Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Overview:

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) was a Drama - Black-and-white Film directed by Frank Capra and produced by Frank Capra.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1989.

Academy Awards 1939 --- Ceremony Number 12 (source: AMPAS)

AwardRecipientResult
Best ActorJames StewartNominated
Best Supporting ActorHarry CareyNominated
Best Supporting ActorClaude RainsNominated
Best Art DirectionLionel BanksNominated
Best DirectorFrank CapraNominated
Best Film EditingGene Havlick, Al ClarkNominated
Best Music - ScoringDimitri TiomkinNominated
Best PictureColumbiaNominated
Best WritingLewis R. FosterWon
Best WritingSidney BuchmanNominated
.

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Quotes from

Jefferson Smith: Well, what do you expect me to do? An honorary stooge like me against the Taylors and Paines and machines and lies?
Clarissa Saunders: Your friend, Mr. Lincoln had his Taylors and Paines. So did every other man who ever tried to lift his thought up off the ground. Odds against them didn't stop those men. They were fools that way. All the good that ever came into this world came from fools with faith like that. You know that, Jeff. You can't quit now. Not you. They aren't all Taylors and Paines in Washington. That kind just throw big shadows, that's all. You didn't just have faith in Paine or any other living man. You had faith in something bigger than that. You had plain, decent, everyday, common rightness, and this country could use some of that. Yeah, so could the whole cockeyed world, a lot of it. Remember the first day you got here? Remember what you said about Mr. Lincoln? You said he was sitting up there, waiting for someone to come along. You were right. He was waiting for a man who could see his job and sail into it, that's what he was waiting for. A man who could tear into the Taylors and root them out into the open. I think he was waiting for you, Jeff. He knows you can do it, so do I.


Clarissa Saunders: Yippee!


Jefferson Smith: I guess this is just another lost cause Mr. Paine. All you people don't know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for and he fought for them once. For the only reason any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule. Love thy neighbor. And in this world today of great hatred a man who knows that rule has a great trust. You know that rule Mr. Paine and I loved you for it just as my father did. And you know that you fight harder for the lost causes than for any others. Yes you'd even die for them. Like a man we both knew Mr. Paine. You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well I'm not licked. And I'm gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these. And the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen to me.
[he collapses]


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Facts about

Ranked #5 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time (2006), and #26 Greatest Movie of All Time (2007) also by AFI.
In his autobiography, Frank Capra states that after the film's general release, he and Harry Cohn received a cablegram from Joseph P. Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, saying that the film would damage "America's prestige in Europe" and should therefore be withdrawn from European distribution. In response, they mailed favorable reviews of the film to Kennedy and, while in a letter to Capra Kennedy stated that he maintained doubts about the film, he did not pursue the matter any further. According to the New York Times, "the Boy Scouts of America objected to having any part in Mr. Capra's reform movement," and Capra therefore had to use the fictitious name of the Boy Rangers.
The Boy Scouts of America did not allow their brand to be used from the film, so Jefferson Smith got changed from being a Boy Scout leader to being a "Boy Ranger" leader.
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Best Writing Oscar 1939











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National Film Registry

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Released 1939
Inducted 1989
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Also directed by Frank Capra




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Also released in 1939




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