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Meet John Doe (1941)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 3 May 1941 (USA)
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.

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Writers:

(based on a story by), (based on a story by) (as Robert Presnell) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
The 'Colonel'
...
Mrs. Mitchell
...
Henry
...
Mayor Lovett
...
Ted Sheldon
...
...
Bert
...
'Sourpuss'
...
Angelface
Harry Holman ...
Mayor Hawkins
Andrew Tombes ...
Spencer
...
Hammett
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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:

Frank Capra's Production for 1941 See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The rooftop set for the final scene in was built in an icehouse to capture the sense that it was taking place on Christmas Eve. Barbara Stanwyck later said after shooting the scene she had to go to "the hospital for a defrost." See more »

Goofs

When Ann is struggling to write John Doe's radio speech, she balls up one draft and throws the paper on the floor in disgust. The dog picks up the crumpled paper and approaches the apparently empty wastebasket. After the cut, when the dog drops the paper into the wastebasket, the wastebasket is full. See more »

Quotes

The Colonel: $5,000. Holy mackerel! I can see the helots coming now. A whole army of them.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Brothers Warner (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

March of the Swiss Soldiers
(1829) (uncredited)
From 'The William Tell Overture'
Written by Gioachino Rossini
Played on harmonica by Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Who is John Doe?
25 July 2004 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

This film is a classic example of a movie working effortlessly on a range of different layers. Capra weaves his well-loved everyman through a tale of both simplicity and political intrigue, taking in the American depression and Biblical references along the way, and comes up with messages that remain startlingly relevant today, over six decades after this movie's release.

Gary Cooper delivers a masterful performance, and in keeping with the film, achieves this with a deceptively easy touch. He is supported by a peerless cast which includes Barbara Stanwyck and Walter Brennan, both on top form.

Perhaps most impressive is the illustration of Capra's democratic ideal by including the views of the audience throughout the story. You can find all your views being voiced by different characters at various points in the tale, opening the question of just who is the average everyman that Capra is seeking to show? - and how do they relate to you?

This movie is ten stars all over. Even for keen Capra fans, the expectation is surpassed by the final delivery. Thoroughly recommended.


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