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State of the Union


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Product Details

  • Actors: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Angela Lansbury, Van Johnson, Adolphe Menjou
  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Writers: Anthony Veiller, Myles Connolly
  • Producers: Frank Capra
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: August 22, 2006
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FVQLLQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,351 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "State of the Union" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award-winning screen icons Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn shine in a classic film about marriage, politics and the pursuit of the American dream. When idealistic businessman Grant Matthews (Tracy) is chosen to run for the Presidency, he is caught between the ruthless ambition of a string-pulling newspaper owner and the integrity of his devoted wife (Hepburn). But just as Matthews embraces his ultimate goal, he realizes that he may have lost touch with the American people. Masterfully directed by three-time Academy Award winner Frank Capra (It's a Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night), State of the Union is a timeless crowd pleaser with a stellar supporting cast including Angela Lansbury, Van Johnson and Adolphe Menjou.

Amazon.com

State of the Union is somewhat better as a Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn movie than it is as a Frank Capra picture. No doubt about it, these are two good roles for the smitten stars: Tracy is a self-made businessman reluctantly drafted into a dark-horse presidential candidacy; Hepburn is his estranged but whip-smart wife, who joins him on the campaign trail. Adding intrigue is the newspaper heiress (played with relish by baby-faced Angela Lansbury) who's the cause of their marital problems. She's also the one who convinces a longtime political horse-trader (Adolphe Menjou) to take up the campaign--which leads to a series of compromises for the candidate.

The Capra flavor is here, in the paeans to liberty and the American Way, and in the crackling pacing of dialogue scenes. Capra's affection for supporting players is also evident, with standout stuff from Menjou, Van Johnson (as a cynical aide), Lewis Stone, and Raymond Walburn. But the film's roots as a hit play (by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse) are a little too evident, and the film as a whole doesn't feel as bracingly Capraesque as the director's 1930s work. Having said that, the political satire is as relevant today as it was in 1948, although the rapid-fire topical references might be puzzling to non-campaign buffs. Note for bloopers collectors: Hepburn's name is spelled "Katherine" in the opening credits. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Both Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn give amazing performances.
Amazon Customer
Hollywood always seems to produce better Presidents and candidates for President than the real world, which is certainly the case with this 1948 Frank Capra film.
Amazon Customer
That's because a certain president cribbed much of it for his own political ends.
Laura S.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Since the gentleman before me does such a wonderful job in describing the movie's plot I won't go into that...but I did want to say that "State of the Union" is one of my all-time favorite "classic" movies. This highly underrated Frank Capra film ranks as one the best on-screen pairings of the ever-watchable Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. This film is just as relevant to today's political system as it was to its' own era a half-century ago, which only shows that there has never been a "golden age" of American politics. Tracy is superb in his role as a kind of sane and non-paranoid Ross Perot who hopes to "come from nowhere" and capture the 1948 Republican presidential nomination. Katherine Hepburn,Van Johnson and Adolphe Menjou turn in strong supporting performances, but this film really belongs to a very young (and very attractive) Angela Lansbury, as the ruthless owner of a newspaper publishing empire who will stop at nothing to make Tracy the Republican nominee - even if it means breaking up his marriage. One last bit of trivia - this film is loosely based on the real-life presidential campaign of Wendell Willkie, a young and dynamic New York businessman who really did "come from nowhere" to beat the bosses and win the 1940 Republican presidential nomination. He went on to lose a close race to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but the memory of his underdog victory against the "crooked politicians" inspired many Americans for years, including Katherine Hepburn and Frank Capra. So not only is "State of the Union" a great piece of political satire, it's also based on a real historical event - which just goes to show that our political system doesn't always have to run by the "bad guys". "State of the Union" is a superb film - don't miss it!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 11, 2006
Format: DVD
Hollywood always seems to produce better Presidents and candidates for President than the real world, which is certainly the case with this 1948 Frank Capra film. Spencer Tracy plays Grant Matthews, who is persuaded by his mistress, powerful publishing heiress Kay Thorndyke, played to the hilt by Angela Lansbury, to seek the Republican nomination. Katharine Hepburn plays Mary Matthews, who joins her estranged husband to present a public portrait of a happy family. With the aid of the conniving political boss Jim Conover, played by Adolphe Menjou, Matthews begins the long road to the White House.

Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning play by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, you can still get a sense of the original three-act structure of the story. Act I in a Washington, D.C. bedroom in the house of political operative Jim Conover is where Matthews is convinced to try running for President and his wife is persuaded that this is as much a chance to save her marriage as it is to advance her husband's campaign. Act II in a hotel room in Detroit is where Matthews begins sacrificing principles for political expediency in his quest to gain the White House. Act III takes place in the Matthews home on the night of a national radio address, when everything finally comes to a head. From this perspective you have to credit scenarists Anthony Veiller and Myles Connolly with have done an excellent job of adapting the play to the screen. There are a lot of little jokes at the expense of the politicians in both parties in 1948, which will probably be lost on contemporary audiences; in fact, while on Broadway the political jokes were updated weekly.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 5, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Hollywood always seems to produce better Presidents and candidates for President than the real world, which is certainly the case with this 1948 Frank Capra film. Spencer Tracy plays Grant Matthews, who is persuaded by his mistress, powerful publishing heiress Kay Thorndyke, played to the hilt by Angela Lansbury, to seek the Republican nomination. Katharine Hepburn plays Mary Matthews, who joins her estranged husband to present a public portrait of a happy family. With the aid of the conniving political boss Jim Conover, played by Adolphe Menjou, Matthews begins the long road to the White House.
Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning play by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, you can still get a sense of the original three-act structure of the story. Act I in a Washington, D.C. bedroom in the house of political operative Jim Conover is where Matthews is convinced to try running for President and his wife is persuaded that this is as much a chance to save her marriage as it is to advance her husband's campaign. Act II in a hotel room in Detroit is where Matthews begins sacrificing principles for political expediency in his quest to gain the White House. Act III takes place in the Matthews home on the night of a national radio address, when everything finally comes to a head. From this perspective you have to credit scenarists Anthony Veiller and Myles Connolly with have done an excellent job of adapting the play to the screen. There are a lot of little jokes at the expense of the politicians in both parties in 1948, which will probably be lost on contemporary audiences; in fact, while on Broadway the political jokes were updated weekly.
Read more ›
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