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State of the Union
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State of the Union (1948) More at IMDbPro »

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State of the Union -- Academy Award-winning screen icons Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn shine in a classic film about marriage, politics and the pursuit of the American dream.


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7.4/10   2,268 votes »
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Up 24% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Howard Lindsay (play) and
Russel Crouse (play) ...
View company contact information for State of the Union on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 April 1948 (USA) See more »
How's the State of the Union? It's GREAT!
An industrialist is urged to run for President, but this requires uncomfortable compromises on both political and marital levels. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Politics as usual See more (25 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Spencer Tracy ... Grant Matthews

Katharine Hepburn ... Mary Matthews (as Katherine Hepburn)

Van Johnson ... 'Spike' McManus

Angela Lansbury ... Kay Thorndyke

Adolphe Menjou ... Jim Conover (as Adolph Menjou)

Lewis Stone ... Sam Thorndyke
Howard Smith ... Sam I. Parrish
Charles Dingle ... Bill Nolard Hardy
Maidel Turner ... Lulubelle Alexander
Raymond Walburn ... Judge Alexander

Margaret Hamilton ... Norah
Art Baker ... Leith - Radio Announcer
Pierre Watkin ... Senator Lauterback
Florence Auer ... Grace Orval Draper
Irving Bacon ... Buck Swenson

Charles Lane ... Blink Moran
Patti Brady ... Joyce Matthews
Georgie Nokes ... Grant Matthews Jr.

Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Bellboy (as Carl Switzer)
Tom Fadden ... Waiter
Tom Pedi ... Barber
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Don Anderson ... Television Technician (uncredited)
Harry Anderson ... Photographer (uncredited)
Stanley Andrews ... Senator (uncredited)
Sam Ash ... Editor (uncredited)
Frank Austin ... Crackpot (uncredited)
David Bair ... Minor Role (uncredited)
George Barton ... Photographer (uncredited)
Brandon Beach ... Editor (uncredited)
Anne Beck ... Receptionist (uncredited)
Lennie Bluett ... Page Boy (uncredited)
Jack Boyle ... Photographer (uncredited)
Norma Brown ... Cigarette Girl (uncredited)
Douglas Carter ... Photographer (uncredited)
Maurice Cass ... Little Man at White House Gate (uncredited)
Davison Clark ... Newspaper Editor Crump (uncredited)

David Clarke ... Rusty Miller (uncredited)
Frank L. Clarke ... Joe Crandall (uncredited)
Gene Coogan ... Photographer (uncredited)
Edwin Cooper ... Bradbury (uncredited)
Fred Datig Jr. ... Elevator Boy (uncredited)
Bert Davidson ... Reporter (uncredited)
Boyd Davis ... Doctor (uncredited)
Lew Davis ... Reporter (uncredited)
Drew Demorest ... Reporter (uncredited)
Helen Eby-Rock ... Business Woman (uncredited)
Thornton Edwards ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Franklyn Farnum ... Congressman (uncredited)
Sam Finn ... Reporter (uncredited)
Sig Frohlich ... Page Boy (uncredited)
Joe Gilbert ... Newsreel Cameraman (uncredited)
Herschel Graham ... Assistant Cameraman (uncredited)
Jesse Graves ... Jesse - Butler (uncredited)
Mahlon Hamilton ... Businessman (uncredited)
Phil Harron ... Reporter (uncredited)
Timmy Hawkins ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Dell Henderson ... Broder (uncredited)
Al Hill ... Television Technician (uncredited)
Art Howard ... City Official (uncredited)
Tor Johnson ... Wrestler (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Television Prompter (uncredited)
Jimmy Lennon Sr. ... Reporter (uncredited)
Marion Martin ... Blonde Girl (uncredited)
Frank Mayo ... City Official (uncredited)

Frank McClure ... Reporter (uncredited)
Charles Meakin ... Editor (uncredited)
Russell Meeker ... Politician (uncredited)
Fred Miller ... Labor Leader (uncredited)
Howard M. Mitchell ... Doctor (uncredited)
Rhea Mitchell ... Jenny (uncredited)
Ralph Montgomery ... Reporter (uncredited)
Roger Moore ... Photographer (uncredited)
Bert Moorhouse ... Politician (uncredited)

Arthur O'Connell ... First Reporter (uncredited)
Garry Owen ... Brooklynite (uncredited)
Netta Packer ... Nurse (uncredited)
Frank Pharr ... Editor (uncredited)
Eddie Phillips ... Television Technician (uncredited)
Francis Pierlot ... Newspaper Editor Josephs (uncredited)
Stanley Price ... Photographer (uncredited)
Ed Randolph ... Reporter (uncredited)
Barry Regan ... Reporter (uncredited)

Ellen Ross ... Secretary (uncredited)
Henry Russell ... Labor Leader (uncredited)
Marshall Ruth ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Jerry Schumacher ... Newsreel Cameraman (uncredited)
Charles Sherlock ... Photographer (uncredited)
Robert Skelton ... Reporter (uncredited)
J. Lewis Smith ... Photographer (uncredited)
Robert Spencer ... Guard (uncredited)
Ted Stanhope ... Reporter (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... Television Sound Technician (uncredited)
Henry Sylvester ... Butler (uncredited)
Frank Whitbeck ... Trailer Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Eve Whitney ... Secretary (uncredited)
Dave Willock ... Pilot (uncredited)
Wilson Wood ... Photographer (uncredited)
Fred Zendar ... Photographer (uncredited)

Directed by
Frank Capra 
Writing credits
Howard Lindsay (play) and
Russel Crouse (play)

Anthony Veiller (screenplay) and
Myles Connolly (screenplay)

Produced by
Frank Capra .... producer
Anthony Veiller .... associate producer
Original Music by
Victor Young 
Cinematography by
George J. Folsey (director of photography) (as George J. Falsey)
Film Editing by
William Hornbeck 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Urie McCleary 
Set Decoration by
Emile Kuri 
Edwin B. Willis (uncredited)
Costume Design by
Makeup Department
Jack Dawn .... makeup creator
Sydney Guilaroff .... hair styles designer
Production Management
Arthur S. Black Jr. .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Arthur S. Black Jr. .... assistant director
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Conrad Kahn .... sound (uncredited)
Special Effects by
A. Arnold Gillespie .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Mervin Bradner .... grip (uncredited)
Robert J. Bronner .... camera operator (uncredited)
Jerome Hester .... still photographer (uncredited)
Music Department
Sidney Cutner .... orchestrator (uncredited)
George Parrish .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leo Shuken .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Leland Hayward .... stage producer
Eylla Jacobs .... script supervisor (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Frank Capra's State of the Union" - USA (complete title)
See more »
124 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Australia:PG | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Finland:S | Sweden:Btl | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (re-rating) (2005) | USA:Approved | USA:Passed
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

When the film was made and released, President Harry Truman had not made his miraculous political comeback and was considered a sure loser in the 1948 Presidential election by nearly everyone, which is why both the Republican Presidential nomination is considered so valuable in the movie, and why Van Johnson's character is amused when a young woman tells him that she thinks Truman will be elected President in his own right in November.See more »
Revealing mistakes: Adolphe Menjou's name is also misspelled, but only in the opening credits, where he is credited as 'Adolph'. In the closing credits, however, his named is spelled correctly.See more »
Mary Matthews:Oh, that's silly. No woman could ever run for President. She'd have to admit she's over 35.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) (V)See more »


What was the criticle reception to the film in the late 1940s?
See more »
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Politics as usual, 23 December 2009
Author: blanche-2 from United States

It never ceases to amaze me how one can see a film about politics made in the '30s, '40s, '50s - doesn't matter when it was made, it always seems like it was made yesterday. "State of the Union," a 1941 Frank Capra film, is another political film that comes off as very fresh. A plain speaking, likable man, Grant Matthews (Spencer Tracy) is convinced to run for President by the publisher of a newspaper, Kay Thorndyke (Angela Lansbury) who is also his mistress, and before he knows it, his words and intentions are no longer his own. Because he wants to win, he compromises and lies down with the dogs. When he stands up, he's got fleas.

Katharine Hepburn costars as Grant's wife Mary in a role intended for Claudette Colbert, and she's excellent. She got the part by sheer happenstance - she was with Tracy when Capra called to say that Colbert was out. Colbert wanted to be filmed from the left only and didn't want to work after 5. Because the studio wanted the film out before the actual 1948 Presidential election, there wasn't the time or budget to accommodate her.

All the performances in this film are marvelous. Van Johnson is very funny and charming as a newspaperman who becomes Grant's campaign manager. Adolphe Menjou is perfect as Kaye's mouthpiece who wants to go after the money people and court big business and the union heads. Lansbury is fantastic as the ambitious, cutthroat Kaye, who took over the paper from her father and knows how to use and abuse power.

By today's standards, "State of the Union" is probably too talky - Capra often has big monologues in his films, but they're always delivered powerfully. Here is no exception. A rousing film about the breakdown of idealism before political realities.

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