Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, Musical  |  6 June 1942 (USA)
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A film of the life of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer and singer George M. Cohan.



(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Won 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Whorf ...
Irene Manning ...
Rosemary DeCamp ...
Jeanne Cagney ...
George Barbier ...
Walter Catlett ...
Douglas Croft ...
Eddie Foy Jr. ...
Minor Watson ...


A musical portrait of composer/singer/dancer George M. Cohan. From his early days as a child-star in his family's vaudeville show up to the time of his comeback at which he received a medal from the president for his special contributions to the US, this is the life- story of George M. Cohan, who produced, directed, wrote and starred in his own musical shows for which he composed his famous songs. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

actor | singer | song | comeback | dancer | See All (122) »


Based on the story of GEORGE M. COHAN with the Greatest of all his Great Music See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 June 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Triunfo supremo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


James Cagney broke a rib while filming a dance scene, but continued dancing until it was completed. See more »


After George M. Cohan plays the violin as a child, he sets the instrument down on a table and it changes position between shots. See more »


[first lines]
Critic #1: I call it a hit. What'll your review say?
Critic #2: I like it too, so I guess I'll pan it.
See more »


Referenced in The Twilight Zone: The Lonely (1959) See more »


You're a Grand Old Flag
(1906) (uncredited)
from the Broadway show "George Washington Jr."
Written by George M. Cohan
Sung by James Cagney and Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

He Was the "Yankee Doodle Boy"
4 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Unless you happen to catch a rare showing of THE PHANTOM PRESIDENT, you are not going to see any film that will bring you closer to that long gone Broadway phenomenon named George M. Cohan than this. Producer, Director, Dramatist, Actor, Composer, and super-patriot, he rewrote the American musical theater. If his successful productions are out of date today, the music survives to reawaken us every July 4th (his big holiday). His success as a songwriter led the way to Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers (and Hart and Hammerstein), Kern, and Youmans.

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY is not a perfect biography of Cohan - he was still alive while it was being made, and would have vetoed the project mentioning his first failed marriage to Ethel Levey or his opposition to Actor's Equity. But as a valentine to his greatness as an entertainment phenomenon it remains great. Whole numbers from his LITTLE JOHNNY JONES ("Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Give My Regards To Broadway") and FORTY-FIVE MINUTES FROM Broadway ("So Long Mary") are shown as they were produced. James Cagney (who was a first rate song and dance man on Broadway) studied THE PHANTOM PRESIDENT to know what were Cohan's singing and dancing style. His research and work paid off in this, his best musical performance and his only Oscar performance.

Walter Huston and Rosemary DeCamp are splendid as his loving, but long suffering parents (best scene for both is when Huston has to spank the young Cohan for blowing an important booking chance). Huston also has a moving moment when he gets as a birthday gift 50% of George's business enterprises. Richard Whorf (who was so sinister that same year in KEEPER OF THE FLAME) was excellent as partner/friend Sam Harris. Jeanne Cagney is good as Cohan's sister Josie, and Joan Leslie wonderful as Mary Cohan (the only wife of Cohan in the film, but historically his second wife). Also of note are George Tobias and Chester Clute as Dietz and Goff (poor Goff) and S.Z.Sakall as a backer who loves chorus girls. Walter Catlett as a conniving theater owner has a funny scene. Irene Manning as Fay Templeton is a perfectly snobbish star who actually finds Cohan has merit. Finally, catch Eddie Foy Jr. as his father, Cohan's rival and closest friend. That scene together was so good that it could have been continued as a short subject comedy.

One minor point to bring out - it is mentioned that LITTLE JOHNNY JONES is based on a jockey named Tod Sloane. If you recall Johnny Jones was accused of throwing the English Derby, and he is cleared afterward when papers are found showing one Anskey was responsible. In actuality Sloane, the leading American jockey of the day, was disgraced in a similar situation when riding in the English Derby. In Sloane's case there was no sequel with an "Anskey" and it sent his career into a tailspin. Only in the last year was a biography written about Sloane's tragic fall from sports fame.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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