7.7/10
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Meet John Doe (1941)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 3 May 1941 (USA)
A man needing money agrees to impersonate a nonexistent person who said he'd be committing suicide as a protest, and a political movement begins.

Director:

Writers:

(based on a story by), (based on a story by) (as Robert Presnell) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
The 'Colonel'
...
Mrs. Mitchell
...
Henry
...
Mayor Lovett
...
Ted Sheldon
...
...
Bert
...
'Sourpuss'
...
Angelface
...
Mayor Hawkins
Andrew Tombes ...
Spencer
...
Hammett
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Storyline

As a parting shot, fired reporter Ann Mitchell prints a fake letter from unemployed "John Doe," who threatens suicide in protest of social ills. The paper is forced to rehire Ann and hires John Willoughby to impersonate "Doe." Ann and her bosses cynically milk the story for all it's worth, until the made-up "John Doe" philosophy starts a whole political movement. At last everyone, even Ann, takes her creation seriously...but publisher D.B. Norton has a secret plan. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Frank Capra's Production for 1941 See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 May 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's 'Meet John Doe'  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contrary to popular belief, there is no "longer" version of this film. The film has always run 123 minutes. However, the original publicity erroneously stated it was 132 minutes; the publicist accidentally flipped the last two numbers. For years, historians assumed that all reissue prints had been cut by 9 minutes, until an original fine grain master was uncovered, and also turned out to run 123 minutes. This is the only running time for the film. See more »

Goofs

The collar of John Doe's coat is alternately up and down between shots when Ann is persuading him not to jump off the roof. See more »

Quotes

Mayor Hawkins: Why, Bert. I feel slighted. I'd like to join, but nobody asked me.
Sourpuss Smithers: I'm sorry, Mayor, but we voted that no politician could join.
Mrs. Hansen: Just the John Does of the neighborhood because you know how politicians are.
See more »


Soundtracks

SILENT NIGHT
(1818) (uncredited)
Written by Franz Gruber
Performed by Hall Johnson Choir
See more »

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User Reviews

Dark, Sweet and Powerful
27 February 2004 | by (USA) – See all my reviews



There's an Italianate "cinema verite" in Capra's work, perhaps genetic . . . I find this film so powerful, and its characters so sympathetic, that I can hardly watch the riot scene. It's almost too terrifying.

Cooper's performance at first seems wooden, but he's an actor whom you need to watch, like a pond, to see the emotions swimming beneath the surface. Barbara Stanwyck is one of my favorite actresses--she never makes a false move and is beautiful to watch from any angle.

I find some lines of dialogue chilling in this age of Patriot Acts I and II and corporate globalism/global corporatism: "The American people need an iron hand," declares D. B. Norton, whose sneer looks like Cheney's.


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