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Meet John Doe (1941)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  3 May 1941 (USA)
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Reviews: 80 user | 44 critic

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.



(based on a story by), (based on a story by) (as Robert Presnell) , 2 more credits »
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Title: Meet John Doe (1941)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




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  »

Did You Know?


Olivia de Havilland was offered the role of Ann Mitchell but turned it down. See more »


When the Governor sits, the ear piece of his glasses changes position between shots. See more »


Long John Willoughby: [addressing the public] Why can't that spirit, that warm Christmas spirit, last all year long?
See more »


Hard Times Come Again No More
(1854) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Performed by The Hall Johnson Choir
See more »

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User Reviews

9 January 2000 | by (NY) – See all my reviews

This is a great movie. Gary Cooper is wonderful as John. At first, he does it for the money, but then, he feels bad because some people really have faith in him, and trust him. He feels guilty about being a fake. My favorite part is when he says:

"The John Doe idea may be the answer though! It may be the one thing capable of saving this cockeyed world. Yet you sit back there on your fat hulks and tell me you'll kill it if you can't use it. Well you go ahead and try, you couldn't do it in a million years with all your radio stations and all your power. Because it's bigger than whether I'm a fake, it's bigger than your ambitions and it's bigger than all the bracelets and fur coats in the world!"

I also think Barbara Stanwyck gives a wonderful performance as Ann. I love it when he's standing on the building, threatening to jump, and she tells him that she loves him, and the world does too, and they'll forgive him for lying. I cried so much!

I first saw this movie on Christmas Eve and I loved it. I guarantee it will be a tradition for many Christmases to come!

15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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