Down 185,876 this week

A Failure at Fifty (1940)

Approved  |   |  Short  |  1 July 1940 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.8/10 from 35 users  
Reviews: 2 user

The story of Abraham Lincoln's 30-year struggle of persistence-through-failure is told to an unemployed 50 year old man.



(screenplay), (story)
0Check in

Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 320 titles
created 01 Jan 2013

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: A Failure at Fifty (1940)

A Failure at Fifty (1940) on IMDb 5.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of A Failure at Fifty.

User Polls



Complete credited cast:
Edmund Glover ...
Ann Rutledge (as Bebe Anderson)
Truman Bradley ...
Lincoln's Friend
Carey Wilson ...
Narrator (voice)


An unemployed man, apparently a failure at age fifty, peers into a lake, considering his fate. A mysterious stranger comes up and tells him a story of a 'John Jones', and his dark 30 years of hard struggle through life to age 50. This man too was an apparent 'failure at fifty'. He was so depressed at one dark stage of his life, that this man said in his own words: "At this period of my life, I never dared to carry a pocket knife." His own friends feared for his very sanity. But then within two years he was elected President. This man was Abraham Lincoln. Suddenly the mysterious stranger is gone, but the unemployed man realizes Lincoln's philosophy: "God must have loved the common people, because he made so many of them." Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mgm miniature | See All (1) »




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 July 1940 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Passing Parade
29 August 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Failure at Fifty, A (1940)

*** (out of 4)

Winning entry in the Passing Parade series has a fifty-year-old man, broke and hungry, about to kill himself when a man stops him and tells him the story of another man his age who went through decades of failure. This man started off poor, lost the woman he loved, went into debt, lost several Senate seats and all of this before finally becoming President. This of course is Abe Lincoln and this MGM short is a pretty good one and especially if you're a fan of the series. Once again there's a very dark tone running throughout the film and you won't be able not to think about IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE especially since it's an angel that stops the man from killing himself and teaches him why it's important to live. Character actor Edmund Glover plays Lincoln and does a pretty good job with the role even though he doesn't have any dialogue. The story itself is a pretty predictable one but it's still entertaining enough to make this worth sitting through. As usual Carey Wilson does a fine job narrating.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
TCM ParrJr
Discuss A Failure at Fifty (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: