Mr. Smith Goes To Washington 1939

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(28) IMDb 8.3/10
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Frank Capra's classic comedy-drama established James Stewart as a lead actor in one of his finest (and most archetypal) roles. The film opens as a succession of reporters shout into telephones announcing the death of Senator Samuel Foley. Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), the state's senior senator, puts in a call to Governor Hubert Happy Hopper (Guy Kibbee) reporting the news.

Starring:
Guy Kibbee,James Stewart
Runtime:
2 hours, 10 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Frank Capra
Starring Guy Kibbee, James Stewart
Supporting actors Thomas Mitchell, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur, Beulah Bondi, Edward Arnold
Studio Sony Pictures International
BBFC rating Universal, suitable for all
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Budge Burgess on 29 Nov. 2005
Format: DVD
James Stewart plays a decent, honest guy who is pressed into service as a replacement for a dead politician. He is, it is assumed, a gullible nonentity who will dance to whatever tune the political machine demands. Stewart, of course, soon loses his naivety and stands up for himself and the people he represents.
Frank Capra's compelling attack on corruption and the abuse of political power was based on a novel, 'The Gentleman from Montana', and was made at a time (1939) when democracy and freedom of expression were under attack in Europe. Capra was clearly impressed by the symbolism of Washington - numerous scenes in the film portray the statues, memorials, the Capitol, images of revolution, independence and the myths / legends of 1776, the signing of the constitution, even a child quoting Lincoln's 'Gettysburg Address' and its allusion to emancipation.
But Capra was also aware that Washington is a compromise city with a counterfeit history - the US capital was moved from Philadelphia, and Washington (little more than a swamp) was chosen as the site for the new capital as a compromise to appease northern and southern political blocs. Capra, throughout the film, plays with this contrast between image and substance, between the solidity of the institutions and the fragility of the liberties they are supposed to uphold.
Capra has ideals and values - decency, honesty, humanity, politeness, compassion, truth, respect. He doesn't analyse these as cold philosophical or political themes - he dramatises them for the ordinary people who flocked to see his films. The portrayal can be sentimental, simple, simplistic even, aimed at emotional rather than cerebral appeal, but his ideals and values are no less genuine and no less valid for that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kristina Suder on 3 Oct. 2011
Format: DVD
If you like James Stewart this is a must. His picturing of a dedicated politician is classic and it becomes a dream come true of how you wish a politician actually would be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Colonel Decker on 19 April 2014
Format: DVD
One of the great films of all times and certainly of the 1930s, deals with a nervy inexperienced Stewart who has been thrust into the senators seat because he is seen to be a little dopey and will keep out of harms way of 'real politics'. His suitors get more than they bargained for though, when Stewart shows a real love for his job, and turns out to be a poltician who wants to make a difference. Outstanding performances all round in this wonderful bold attempt at Americana and poltics in general. It is even able to dedictae a whole segment on American patrionism and get away with it.

Only fault could be its running time at just over two hours, but the script and acting are too compelling to complain about that.

A genuine classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By irokie on 19 Jun. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent film highlighting how the political process can be manipulated. It is rightly cited as inspiration for several generations worth of political drama. However, because of this, new viewers will be familiar with the story as presented here, and the simplicity of it may be a put-off when compared to more complex, modern political dramas. Still, highly enjoyable, and James Stewart is fantastic as always.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Feb. 2001
Format: DVD
Mr Smith Goes To Washington is one of the all time greats of American cinema. Funny, heartfelt and critical of American democracy this is one of the greatest movies made about politics and the common man.
When a Senator dies the people of a small state in America decide to send the naive Mr Smith to congress in the hope that he will be an easy puppet for big business in the area. Jimmy Stewart's Oscar nominated portrayal as Mr Smith is both eloquent and passionate as he tries to fight the corruption in American politics. In the famous 'fillibuster' scene and the ultimate finale director Frank Capra shows the audience what it is to be a true hero against impossible odds as Mr Smith fights on with the cause he so dearly cherishes.
With a fine central performance from Stewart, and an excellent supporting cast of some of Hollywoods most recognisable faces, this is a must for fans of such movies as Mr Deeds Goes To Town, It's A Wonderful Life and It Happened One Night.
A film for all Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart fans, this is a true American classic and ranks as one of the greatest movies of all time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Blu Ray Collector on 12 Jan. 2015
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The Film, We all know is 5 star and the Blu-ray transfer is tremendous , with very interested booklet, It is region free
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
We found this heavy going at the beginning, bit too zany and old-fashioned, but then it really gets into its stride and, funnily enough, turns out to be quite prophetic. You could equally apply it to scandals and corruption going on in governments right now and, what we really need, is more good men like Mr Smith standing up to the huge government machine. Excellent film in every way.
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By Susla on 14 Nov. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
They just don't make movies like this anymore, too bad! Country boy gets used and duped by some hard-nosed politicians but stays rock solid through it all and in the end, prevails. Great acting.
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