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Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 19 April 1940 (USA)
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.



(by), (screen play) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Howard ...
Minor Watson ...
Harvey Stephens ...
Jack Armstrong (as Howard da Silva)
Maurice Murphy ...
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

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Release Date:

19 April 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abraham Lincoln  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director John Cromwell's son, actor James Cromwell, has played two real life Presidents (George Bush in W. (2008) and Lyndon Johnson in 'RFK (2002)(TV)'). See more »


When Crimmin and the other politicians initially walk into the Lincoln home, there are seven i the group. However, in the proverbial smoke-filled room, there are eight. See more »


Abraham Lincoln: [discussing why he can't face Mary Todd before his marriage to her] I'd have to tell her that I have hatred for her infernal ambition. That I don't want to be ridden and driven onward and upward through life with her whip bashing me and her spurs digging in me. If her poor little soul craves importance in life let her marry Stephen Douglas. He's ambitious too. I want only to be left alone.
See more »


Version of Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1945) See more »


The GIrl He Left Behind Him
Traditional military marching song
Instrumental version heard at campaign rally.
See more »

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User Reviews

Holds up pretty well
1 January 2003 | by (Portland, OR) – See all my reviews

Episodic recounting of Lincoln's life up to the Presidency. Written by Robert Sherwood, one of FDR's speechwriters. Good performances by Ruth Gordon, Alan Baxter, Howard DaSilva, Clem Bevans.

Massey is the definitive movie Lincoln. Excellent work, emotional range and depth. Much better than Henry Fonda, whose Lincoln was apparently in some kind of trance.

May seem a little dated to modern audiences; occasionally strives for emotional poignancy that now comes across as somewhat corny.

Lots of little details, good depictions of frontier life, political campaigns in the 1800's. Includes two of Lincoln's best speeches from that period, with Massey's performance very close to Lincoln's 19th century oratorical style.

Highly recommended to students of American history and fans of old movies.

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