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Meet John Doe (1941)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 3 May 1941 (USA)
A man needing money agrees to impersonate a nonexistent 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 ... John Doe
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
Edit

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:

ALL AMERICA WANTS TO MEET THE "MR. DEEDS" OF 1941! (original print media ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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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

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Director Frank Capra tested the film in different areas of the US with four different endings to determine which one to keep. In one, John Willoughby commits suicide. In another, Ann Mitchell persuades him not to leap from City Hall. Inspired by a letter signed "John Doe," Capra filmed a fifth and final ending in which Mitchell talks some sense into Willoughby and then faints into his arms. See more »

Goofs

John Doe is referred to several times by other characters as Young Man, but Gary Cooper was pushing 40 (far from a young man) when this movie was released. So, you have to wonder if the role was not created with a younger actor in mind. See more »

Quotes

Long John Willoughby: I'm gonna talk about us - the average guys, the John Does. If anybody should ask you what the average John Doe is like, you couldn't tell him because he's a million and one things. He's Mr. Big and Mr. Small, he's simple and he's wise, he's inherently honest but he's got a streak of larceny in his heart. He seldom walks up to a public telephone without shovin' his finger into the slot to see if somebody left a nickel there. He's the man the ads are written for. He's the fella everybody sells ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in Bates Motel: The Box (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

California, Here I Come
(1921) (uncredited)
Written by Buddy G. DeSylva and Joseph Meyer
Played in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wonderful!!!~
9 January 2000 | by Elizabeth-328See all my reviews

This is a great movie. Gary Cooper is wonderful as John. At first, he does it for the money, but then, he feels bad because some people really have faith in him, and trust him. He feels guilty about being a fake. My favorite part is when he says:

"The John Doe idea may be the answer though! It may be the one thing capable of saving this cockeyed world. Yet you sit back there on your fat hulks and tell me you'll kill it if you can't use it. Well you go ahead and try, you couldn't do it in a million years with all your radio stations and all your power. Because it's bigger than whether I'm a fake, it's bigger than your ambitions and it's bigger than all the bracelets and fur coats in the world!"

I also think Barbara Stanwyck gives a wonderful performance as Ann. I love it when he's standing on the building, threatening to jump, and she tells him that she loves him, and the world does too, and they'll forgive him for lying. I cried so much!

I first saw this movie on Christmas Eve and I loved it. I guarantee it will be a tradition for many Christmases to come!


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