AFI Movie Club: MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON – American Film Institute

Protected:

AFI Movie Club: MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON is a beloved film that appears on four of AFI’s lists of the greatest American films – and Jimmy Stewart’s character, Jefferson Smith, was named one of cinema’s most inspiring screen heroes by AFI. Stewart was also honored with an AFI Life Achievement Award in 1980, and two years later, director Frank Capra received his own AFI Life Achievement Award.

Watch director Bill Duke (AFI Class of 1978) announce today’s film.

Movie Trivia about MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON

DID YOU KNOW? 

The film was originally planned as a sequel to Frank Capra’s 1936 hit MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN, with Gary Cooper reprising his role as Mr. Deeds. 

DID YOU KNOW? 

The original story had to be rewritten after a warning from Joseph I. Breen, the director of the Production Code Administration. The second version of the script was hailed by Breen as “a grand yarn that will do a great deal of good for all those who see it.” 

DID YOU KNOW? 

The Senate Chamber was replicated in full scale on the Columbia Pictures studio lot. 

DID YOU KNOW? 

The Boy Scouts of America objected to their inclusion in the film. Director Frank Capra had to create a fictitious name for his heroic group of young activists: the Boy Rangers. 

DID YOU KNOW? 

The U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain at the time sent a message to Frank Capra that the film would damage “America’s prestige in Europe” and should therefore be withdrawn from European distribution. But today, the film stands as one of the great icons of American ideals. 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-Is this the first time you’ve seen MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON? 

-Did the title give you any clues about the film’s story? Were you surprised by what happened? 

-MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON was released in October 1939. What else was going on in the world at that time – and how do you think this film reflects or comments on those events?   

-1939 is considered to be one of the greatest years of American filmmaking. Can you name any other movies that came out in 1939? Why do you think this was a groundbreaking year for film? 

-How would you rank MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON? 

-MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON may present similar issues to those we experience in government today, but Frank Capra may have a storytelling style that is different than the movies you are most familiar with? Can you name some similarities and differences? 

-How would you rate MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON? 

In this exclusive AFI Archive video, Walter Cronkite talks about MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON.

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

Learn more in our FAQ section.

How to Watch MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON Now: View Options

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Related Posts

DONATE

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER