Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Rated NR 125 minutes 1939

"Boy Ranger" leader Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), appointed junior senator, battles corrupt senior senator Claude Rains and protofascist industrialist/media magnate Edward Arnold in Frank Capra's 1939 vindication of simple virtues and barefoot American democracy. Capra's films in the 30s—the screwball comedies that he nearly single-handedly created—reconciled the irreconcilable; bridged the rural/urban divide; showed love, decency, and neighborliness ascendant; and demonstrated conclusively that America was a land of perfect unity where all social classes were one. Capra's populist heroes—Longfellow Deeds, Jefferson Smith, John Doe—deflated pomposity at home and defeated the shadowy undemocratic forces threatening the globe. This is classic Capracorn, with the greatest girl cynic of the 30s, Jean Arthur.

Film Credits

Director: Frank Capra

Writer: Lewis Foster and Sidney Buchman

Producer: Frank Capra

Cast: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, H.B. Warner, Harry Carey, Astrid Allwyn, Ruth Donnelly, Grant Mitchell, Porter Hall, Pierre Watkin, Charles Lane, William Demarest, Dick Elliott, Jack Carson, Joe King, Paul Stanton, Russell Simpson, Stanley Andrews, Walter Soderling, Vera Lewis and Dora Clement

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