A man needing money agrees to impersonate a non-existent person who said he'd be committing suicide as a protest, and a political movement begins.

Director:

Frank Capra

Writers:

Richard Connell (based on a story by), Robert Presnell Sr. (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:
Gary Cooper ... 'Long John' Willoughby
Barbara Stanwyck ... Ann Mitchell
Edward Arnold ... D.B. Norton
Walter Brennan ... The 'Colonel'
Spring Byington ... Mrs. Mitchell
James Gleason ... Connell
Gene Lockhart ... Mayor Lovett
Rod La Rocque ... Ted Sheldon
Irving Bacon ... Beany
Regis Toomey ... Bert
J. Farrell MacDonald ... 'Sourpuss'
Warren Hymer ... Angelface
Harry Holman ... Mayor Hawkins
Andrew Tombes ... Spencer
Pierre Watkin ... 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:

The Love Story That DESERVED BARBARA STANWYCK TO LIVE IT! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - State Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - January 21, 1947) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Rod La Rocque. 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

D. B. Norton: What the American people need is an iron hand!
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Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer-colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: James Mangold (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee
(1939) (uncredited)
Music by Leigh Harline
Played on ocarina by Walter Brennan
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User Reviews

 
Wonderful!!!~
9 January 2000 | by Elizabeth-328See all my reviews

This is a great movie. Gary Cooper is wonderful as John. At first, he does it for the money, but then, he feels bad because some people really have faith in him, and trust him. He feels guilty about being a fake. My favorite part is when he says:

"The John Doe idea may be the answer though! It may be the one thing capable of saving this cockeyed world. Yet you sit back there on your fat hulks and tell me you'll kill it if you can't use it. Well you go ahead and try, you couldn't do it in a million years with all your radio stations and all your power. Because it's bigger than whether I'm a fake, it's bigger than your ambitions and it's bigger than all the bracelets and fur coats in the world!"

I also think Barbara Stanwyck gives a wonderful performance as Ann. I love it when he's standing on the building, threatening to jump, and she tells him that she loves him, and the world does too, and they'll forgive him for lying. I cried so much!

I first saw this movie on Christmas Eve and I loved it. I guarantee it will be a tradition for many Christmases to come!


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 May 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's 'Meet John Doe' See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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