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Meet John Doe (1941)

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 ... Henry
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:

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

Production Co:

Frank Capra Productions See more »
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

Frank Capra didn't want anyone to play John Doe except Gary Cooper, who agreed to the part (without reading a script) for two reasons: he had enjoyed working with Capra on Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and he wanted to work with Barbara Stanwyck. See more »

Goofs

During the montage showing John Doe Clubs gaining in popularity, closeups of a map are shown with flags being pinned up for every new club. At the end of the montage, the camera pulls back to show a map of the entire US. However, the final map has substantially fewer flags pinned to it than what was shown during the closeups. See more »

Quotes

Long John Willoughby: Hey, stop worryin', Colonel, fifty bucks ain't gonna ruin me.
The Colonel: I've seen plenty of fellas start out with fifty bucks and wind up with a *bank* account!
Beany: Hey, what's wrong with a bank account, anyway?
The Colonel: And let me tell you, Long John, when you become a guy with a bank account, they gotcha! Yes sir, they gotcha!
Beany: Who's got him?
The Colonel: The helots!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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


Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
WOW!!.....Again!
29 June 2000 | by wretchedhiveSee all my reviews

About 15 or twenty years ago MEET JOHN DOE aired on a saturday matinee program on the CBC. I watched it and absolutely loved it. In the ensuing two decades I have Studied Film History and the art of film making. I have debated Film Theory and criticisum with some of the country's most film-smart people and have worked extensively in the film industry. And very rarely through all of this was Meet John Doe mentioned. The other day I saw A copy of the film in a used video store, remembered it from my youth and promptly bought it. And after viewing it again I have to say it is definetly one of the finest motion-pictures I have ever seen. It has to be one of the most under-rated movies ever made. The social commentary exhibeted is one of the boldest that the medium has ever presented, especially considering the time it was made. A time when media propaganda was a driving force for home-shore morale at the beginning of WWII. Capra and langs techniques in this work are absoloutly astounding. The riot scene should be looked upon as ground breaking. The performances (both the lead and supporting) are among some of the finest and most endearing of the time. Needless to say I'm going to be toot this films horn for quite some time. (I think I'll go watch it again.)


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