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Tennessee Johnson (1942)

Passed  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  December 1942 (USA)
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A chronicle of the life of Andrew Johnson from his first arrival in Tennessee to his time as President of the United States.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eliza McCardle Johnson
Mrs. Maude Fisher
Blackstone McDaniel
J. Edward Bromberg ...
Mordecai Milligan
Alec Craig ...
Sam Andrews
Charles Dingle ...
Senator Jim Waters
Carl Benton Reid ...
Congressman Hargrove
Russell Hicks ...
Lincoln's Emissary
Sheriff Cass (as Noah Beery Sr.)
Robert Warwick ...
Major Crooks
Montagu Love ...
Chief Justice Chase
Lloyd Corrigan ...
Mr. Secretary


A chronicle of the life of Andrew Johnson from his first arrival in Tennessee to his time as President of the United States.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

December 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Campeão da Liberdade  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Early production charts and a newspaper item included Lewis Stone and Grant Mitchell in the cast, but they were not in the film. Porter Hall (The Weasel) and Sheldon Leonard (Atzerodt) were in the Call Bureau Cast Service list for those roles, but they were cut for the released print. Similarly, Lew Short, Ralph McCullough, Al Ferguson, Ben Hall, Roger Gray and Murdock MacQuarrie, all listed as "Men at Railroad Station" must have been cut, since there were no railroad station scenes. Also Joseph E. Bernard (Engineer) and Jack Daley, Stanley Price, Philo McCullough, Frank O'Connor and Bob Ryan (I) listed as "Men at Another Railroad Station" must have been cut for the same reason. Also Allen Pomeroy and Duke York (Assassins) and Harry Worth (John Wilkes Booth) were never seen. Finally, Richard Nichols (Tad Lincoln) never shows up either. See more »


The Vice-Presidential oath administered by the Chief Justice is incorrect (using the Presidential oath, adding "Vice"). In reality, the Vice-President's oath is the same generic oath taken by a Senator or Congressman. See more »


Thaddeus Stevens: You're a great stickler for the Constitution, aren't you?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening outline includes a disclaimer about historical facts being changed for entertainment purposes. See more »


The Battle Cry of Freedom
Written by George Frederick Root
In the score during the foreword, reprised in the score for the last scene
See more »

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User Reviews

Van Heflin's performance is the strong point of the film...
13 December 2006 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

VAN HEFLIN as Andrew Johnson and RUTH HUSSEY as his wife both give earnest performances and the screenplay, while fictionalizing certain points for dramatic license, is a good one. But, as usual, history buffs are going to nitpick the inaccuracies to the point of dismissing the film as fiction. Not true. What it does do is make anyone who watches it want to consult the history books--and that's a good thing if you want to know the whole story behind Johnson being the first president in history against whom impeachment charges were made.

As his adversary in the impeachment process, LIONEL BARRYMORE delivers another one of his more restrained performances without overdoing the ham. He and Heflin share some pretty dramatically effective moments, both of them in fine form. Heflin takes the character of Johnson from his humble beginnings as a tailor to his marriage to Hussey and his gradual emergence as a spokesmen for the people of Tennessee. For the sake of running time, it skips most of the years leading up to the Civil War and Lincoln's assassination, compressing all of those events and managing to keep the screenplay a tightly knit focus on the impeachment process itself. Only quibble is it fails to make clear the strongest point of the impeachment.

VAN HEFLIN plays most of his role in appropriate age make-up (as does Hussey) and they're both terrific. In lesser roles, MARJORIE MAIN, REGIS TOOMEY and CHARLES DINGLE provide colorful support.

Summing up: May not be a complete history lesson, but it will certainly cause viewers to probe more deeply into the detailed background of historical interest. And it does serve to remind us what a fine actor Van Heflin was in a demanding role.

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