7.7/10
10,912
92 user 49 critic

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 »
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A simple, small town man inherits a massive fortune, making him the target for scammers and publicity-seekers. Overwhelmed by the turn his life has taken, and awoken to another use for his new-found fortune, he makes a momentous decision.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft
Ball of Fire (1941)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A group of professors working on a new encyclopedia encounter a mouthy nightclub singer who is wanted by the police to help bring down her mob boss lover.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A gangster tries to make Apple Annie, the Times Square apple seller, a lady for a day.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Warren William, May Robson, Guy Kibbee
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man from a family of rich snobs becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An industrialist is urged to run for President, but this requires uncomfortable compromises on both political and marital levels.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Van Johnson
Sergeant York (1941)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A marksman is drafted in World War I and ends up becoming one of the most celebrated war heroes.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A Chinese warlord and an engaged Christian missionary fall in love.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Nils Asther, Toshia Mori
Lost Horizon (1937)
Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A plane crash delivers a group of people to the secluded land of Shangri-La - but is it the miraculous utopia it appears to be?

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton
The Lady Eve (1941)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A trio of classy card sharks targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, until one of them falls in love with him.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A man is reunited with his childhood friend and her husband, who believe he knows the truth about the death of her rich aunt years earlier.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A shoplifter and her prosecutor fall in love, creating tensions for his career and family.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi
Edit

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:

Produced at the Studios of WARNER BROS. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The original copyright was apparently never renewed, and the film fell into public domain, with the result that a multitude of low cost, low quality, VHS and dupes flooded the videotape market, and were broadcast by independent cable and television stations who did not have access to the original material. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Pop Dwyer - Connell's Aide: Show me an American that can keep his mouth shut and I'll eat him.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Featured in Grey's Anatomy: Freedom: Part 1 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by all at a party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Capra and Riskin at their best
26 December 2000 | by cealsSee all my reviews

There is so much to recommend this film, especially in repeat viewings. I'll try to touch on things rarely mentioned. The opening credit montage that ends with a solitary newborn in a hospital ward speaks volumes, as does the opening scene: the jackhammering of the old Bulletin cornerstone. The dream that Long John tells Ann about, in which he plays a dual role, is a warm and economic device for letting us know about what he feels for her and why she could go for her. The near-monologue of Bert, the "soda jerker," is as masterful in its sustained understatement as the small-town mayor's bumbling is hilarious. All of Capra's sound films starting with "American Madness" employ an effective, trademark montage, but "Meet John Doe" overflows with three. The Colonel's joyous Three Little Pigs dance inside the freight car to the rhythm of the rails is joyous. The Jesus metaphor throughout becomes heavyhanded at the very end but is saved by the dead-on final line about "the people." Finally, the movie succeeds not just because of its attributes that can carry over to other forms of art such as books or plays, but also because it is a uniquely cinematic experience.


25 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 92 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed