7.6/10
7,248
160 user 67 critic

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

Passed | | Biography, Drama, History | 9 June 1939 (USA)
A fictionalized account of the early life of the American president as a young lawyer facing his greatest court case.

Director:

John Ford

Writer:

Lamar Trotti (original screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Henry Fonda ... Abraham Lincoln
Alice Brady ... Abigail Clay
Marjorie Weaver ... Mary Todd
Arleen Whelan ... Sarah Clay
Eddie Collins ... Efe Turner
Pauline Moore ... Ann Rutledge
Richard Cromwell ... Matt Clay
Donald Meek ... Prosecutor John Felder
Judith Dickens Judith Dickens ... Carrie Sue
Eddie Quillan ... Adam Clay
Spencer Charters ... Judge Herbert A. Bell
Ward Bond ... John Palmer Cass
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Storyline

Ten years in the life of Abraham Lincoln, before he became known to his nation and the world. He moves from a Kentucky cabin to Springfield, Illinois, to begin his law practice. He defends two men accused of murder in a political brawl, suffers the death of his girlfriend Ann, courts his future wife Mary Todd, and agrees to go into politics. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of Abraham Lincoln that has NEVER been told!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

(Possibly intentional) The 'Almanac Trial' took place in 1858, not in 1837 as is implied in this movie. See more »

Quotes

Prosecutor John Felder: I shall prove that they were under the influence of an alcoholic beverage at the time.
Sam Boone: Hic!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Directed by John Ford (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe (circa 1856)
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe (1862)
Played at the end and sung by an unidentified chorus
See more »

User Reviews

 
YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (John Ford, 1939) ***1/2
6 May 2006 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This film was not only one of John Ford's own personal favorites but also numbered directors Sergei M. Eisenstein and Bertrand Tavernier among its high-profile admirers. Ironically, I've just caught up with it myself via Criterion's recent 2-Disc Set after missing out on a couple of original language screenings of it on Italian TV many years ago and again a few times on TV while in Hollywood!

The film marked Ford's first of nine collaborations with Henry Fonda and is also a quintessential example of Ford's folksy Americana vein. A beautifully made and pictorially quite poetic piece of work, the courtroom sequences (and eventual revelation) in its second half still pack quite a wallop, apart from giving stalwart character actor Donald Meek a memorably meaty role as the prosecuting attorney.

Fonda is, of course, perfectly cast as a bashful, inexperienced but rigorous and humanistic lawyer who was destined to become President; Fonda would go on to portray other fictitious politicians on film - most notably in Franklin J. Schaffner's THE BEST MAN (1964) and Sidney Lumet's FAIL-SAFE (1964) - and it's surprising now to learn that he was reluctant at the time about accepting the role of Lincoln since, in his view, that was "like playing God"!

It is interesting to note here that Ford had previously tackled Abraham Lincoln (tangentially) in THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND (1936), a superb but perhaps little-known gem which has, luckily, just been released as a Special Edition DVD by the UK's veritable Criterion stand-in, Eureka's "Masters Of Cinema" label. Besides, I also have two more Abraham Lincoln films in my DVD collection which I've yet to watch and, incidentally, both were directed by D. W. Griffith - THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) and ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1930) - and, had I not just received a bunch of films I've never watched before just now, I would have gladly given them a spin based on my highly-satisfying viewing experience with YOUNG MR. LINCOLN.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 June 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Young Mr. Lincoln See more »

Filming Locations:

Sacramento, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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