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Young Mr. Lincoln
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Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) More at IMDbPro »

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Lamar Trotti (original screenplay)
View company contact information for Young Mr. Lincoln on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 June 1939 (USA) See more »
The story of Abraham Lincoln that has NEVER been told!
A fictionalized account of the early life of the American president as a young lawyer facing his greatest court case. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 3 wins See more »
(27 articles)
Viennale 2014. Cinema's Torch
 (From MUBI. 12 November 2014, 11:53 AM, PST)

Lincoln’s Past Is In Black And White In Trailer For The Better Angels
 (From We Got This Covered. 22 September 2014, 1:34 PM, PDT)

Our Daily Bread #5
 (From MUBI. 17 March 2014, 8:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Great Ford, and Great Americana See more (62 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Henry Fonda ... Abraham Lincoln

Alice Brady ... Abigail Clay
Marjorie Weaver ... Mary Todd
Arleen Whelan ... Sarah Clay
Eddie Collins ... Efe Turner
Pauline Moore ... Ann Rutledge
Richard Cromwell ... Matt Clay

Donald Meek ... Prosecutor John Felder
Judith Dickens ... Carrie Sue (credit only)
Eddie Quillan ... Adam Clay
Spencer Charters ... Judge Herbert A. Bell

Ward Bond ... John Palmer Cass
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tiny Jones ... Townswoman (scenes deleted) (as Elizabeth Jones)
Eddy Waller ... Father (scenes deleted)
Clarence Wilson ... Dr. Mason (scenes deleted)
Ernie Adams ... Man with Lynch Mob (uncredited)
Sam Ash ... Townsman Dancing at Party (uncredited)
Arthur Aylesworth ... New Salem Townsman (uncredited)
Dorris Bowdon ... Carrie Sue (uncredited)
Virginia Brissac ... Peach Pie Baker (uncredited)
Paul E. Burns ... Loafer (uncredited)
George Chandler ... Loafer (uncredited)
Cliff Clark ... Sheriff Gil Billings (uncredited)
Frank Dae ... Townsman (uncredited)
Francis Ford ... Sam Boone (uncredited)
Harold Goodwin ... Jeremiah Carter (uncredited)
Charles Halton ... Hawthorne (uncredited)
Herbert Heywood ... Tug-o'-War Contest Official (uncredited)
Robert Homans ... Mr. Clay (uncredited)
Dickie Jones ... Adam Clay as a Boy (uncredited)

Jack Kelly ... Matt Clay as a Boy (uncredited)
Fred Kohler Jr. ... Scrub White (uncredited)
Kay Linaker ... Mrs. Edwards (uncredited)
Robert Lowery ... Juror Bill Killian (uncredited)
Jim Mason ... Juror (uncredited)
Louis Mason ... Court Clerk (uncredited)

Edwin Maxwell ... John T. Stuart (uncredited)
Sylvia McClure ... Baby Clay (uncredited)
Ivor McFadden ... Juror (uncredited)
Tom McGuire ... Bailiff (uncredited)
Robert Milasch ... Townsman (uncredited)
Dave Morris ... Loafer (uncredited)
Frank Orth ... Loafer (uncredited)
Jack Pennick ... Big Buck Troop (uncredited)
Steven Randall ... Juror (uncredited)
Russell Simpson ... Woolridge (uncredited)

Milburn Stone ... Stephen A. Douglas (uncredited)
Charles Tannen ... Ninian Edwards (uncredited)
Harry Tyler ... Barber (uncredited)
Dorothy Vaughan ... Apple Pie Baker (uncredited)
Billy Watson ... Boy on Right of Bean Shooter (uncredited)
Delmar Watson ... Admiring Boy in New Salem (uncredited)

Directed by
John Ford 
Writing credits
Lamar Trotti (original screenplay)

Produced by
Kenneth Macgowan .... associate producer
Darryl F. Zanuck .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Alfred Newman 
Cinematography by
Bert Glennon (photography)
Arthur C. Miller (uncredited)
Film Editing by
Walter Thompson (film editor)
Robert Parrish (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Richard Day 
Mark-Lee Kirk 
Set Decoration by
Thomas Little (set decorations)
Costume Design by
Royer (costumes)
Makeup Department
Clay Campbell .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Wingate Smith .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Eugene Grossman .... sound
Roger Heman Sr. .... sound (as Roger Heman)
Robert Parrish .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Yakima Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sam Benson .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Music Department
David Buttolph .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Alfred Newman .... conductor (uncredited)
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Louis Silvers .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Paul Van Loan .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Other crew
Rosemary Benét .... poet: poem "Nancy Hanks"
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
100 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Argentina:Atp | Finland:S | Portugal:M/6 (Qualidade) | USA:Approved (PCA #5216)

Did You Know?

Final film of Alice Brady.See more »
Anachronisms: 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, but the Whig Party wasn't formed until 1836. (In 1832 Lincoln was a National Republican, the Whigs' predecessor party.)See more »
Abe Lincoln:By jing, that's all there is to it; Right and Wrong.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Fonda on Fonda (1992) (TV)See more »
Turkey in the StrawSee more »


Is this film based on a novel?
Is this film based on real events?
See more »
21 out of 27 people found the following review useful.
Great Ford, and Great Americana, 12 June 2001
Author: roy-4 ( from brooklyn

Why does this movie get so little attention? Maybe because it came out in that overstuffed great-movie year, 1939 (Wizard of Oz, Dark Victory, Grand Illusion, GWTW [which I can't stand]). But I really think it's because YML is a transitional film for Ford -- it's stuck between his early expressionistic period ("The Informer") and his classic Western period, with one stylistic foot in each. And it's unabashedly patriotic, only hinting at the dark reimagining of the American experience that the Master would come to in "The Searchers" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" -- but still hinting at it enough to turn off the McVeighs among us.

Maybe that's why I love it. You can see Ford coming to terms with the grand, Griffithesque vision of America through its most complicated avatar, Lincoln. Ford's love for his country was more like Lincoln's than Griffith's, anyway: like Lincoln, he acknowledged the genius of the democratic experiment, but he was also aware of its dangers: mob rule and self-satisfaction. YML's greatest scenes are all about this.

First, there's the local parade Abe attends, surrounded by yahoos whom he loves but also sees for what they are. (We see him in another scene accepting a legal case from one of these -- and warily biting the coin offered him for a retainer.) Veterans of the recent War of 1812 and Indian Wars march through; the crowd is wild for them, Abe merely respectful.Then a agon of old men in tricorners is pulled through the parade route. No one seems to know who they are. Lincoln quietly informs his friends that they are veterans of the War for Independence -- and gravely doffs his stovepipe hat. His friends, mildly ashamed (it appears) of their prevous jingoistic glee, follow suit, and stand silent and hatless as the old men pass.

Then the mildly ludicrous plot -- about two brothers accused of another man's murder -- kicks in, and Abe goes to work. The scene where he confronts a lynch mob, putting his foot up against the log they're using for a battering-ram against the jailhouse door, is a classic by any standard. But note how Abe talks to the mob on its own level while remaining, in spirit, resolutely on his own higher plane. After appealing to their macho impulses by offering to "lick any man here," he delivers a house-divided speech that soothes their savagery and leaves them confused and irresolute. "Dontcha wanna put that log down now, boys?" he asks when they have been flummoxed by his eloquence. "Ain't it gettin' a mite heavy?"

Throughout Ford indulges in shameless historical foreshadowings that would have made Stephen Vincent Benet blush. Abe meets Mary Todd and Stephen Douglas; he rides down a dirt road with a bumpkin who's playing a new tune called "Dixie" on a jaw-harp. "Kinda makes you feel like marchin'!" says the bumpkin, as he and Abe ride through a muddy patch in the road.

The ending is impossible to describe without inviting derision, but I swear to you, it works. Having won his case, Lincoln allows as how he might take a walk -- "maybe to the top of that hill." As he trudges on, the skies send down rain and lightning -- and Abe seems to know what this is a prelude to.

I acknowledge the superiority of the great Ford films that came after, but I will always have a special place in my heart for "Young Mr. Lincoln." Independence Day (the federal day of observance, not the movie) is coming; you could do far worse than to watch this great film before the barbecue.

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