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The Last Hurrah (1958)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | November 1958 (USA)
3:07 | Trailer

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Frank Skeffington is an old Irish-American political boss, running for re-election as mayor of a U.S. town for the last time.



(screen play) (as Frank Nugent), (based upon the novel by)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Norman Cass, Sr.
Cardinal Martin Burke
Amos Force
Bishop Gardner
Charles J. Hennessey
Festus Garvey


An aging politician tries to get re-elected one last time in the changing world of the 1950s when TV started to play a bigger part in politics. Based loosely on the career of multi-term Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, this film examines the good and evil inherent in politics and all the things that go into an election. Tracy's uphill battle to stay in office is set against the political machinery that preyed on ethnic hatred and old-time money. Written by Ed Lorusso

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Big book! big cast! big picture! See more »


Comedy | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

November 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das letzte Hurra  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Orson Welles was John Ford's original choice to play Frank Skeffington but Welles either lost or refused the part after Ward Bond, a Ford friend and an ultra-conservative Republican, publicly questioned Welles' loyalty to the US, as Welles was well-known as a progressive Democrat. Ford was furious at Bond, since Welles and Ford were fans of each other's work. See more »


Episcopal Bishop Gardner is seen wearing a black shirt with his clerical collar. The traditional color for a bishop is purple. See more »


Roger Sugrue: [standing by Skeffington's bed] Well, at least he made his peace with God. There's one thing we all can be sure of - if he had it to do over again, there's no doubt in the world he would do it very, very differently.
Mayor Frank Skeffington: [opening his eyes] Like hell I would.
See more »


Referenced in AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to John Ford (1973) See more »


My Pony Boy
Written by Bobby Heath and Charley O'Donnell
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User Reviews

A bit of a whitewash, but still a great movie
25 March 2001 | by See all my reviews

This movie was based on the novel of the same name by Edwin O'Connor, which in turn was inspired by the career of the colorful 4-time Mayor of Boston (and sometime Governor of Massachusetts and U. S. Congressman) James Michael Curley. Curley, although remembered today as a lovable rogue and a flamboyant old-time politician who made the voice of Boston's despised Irish heard in the halls of power, basically ran Boston into the ground during his tenure as mayor, destroying the city's credit rating, and dividing its people by appealing to old-time Irish-American fears and prejudices.

But, as far as this movie is concerned, that's neither here nor there. Spencer Tracy is outstanding as the mayor (in my opinion, only James Stewart was a better actor among the leading men of the Hollywood studio era) and the supporting players are superb, notably Pat O'Brien, Donald Crisp, Basil Rathbone, John Carradine, Jane Darwell and especially O.Z. Whitehead, who is brilliantly cast in a small role as the featherbrained son of a crusty Yankee banker. Also noteworthy are the usual patriotic and sentimental touches of director-producer John Ford.

What ever your political opinions may be, this is an outstanding look at old-time politics as it begins to give way to the era of mass media.

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