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1939 American dramatic film, Oscar-nominated and winner for Original Story
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 American political comedy-drama film directed by Frank Capra, starring Jean Arthur and James Stewart, and featuring Claude Rains and Edward Arnold. The film is about a newly appointed United States Senator who fights against a corrupt political system, and was written by Sidney Buchman, based on Lewis R. Foster's unpublished story "The Gentleman from Montana". The film was controversial when it was first released, but was also successful at the box office, and made Stewart a major movie star.

Cast and Crew

Claude RainsSenator Joseph Harrison Paine
James StewartJefferson Smith

Video Products

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), 22 Feb 2000


Libertarian Movies & Films: The Top 25
List of 25 films considered "best of the best", includes general description, link to longer review page, content topics and review quotes
An ordinary American appointed to the Senate is nearly destroyed by a corrupt political machine, but triumphs in the end. ... 'A stirring and even inspiring testament to liberty and freedom, to simplicity and honesty and to the innate dignity of just the average man.' –New York Times
When the Left and Right Came Together To Applaud Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, by David T. Beito,, 23 Sep 2023
Contrasts the current American political conditions with those of 1939 when the title movie was made and received wide praise
Capra had consistently voted Republican in presidential elections ... His two main screenwriters were the openly leftist Sidney Buchman, who was also a secret Communist Party member, and Myles Connolly, a committed Catholic conservative ... It is significant that such ideological opposites as Capra, Buchman, and Connolly had cooperated so seamlessly to create this compelling salute to free speech. Praise for the film spanned the ideological gamut, including positive reviews in the communist Daily Worker and the redoubtably conservative Chicago Daily Tribune.
Related Topic: Freedom of Speech


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1938)
    by Jon Osborne, Miss Liberty's Guide to Film and Video, 2001
Think all hope for liberty is lost? Need some inspiration? This is the film to watch. This hero's quixotic battle of one against the ill-informed many is an image with which many libertarians will identify. ... The hero doesn't really understand these ideas well enough to identify what's gone wrong in Washington, but he does succeed at least in rooting out a thicket of political crookedness.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" as of 4 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.