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Courageous Mr. Penn (1942)

Penn of Pennsylvania (original title)
Approved | | Drama | 26 January 1942 (UK)
William Penn's heroic deeds, on the European and American continents, are told in this portrait of the founding father of both the Quakers and the Pennsylvania colony. Based on C.E. Vulliamy's biography "William Penn."


Lance Comfort


Anatole de Grunwald (original story and screenplay) (as Anatole deGrunwald), C.E. Vulliamy (with acknowledgements to "William Penn")


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Clifford Evans ... William Penn
Deborah Kerr ... Gulielma
Dennis Arundell ... Charles II
Aubrey Mallalieu Aubrey Mallalieu ... King's Chaplain
D.J. Williams D.J. Williams ... Lord Arlington
O.B. Clarence ... Lord Cecil
James Harcourt James Harcourt ... Fox
Charles Carson ... Admiral Penn
Henry Oscar ... Pepys
Max Adrian ... Elton
John Stuart ... Bindle
Maire O'Neill Maire O'Neill ... Cook
Edward Rigby ... Bushell
Joss Ambler Joss Ambler ... Lord Mayor of London
J.H. Roberts ... Ford


William Penn's heroic deeds, on the European and American continents, are told in this portrait of the founding father of both the Quakers and the Pennsylvania colony. Based on C.E. Vulliamy's biography "William Penn."

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 January 1942 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Courageous Mr. Penn See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

British National Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecasts of this film occurred in New York City Thursday 5 February 1948 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Baltimore Sunday 15 February 1948 on WMAR (Channel 2), in Los Angeles Sunday 25 April 1948 on KTLA (Channel 5), in Detroit Sunday 16 May 1948 on WWJ (Channel 4), in Chicago Saturday 3 July 1948 on WGN (Channel 9), in St. Louis Tuesday 17 August 1948 on KSD (Channel 5), in Philadelphia Sunday 3 October 1948 on WCAU (Channel 10), in Boston Sunday 10 October 1948 on WBZ (Channel 4), and in Atlanta Thursday 25 November 1948 on WSB (Channel 8). See more »


In the film, William Penn says he will sign a treaty with the Algonquin Indians. Penn's Treaty was with the Lenape (sometimes called the "Delaware"). See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: LONDON 1667) See more »

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User Reviews

Lumbering costumer
25 June 2000 | by BrianGSee all my reviews

This is a slow-moving, stodgy, badly-photographed tale of William Penn and his journey from being a member of the upper class in England to his founding of the state of Pennsylvania in the U.S. The movie suffers from the pomposity that afflicted many British epics of the period. The hero is written as an absolute saint (you expect to see a halo around his head and hear a heavenly choir in the background), the secondary characters are completely uninteresting, and once Penn lands in the "new world", the film becomes almost laughable. The "Indians", for example, are dressed like and act like the kinds of Indians you see in westerns. The only thing wrong with that is that Pennsylvania is in the eastern U.S., not the west, and the dozens of tribes there have absolutely nothing in common--culturally, linguistically, ethnically, or in any other way--with what are known as the Plains Indians of the west, a fact that apparently the filmakers either didn't know or ignored.

The film is as slow as molasses, the photography is so dark at times you can barely see anything, the sound is tinny, and the acting is very much of the "old school" type--a lot of flaring nostrils, arched eyebrows, etc. William Penn was a fascinating man, and his life story could make a good movie, but this one isn't it.

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