American Madness

Watch American Madness

"The Great American Picture of Today!"
  • Passed
  • 1932
  • 1 hr 15 min
  • 7.4  (2,201)

American Madness is a 1932 drama film directed by Frank Capra and starring Walter Huston, Pat O'Brien, and Kay Johnson. The movie is set during the Great Depression and tells the story of a bank president, Thomas Dickson (Walter Huston), facing financial and moral crises. Dickson runs a small bank that serves the working class population of his city. His business is in trouble because of the economic depression and competition from a larger bank. The larger bank wants to take over his bank and eliminate the competition. Meanwhile, Thomas tries to keep his bank afloat while still keeping the trust of his customers and the community.

The movie opens with the bank's annual banquet where Thomas gives a speech about the importance of trust and unity. This speech sets the tone for the movie, which is all about the value of trust in banking and in society as a whole. Despite the difficult times and the pressure to merge with the larger bank, Thomas refuses to sacrifice his values and merge with a bank he doesn't trust.

Pat O'Brien plays the role of Matt Brown, the bank's security chief, who is also Thomas's friend and confidant. Brown is an ex-convict but is fiercely loyal to Thomas and the bank. He knows the workings of the criminal mind and is always on the lookout for possible bank robbers.

Kay Johnson is the actress who plays the role of Dickson's wife, Helen. She is not only supportive of her husband but also sympathetic to the plight of the bank customers. She goes out of her way to help those in need and is critical of the larger bank's impersonal attitude.

The movie takes a dramatic turn when a bank teller named Joe (Gavin Gordon) is suspected of stealing $100,000 from the bank. In the midst of the investigation and the public's loss of faith in the bank, a frenzied mob forms outside the bank, demanding their money back. Thomas and his staff must work together to control the crowd and regain their trust.

Throughout the movie, Capra uses a lot of symbolism to highlight the importance of trust and unity. For instance, when the mob forms outside the bank, Thomas orders his staff to turn on all the lights in the building, symbolizing the power of transparency and honesty.

Another notable scene is when Helen comforts a little girl who comes to the bank to deposit her savings. The little girl is the epitome of the American dream and believes in saving and hard work. Through her character and others, Capra underscores the importance of small banks in supporting the working class and how integral they are to America's economic future.

American Madness is one of those classic films that hold up well even after almost 90 years. The movie is a relatable reminder of how important it is to trust our institutions and each other during tough times. Capra's masterful direction, Walter Huston's outstanding performance, and a strong supporting cast make this movie a must-watch for lovers of classic cinema.

American Madness is a 1932 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 15 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.4.

American Madness
Where to Watch American Madness
American Madness is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent American Madness for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 15 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (2,201)