Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

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"Romance, drama, laughter and heartbreak... created out of the very heart and soil of America!"
  • Passed
  • 1939
  • 2 hr 9 min
  • 8.1  (119,810)
  • 73

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 political drama film directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, and Claude Rains. The movie is set in Washington D.C. and follows the story of an idealistic and naïve young man called Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), who is appointed as a U.S senator by the governor of his state.

Jefferson Smith is initially overwhelmed by the glamour and power surrounding Washington D.C. However, as he quickly learns, the political world and the machine behind it are corrupt and entrenched. He discovers that his proposed bill to create a national boys' camp has been replaced with a bill to build a dam in his home state that will serve the interests of corrupt officials instead of the common people. Smith decides to take on the corrupt organization and fights a lone battle to reveal the truth, all the while facing intimidation, defamation and a malicious smear campaign.

Jean Arthur plays Saunders, a Washington journalist who is initially skeptical of Smith but eventually becomes his ally and helps him navigate the labyrinth of political intrigues. Claude Raines plays the cynical and manipulative senior senator Joseph Paine, who initially promotes Smith as his protégé, but then turns against him in order to protect his personal interests.

The movie portrays the clash between the idealistic values of the American democracy and the reality of political corruption. It shows an individual in a position of power who is committed to fighting for the people, even against huge odds. The movie, while a work of fiction, is an examination of the American political system of the time and the potential for abuse of power.

The film’s themes, as well as its cast and direction, made it an immensely popular and influential movie when it first premiered in 1939. Its release was particularly timely as it highlighted the corrupt nature of power at a time when the world was on the brink of World War II, and democracy was constantly challenged.

The performances of the three lead actors, particularly James Stewart’s portrayal of Jefferson Smith, were critically acclaimed. Stewart’s honest, sincere, and passionate performance was praised by critics and audiences alike. It also cemented his status as a leading Hollywood actor, for which he went on to earn a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

The movie's popularity led to it being widely showcased in schools, universities, and political organizations in subsequent decades. The concept of a lone hero fighting against the corrupt political machine has become a classic archetype in American politics, and the movie is frequently cited as an inspiration for those wishing to make a difference in the world.

Overall, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a timeless classic and an insightful megaphone for disturbing issues that are still very much relevant today.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is a 1939 comedy with a runtime of 2 hours and 9 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.1 and a MetaScore of 73.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
Where to Watch Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Mr. Smith Goes To Washington for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 9 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.1  (119,810)
  • Metascore