AFI Movie Club: SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS – American Film Institute
Sullivan's Travels Film Still - Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea



SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS is ranked #61 on AFI 10th Anniversary list of the greatest movies of all time. The Preston Sturges’ comedy also appears at #39 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list and at #25 on AFI’s list of the most inspiring films ever. 


Watch Lesli Linka Glatter announce the film:


Movie Trivia about SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS

-DID YOU KNOW that Preston Sturges initially had hoped to use a clip from a Charlie Chaplin film for the scene in the church, but Chaplin declined to give permission? Joel McCrea later parodied Chaplin’s signature “Little Tramp” character in the film. 

-DID YOU KNOW Sturges wrote the film with Joel McCrea in mind for the lead of the earnest young director? 

-DID YOU KNOW the World War II Office of Censorship disapproved of exporting this film during wartime because of a long sequence showing “the brutality and inhumanity” depicted in a prison chain gang? The U.S. government was wary of exporting any film that could be used as enemy propaganda. 

-DID YOU KNOW Veronica Lake reprised her role in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast co-starring Ralph Bellamy in 1942? 

-DID YOU KNOW letters from the Production Code Administration indicate that, among other things, the Hays Office suggested to the filmmakers that the word “bum” would be considered unacceptable by the British censors? 

-DID YOU KNOW some scenes were shot on location in Canoga Park, San Marino, Castaic and Los Angeles?

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.

-What did you think of director Preston Sturges’ blending comedy with social commentary? 

-Do you think that the character of John L. Sullivan’s desire to know the average American’s struggle comes from an earnest place or a privileged one, or both? 

-How does SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS embody the poverty of the time and capture Depression-era America? 

-What does this movie have to say about identity? How malleable is it and can we ever escape our own? 

-How does Sullivan ultimately come to regard his profession? 

-How do his feelings about moviemaking evolve during the film? 

-How would you rate SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS? 


In this exclusive AFI Archive video, Steven Spielberg talks about SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS and its enduring message:

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In this time when we are reminded “There’s no place like home,” 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.

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Comments (1)


I don’t know how or why but this became a huge family favorite. We just love it so much! Very much an undervalued movie and so glad to see that the AFI gives it the recognition is so truly deserves!

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