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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   2,398 votes »
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Up 6% 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:
Spencer Tracey is Grant Matthews, a famous aircraft tycoon courted by the Republican Party to become their candidate for President of the United States. 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?

Claudette Colbert was originally cast to play Mary. Days before production began, Frank Capra fired her from the film because she refused to work into the evening. Capra then hired Katharine Hepburn after Spencer Tracy suggested her.See more »
Revealing mistakes: During the airliner loop scene Katharine Hepburn is seen rotating in a complete circle, however, items on the table, her hair, or the item she's knitting never move. It is obvious the movie frames were rotated in a circle.See more »
Mary Matthews:You politicians have stayed professionals only because the voters have remained amateurs.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Frank Capra's American Dream (1997) (TV)See more »


What was the criticle reception to the film in the late 1940s?
See more »
18 out of 21 people found the following review useful.
Spencer Tracey is Grant Matthews, a famous aircraft tycoon courted by the Republican Party to become their candidate for President of the United States., 1 May 1999
Author: Matthew Nehmer ( from Arlington, VA

`Is there any difference between Democrats and Republicans?' `The difference is that they're in and we're out.' -- A line from State of the Union, one of only a handful of political films to use direct partisan language.

Based on a 1945 play by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, State of the Union marked Frank Capra's return to the political genera. This film is also the third of nine pictures featuring Spencer Tracey and Katharine Hepburn. In this outing, Tracey plays Grant Matthews, a famous aircraft tycoon courted by the Republican Party to become their candidate for President of the United States. The film's title, in addition to referring to the country, is also a metaphor for Matthews' relationship with his wife, Mary (Hepburn). The two are having marital problems sparked by Matthews' affair with a newspaper heir Kay Thorndyke (played by a 22-year-old Angela Lansbury convincingly portraying a woman in her forties).

Once the campaign is underway, the classic theme of a good man sacrificing his ideals in order to win begins to surface. Matthews' speeches are reworked as to not offend any big political establishments (e.g. big business, labor, agriculture, etc.), and soon he begins to loose his own voice along with his identity. Finally, in the film's climax, Matthews is forced to choose between a certain nomination for the presidency or a wife who represents his true character.

Incidentally, for a movie centered on a republican character, State of the Union does not focus on a conventional conservative theme, nor does it only target liberals. The film ribs big business, `the American Dream is not about making money,' in addition to labor. And even though Harry S Truman is the subject of several quips, he was said to have really enjoyed the film, often playing it on his presidential yacht.

At the box office, State of the Union performed better in smaller outlets than large markets. It premiered at New York's Radio City Music Hall to a opening week of $137,000, `this is a bit under hopes, especially in view of intensive advance campaign and strong reviews,' reported Varitey. In Los Angeles, the film opened at No. 1 with $52,000 but `not a smash.' Though in markets such as Minneapolis, Kansas City and Seattle, the film pulled big numbers. Overall the film was a success, but it did not match the box office bounty of Capra's earlier films including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or the other Tracey/Hepburn parings for that matter (e.g. Adam's Rib, Pat & Mike, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner).

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