A man needing money agrees to impersonate a nonexistent person who said he'd be committing suicide as a protest, and a political movement begins.

Director:

Writers:

(based on a story by), (based on a story by) (as Robert Presnell) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Longfellow Deeds, a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player, inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft
Ball of Fire (1941)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A group of ivory-tower lexicographers realize they need to hear how real people talk, and end up helping a beautiful singer avoid police and escape from the Mob.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka
Sergeant York (1941)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A hillbilly sharpshooter drafted in WW1 despite his claim to be a pacifist, who ends up becoming a war hero.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man from a family of rich snobs becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A gangster tries to make Apple Annie, the Times Square apple seller, a lady for a day.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Warren William, May Robson, Guy Kibbee
Lost Horizon (1937)
Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A plane crash delivers a group of people to the secluded land of Shangri-La -- but is it the miraculous utopia it appears to be?

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An industrialist is urged to run for President, but this requires uncomfortable compromises on both political and marital levels.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Van Johnson
The Lady Eve (1941)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A trio of classy card sharps targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, till one of them falls in love with him.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Just before Christmas, Lee Leander is caught shoplifting. It is her third offense. She is prosecuted by John Sargent. He postpones the trial because it is hard to get a conviction at ... See full summary »

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

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.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Rival reporters Sam and Tess fall in love and get married, only to find their relationship strained when Sam comes to resent Tess' hectic lifestyle.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Fay Bainter
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
The 'Colonel'
...
Mrs. Mitchell
...
Henry
...
Mayor Lovett
...
Ted Sheldon
Irving Bacon ...
...
Bert (credit only)
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
'Sourpuss'
Warren Hymer ...
Angelface
Harry Holman ...
Mayor Hawkins
Andrew Tombes ...
Spencer
Pierre Watkin ...
Hammett
Edit

Storyline

As a parting shot, fired reporter Ann Mitchell prints a fake letter from unemployed "John Doe," who threatens suicide in protest of social ills. The paper is forced to rehire Ann and hires John Willoughby to impersonate "Doe." Ann and her bosses cynically milk the story for all it's worth, until the made-up "John Doe" philosophy starts a whole political movement. At last everyone, even Ann, takes her creation seriously...but publisher D.B. Norton has a secret plan. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

ALL AMERICA WANTS TO MEET THE "MR. DEEDS" OF 1941! (original print media ad - all caps)

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 May 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's 'Meet John Doe'  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Frank Capra tested the film in different areas of the US with four different endings to determine which one to keep. In one, John Willoughby commits suicide. In another, Ann Mitchell persuades him not to leap from City Hall. Inspired by a letter signed "John Doe," Capra filmed a fifth and final ending in which Mitchell talks some sense into Willoughby and then faints into his arms. See more »

Goofs

During the montage showing John Doe Clubs gaining in popularity, closeups of a map are shown with flags being pinned up for every new club. At the end of the montage, the camera pulls back to show a map of the entire US. However, the final map has substantially fewer flags pinned to it than what was shown during the closeups. See more »

Quotes

Mayor Hawkins: O.K. folks, but remember your manners. No stampeding. Walk slow, like you do when you come to pay your taxes.
See more »


Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by all at a party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Dark, Sweet and Powerful
27 February 2004 | by (USA) – See all my reviews



There's an Italianate "cinema verite" in Capra's work, perhaps genetic . . . I find this film so powerful, and its characters so sympathetic, that I can hardly watch the riot scene. It's almost too terrifying.

Cooper's performance at first seems wooden, but he's an actor whom you need to watch, like a pond, to see the emotions swimming beneath the surface. Barbara Stanwyck is one of my favorite actresses--she never makes a false move and is beautiful to watch from any angle.

I find some lines of dialogue chilling in this age of Patriot Acts I and II and corporate globalism/global corporatism: "The American people need an iron hand," declares D. B. Norton, whose sneer looks like Cheney's.


57 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
joe the plumber ncblue66
Yo, Modern Liberalistas! tmonigan
Organized Religion Subtext realmyth
Why not use Jimmy Stewart? fayebags
Cold air in the last scene? Blondfashionisto
harmonica song morphytal
Discuss Meet John Doe (1941) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?