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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

James Stewart , Jean Arthur , Frank Capra  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (363 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee
  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Writers: Lewis R. Foster, Myles Connolly, Sidney Buchman
  • Producers: Frank Capra
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Thai
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2000
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (363 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003L9CJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,271 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Retrospective Featurette: Frank Capra Jr. Remembers ... Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
  • Vintage Advertising
  • Bonus Trailers

Editorial Reviews

Jean Arthur, James Stewart and Claude Rains star in Frank Capra's MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, theaward-winning 1939 classic about an idealistic, small town senator who heads to Washington and suddenly finds himself single-handedly battling ruthless politicans out to destroy him. When Frank Capra decided to film the novel "The Gentleman From Montana", he ran into an obstacle Director Rouben Mamoulian owned the rights to the story. Unwilling to sell, Mamoulian eventually traded the material to Columbia on the condition that he be allowed to direct Golden Boy. As Capra began working on the film, now called MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, it was suggested that Gary Copper, the star of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, take the lead. Capra selected Jimmy Stewart instead and the film solidified Stewart's movie career, garnering him his first Academy Award(r) nomination. Receiving a total of eleven 1939 Oscar(r) nominations (including Best Picture and Best Director), and winning one (Best Motion Pictur

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Movie, Properly Restored December 9, 2000
Format:DVD
MR.SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON is one of the greatest classic of american cinema. Jimmy Stewart is wonderful, Capra's direction is so great. The sory may sound a bit naive, but the emotion of the film so great can overcome this very naiveness and turns into a powerful, truthful idealism. Hollywood then could do that, not today, and I really don't understand why.
I just would like to add one fact to praise this DVD, and encourage everybody who visits this page to buy it, even if they have seen the movie; in many cases, great polular classics are oftenly viewed on poor prints and video masters, because of the very popularity of the film, the prints and negatives tend to get damged. overused, often replaced with inferior film elements. Thus, a great classic for everybody becomes a great film that one's grandpa talked about, and would really look that old.
That is why a special notice should be given to this DVD, because The Library of Congress did a wonderful job rescuing and restoring the film. The trasnfer is from their restored print, which they worked out of the original camera negative. Some parts of the negative were also damged, but they succeeded in replacing them with film elements that are not apparently inferior. The result is, a sharper, detailed look that we have been unable to see for over 4 or 5 decades.
These film archive people are doing a wonderful and important job. Restoring a film is not an easy job, and certainly is not cheap. That why these DVDs are so important, so that you can understand the importance of what they are doing.
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95 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jimmy Stewart's Finest Performance in Capra Gem! March 22, 2000
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a timeless, brilliant parable of Good Vs. Evil, played out in the U.S. Senate. Good is represented by Jimmy Stewart, in the film he SHOULD have won an Oscar for (MGM, trying to bolster 'Goodbye, Mr. Chips' at the box office, influenced it's Academy members to award Robert Donat with the statue; the following year, Stewart appeared in 'The Philadelphia Story', for MGM, and won Best Actor!). He is magnificent as Jefferson Smith, an idealistic youth leader, who is offered up as an innocent and gullible replacement for a Senate vacancy. Evil is personified by Claude Rains, as the suave and corrupt senior Senator, and Edward Arnold, brilliant as a ruthless party boss.
In many ways, 'Smith' is cut from the same cloth as Capra's earlier masterpiece, 'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town', and both films costar the radiant Jean Arthur, here cast as Smith's secretary. She is an old hand at understanding political wheelings and dealings, and at first, she considers her new boss a total idiot! But Smith's integrity wins her over, and with the help of reporter Thomas Mitchell (1939's busiest actor!), the three manage to outlast the forces of Evil, in the most rousing filabuster Hollywood has ever filmed!
Two supporting characters deserve special attention; Harry Carey, one of Hollywood's most beloved Western stars, plays a warm, sympathetic Vice President, in a small but very crucial role; and Beulah Bondi is terrific as Stewart's mother (she would play his mother again in the Capra/Stewart classic 'It's A Wonderful Life').
The new DVD edition offers the insights of Frank Capra, Jr., son of the legendary filmmaker, as well as trailers, vintage material, and a whole lot more!
If you've seen 'Mr.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
There are films that are purely formulaic and consequently redundant, and then there are select classics that seem to be inspired by the same formula but in a way that make them feel fresh every time you see them. Such is the case with legendary director Frank Capra's political 1939 masterwork, as he and veteran screenwriter Sidney Buchman tell the story of the underdog who must face seemingly impenetrable obstacles to achieve a greater good. Capra made his reputation on films which conveyed such unbridled idealism like his most famous work, 1946's It's A Wonderful Life, but I would argue that this one has a broader sense of resonance since it deals unflinchingly with the corrupted American political structure, a situation that has unfortunately changed little in the nearly seventy years since the film's original release.

A young James Stewart is perfectly cast as Jefferson Smith, the naïve leader of a local Boy Scouts-type organization, who is swept into office as his state's junior senator by the all-powerful political machine headed by a Boss Tweed-like figure, media mogul Jim Taylor. In awe of the senior senator, Joseph Paine, Smith follows Paine's advice to push a bill for a national boys' camp back in the home state. A problem arises in the fact that the camp is to be built on the Willets Dam site which Taylor and Paine plan to use for graft. Along the way, Smith wins the support of his initially cynical secretary, Clarissa Saunders, who becomes inspired by Smith's integrity and encourages him to push the bill. This leads to his tenacious efforts to pass the bill, going as far as staging a 23-hour filibuster on the U.S. Senate floor.
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