7.7/10
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87 user 47 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:

Writers:

(based on a story by), (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:
... John Doe
... Ann Mitchell
... D.B. Norton
... The 'Colonel'
... Mrs. Mitchell
... Henry
... Mayor Lovett
... Ted Sheldon
... Beany
... Bert
... 'Sourpuss'
... Angelface
... Mayor Hawkins
... Spencer
... 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:

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:

Language:

Release Date:

3 May 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's 'Meet John Doe'  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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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

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

The Colonel: I've seen guys like you before. Guys that never had to worry. Then they get a hold of some dough and go goofy.
See more »

Connections

References Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) 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

 
Pollyanna eh?
9 April 1999 | by See all my reviews

This film offers a standing rebuke to critics who use the term "Capracorn". None of Capra's films are as blindly optimistic as is often argued, but this one is a pitch-black jeremiad against manipulation by the media. The mob scene at the "John Doe" convention is one of the powerful scenes ever filmed. Stanwyck is incredible as reporter Anne Mitchell. She is one of the great actresses of the century, and she always did her best work Capra, whose female characters are generally more compelling to the women we get in the movies of our "liberated" era. Cooper is fantastic as a truly "average" guy who is "awakened" by his experience with the John Doe movement, and Edward Arnold is absolutely terrifying in the role of Fascist D.B. Norton. This film is even more relevant today than when it was made, and I would argue that it should be viewed in high schools across the continent. Capra is asking his viewers to think critically of EVERYTHING they hear on the radio or see in papers or hear from elites, and amen to that!


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