A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director:

Frank Capra

Writers:

Sidney Buchman (screen play), Lewis R. Foster (story)
Top Rated Movies #205 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Arthur ... Saunders
James Stewart ... Jefferson Smith
Claude Rains ... Senator Joseph Paine
Edward Arnold ... Jim Taylor
Guy Kibbee ... Governor Hopper
Thomas Mitchell ... Diz Moore
Eugene Pallette ... Chick McGann
Beulah Bondi ... Ma Smith
H.B. Warner ... Senate Majority Leader
Harry Carey ... President of the Senate
Astrid Allwyn ... Susan Paine
Ruth Donnelly ... Mrs. Hopper
Grant Mitchell ... Senator MacPherson
Porter Hall ... Senator Monroe
H.V. Kaltenborn H.V. Kaltenborn ... H.V. Kaltenborn
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Storyline

Naive and idealistic Jefferson Smith, leader of the Boy Rangers, is appointed on a lark by the spineless governor of his state. He is reunited with the state's senior senator--presidential hopeful and childhood hero, Senator Joseph Paine. In Washington, however, Smith discovers many of the shortcomings of the political process as his earnest goal of a national boys' camp leads to a conflict with the state political boss, Jim Taylor. Taylor first tries to corrupt Smith and then later attempts to destroy Smith through a scandal. Written by James Yu <jamestyu@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Romance, drama, laughter and heartbreak ... created out of the very heart and soil of America ... by a great director and cast! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Walker played Senator Dwight in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and Sheriff in It's a Wonderful Life (1946). See more »

Goofs

(About 45 mins) Smith and Susan Paine have a conversation wherein Smith's hat, held in his hand, is the camera's sole focus for about 30 seconds - at the expense of the characters conversing. And yet when Smith leaves the room, he is without hat, and the hat is nowhere to be seen. See more »

Quotes

James Taylor: A Boy Ranger? A squirrel chaser to the United States Senate?
Governor Hopper: Listen, Jim, a simpleton of all times. A big eyed baby. Knows Lincoln and Washington by heart. Stands at attention in the Governor's presence. He even collects stray boys and cats.
James Taylor: He does what?
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Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played at the banquet for Jefferson Smith
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User Reviews

 
A 40ft Dive into a Tub of Water...
27 September 2020 | by XstalSee all my reviews

Accomplished, honest and heartfelt, this will reinspire you to believe in the goodness of people even though the messages conveyed by those in power these days suggest anything but. James Stewart plays the innocence and naivety required for the role to perfection while you can genuinely believe that Jean Arthur has actually fallen for him for real. The great Claude Reins fills the boots of the corrupt senator with aplomb while Edward Arnold reminds us of a few of his type that are still around today. Probably the best film you'll ever see with the most mundane of titles.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 October 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,900,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$83,205, 14 October 2018

Gross USA:

$144,738

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$144,738
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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