrie Sue (credit only)
...
Adam Clay
Spencer Charters ...
Judge Herbert A. Bell
...
John Palmer Cass
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tiny Jones ...
Townswoman (scenes deleted) (as Elizabeth Jones)
...
Father (scenes deleted)
Clarence Wilson ...
Dr. Mason (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Ten years in the life of Abraham Lincoln, before he became known to his nation and the world. He moves from a Kentucky cabin to Springfield, Illinois, to begin his law practice. He defends two men accused of murder in a political brawl, suffers the death of his girlfriend Ann, courts his future wife Mary Todd, and agrees to go into politics. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of Abraham Lincoln that has NEVER been told!

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 June 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El joven Lincoln  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Academy Award Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on July 10, 1946 with Henry Fonda reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene, where Lincoln gives his campaign speech for election to the Illinois legislature, he states he adheres to the principles of the Whig Party. The scene takes place in 1832 or 1833. If it is the earlier date, he was more than likely a National Republican, but the Whig Party was founded in 1833, in plenty of time for Lincoln to serve as a Whig member of the Illinois House of Representatives, which he did from 1834 until 1842. See more »

Quotes

[Lincoln and Felder are picking jurors for the trial of Matt and Adam Clay]
Prosecutor John Felder: Mr. Lincoln should know that the mere fact that a prospective juror knows counsel for the state does not disqualify him.
Abe Lincoln: I know that, John. What I'm afraid of is that some of the jurors might NOT know you... and that'd put me at a great disadvantage.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Dew Is On The Blossom
(uncredited)
Played when Abe is kneeling by Anns grave
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (John Ford, 1939) ***1/2
6 May 2006 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This film was not only one of John Ford's own personal favorites but also numbered directors Sergei M. Eisenstein and Bertrand Tavernier among its high-profile admirers. Ironically, I've just caught up with it myself via Criterion's recent 2-Disc Set after missing out on a couple of original language screenings of it on Italian TV many years ago and again a few times on TV while in Hollywood!

The film marked Ford's first of nine collaborations with Henry Fonda and is also a quintessential example of Ford's folksy Americana vein. A beautifully made and pictorially quite poetic piece of work, the courtroom sequences (and eventual revelation) in its second half still pack quite a wallop, apart from giving stalwart character actor Donald Meek a memorably meaty role as the prosecuting attorney.

Fonda is, of course, perfectly cast as a bashful, inexperienced but rigorous and humanistic lawyer who was destined to become President; Fonda would go on to portray other fictitious politicians on film - most notably in Franklin J. Schaffner's THE BEST MAN (1964) and Sidney Lumet's FAIL-SAFE (1964) - and it's surprising now to learn that he was reluctant at the time about accepting the role of Lincoln since, in his view, that was "like playing God"!

It is interesting to note here that Ford had previously tackled Abraham Lincoln (tangentially) in THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND (1936), a superb but perhaps little-known gem which has, luckily, just been released as a Special Edition DVD by the UK's veritable Criterion stand-in, Eureka's "Masters Of Cinema" label. Besides, I also have two more Abraham Lincoln films in my DVD collection which I've yet to watch and, incidentally, both were directed by D. W. Griffith - THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) and ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1930) - and, had I not just received a bunch of films I've never watched before just now, I would have gladly given them a spin based on my highly-satisfying viewing experience with YOUNG MR. LINCOLN.


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