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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 19 October 1939 (USA)
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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)
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Popularity
1,889 ( 4,142)
Top Rated Movies #152 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 12 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:

Capra's Greatest Hit --- The Screen At Its Most Inspired! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$9,600,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The screenplay was originally purchased by Columbia as a vehicle for Ralph Bellamy, with Harold Wilson slated to produce. Once Frank Capra became the director, the project, planned as a sequel to Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), was entitled "Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington", and was to star Gary Cooper, reprising his role as Longfellow Deeds. Cooper was unavailable for the role, however, and James Stewart was borrowed from MGM. "I knew he would make a hell of a Mr. Smith," Capra said. "He looked like the country kid, the idealist. It was very close to him." See more »

Goofs

(at around 30 mins) Twice, Saunders says that Jefferson Smith is going to go "up" to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. Mt. Vernon is approximately 15 miles south of the Capitol in Washington [you can check that using Google maps], and is right on the Potomac River downstream from Washington, so it is not "up" in a north-south sense nor in the sense of elevation. The script should have had Saunders saying that Smith was going "down" to Mt. Vernon, which is how anyone living or working in Washington would have put it. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Clarissa Saunders: [shouts] Yippee!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Gamera (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Sung at the banquet by the senators
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Keep an eye on Jean Arthur!
5 January 1999 | by dm-8See all my reviews

Besides a brilliantly written story, and brilliant acting by James Stewart, there is one element of this movie that can't be overlooked: Jean Arthur's acting.

With her voice and facial expressions, she pulls you through the storyline. The movie may be about Mr. Smith (Stewart), but much of it is seen through Saunder's (Arthur's) eyes. When she falls in love with Smith, we can't help but do it too.

This is Capra's opus, and contains not one, but two of the best acting performances I've ever seen.


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