A man needing money agrees to impersonate a non-existent person who said he'd be committing suicide as a protest, and a political movement begins.

Director:

Frank Capra

Writers:

Richard Connell (based on a story by), Robert Presnell Sr. (based on a story by) (as Robert Presnell) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cooper ... 'Long John' Willoughby
Barbara Stanwyck ... Ann Mitchell
Edward Arnold ... D.B. Norton
Walter Brennan ... The 'Colonel'
Spring Byington ... Mrs. Mitchell
James Gleason ... Connell
Gene Lockhart ... Mayor Lovett
Rod La Rocque ... Ted Sheldon
Irving Bacon ... Beany
Regis Toomey ... Bert
J. Farrell MacDonald ... 'Sourpuss'
Warren Hymer ... Angelface
Harry Holman ... Mayor Hawkins
Andrew Tombes ... Spencer
Pierre Watkin ... Hammett
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Storyline

As a parting shot, fired reporter Ann Mitchell prints a fake letter from unemployed "John Doe," who threatens suicide in protest of social ills. The paper is forced to rehire Ann and hires John Willoughby to impersonate "Doe." Ann and her bosses cynically milk the story for all it's worth, until the made-up "John Doe" philosophy starts a whole political movement. At last everyone, even Ann, takes her creation seriously...but publisher D.B. Norton has a secret plan. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Frank Capra's Production for 1941 See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Regis Toomey had already memorized his monologue about the John Doe Clubs for his audition, so the day he was supposed to shoot it, Frank Capra asked if he needed a rehearsal. Toomey didn't, so they shot the scene in one take. See more »

Goofs

When the Governor sits, the ear piece of his glasses changes position between shots. See more »

Quotes

Henry Connel: Lighthouses, John. Lighthouses in a foggy world.
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Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer-colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II: Mind-Sifter (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)
(uncredited)
Music from "God Save the King!" 1744
Written by Henry Carey
Played in the score
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User Reviews

Dark, Sweet and Powerful
27 February 2004 | by LaDonnaKeskesSee all my reviews

There's an Italianate "cinema verite" in Capra's work, perhaps genetic . . . I find this film so powerful, and its characters so sympathetic, that I can hardly watch the riot scene. It's almost too terrifying.

Cooper's performance at first seems wooden, but he's an actor whom you need to watch, like a pond, to see the emotions swimming beneath the surface. Barbara Stanwyck is one of my favorite actresses--she never makes a false move and is beautiful to watch from any angle.

I find some lines of dialogue chilling in this age of Patriot Acts I and II and corporate globalism/global corporatism: "The American people need an iron hand," declares D. B. Norton, whose sneer looks like Cheney's.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 May 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's 'Meet John Doe' See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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