Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  19 April 1940 (USA)
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Humble Abraham Lincoln gains the respect of his Illinois neighbors, growing in stature and respect until he is elected President in 1860 and departs for Washington.



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Howard ...
Minor Watson ...
Alan Baxter ...
Harvey Stephens ...
Howard Da Silva ...
Jack Armstrong (as Howard da Silva)
Dorothy Tree ...
Maurice Murphy ...
Louis Jean Heydt ...
Harlan Briggs ...
Herbert Rudley ...


Biopic of Abe Lincoln, 16th President of he United States, from his early days in backwoods Kentucky to his election as President. After a time running livestock to New Orleans, he settles in New Salem where he meets and falls in love with Ann Rutledge who is already engaged to someone. Abe makes a home for himself in New Salem, eventually running a store and becoming the postmaster. He's popular with the locals and is eventually elected to the State legislature but afterward established himself in the practice of law. He eventually meets Mary Todd who would become his wife and and is sent to Washington as a Congressman before he is elected president. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

19 April 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abraham Lincoln  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


"Theater Guild on the Air" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 9, 1947 with Raymond Massey reprising his film role. See more »


When Lincoln breaks his engagement to Mary Todd in 1837, he looks at a flag with 22 stars, The only time the American flag had 22 stars was in 1819. The number of states increased to 23 with the admission of Maine one year later in 1820. In 1837 there were 26 states in the Union. See more »


Aide to Stephen Douglas: You don't mean to say you're afraid of Abe Lincoln. Why, the country doesn't know him!
Stephen Douglas: Maybe the country doesn't... but I do.
See more »


Referenced in Henry Fonda: The Man and His Movies (1982) See more »


When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(1863) (uncredited)
Music by Louis Lambert
(Psuedonymn for Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore)
Played a bit by a band in a\Stephen Douglas parade
See more »

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User Reviews

The Real Mr. Lincoln
19 October 1999 | by (Lowell MA) – See all my reviews

With all due respect to Henry Fonda, Walter Huston, and a myriad of other cinematic Lincolns, Raymond Massey is the Abe to end all Abes. His moving and mesmerizing performance gives us the real Mr. Lincoln in all his complexity. Alongside the warmth, compassion and humor for which we love and revere Mr. Lincoln, we see in Massey the dark side as well: the doubts, fears, indecision and deep melancholia with which Abraham Lincoln struggled his whole life, and which clashed with his fierce ambition. Ruth Gordon is superb as Lincoln's equally ambitious wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. No hagiography, this movie lets us see the Lincolns as human beings with real "issues", rather than mere heroes of history.

Besides all this, we have Massey's astonishing physical resemblance to Lincoln.

What's most amazing is that the spirit of this most quintessentially American of our American heroes should be so wonderfully captured and portrayed by.... a Canadian!

26 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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