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Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft, Lionel Stander, Douglas Dumbrille ... see more see more... , Raymond Walburn , H.B. Warner , Margaret Matzenauer , Warren Hymer , Muriel Evans , Ruth Donnelly , Spencer Charters , Emma Dunn , Wryley Birch , Arthur Hoyt , Jameson Thomas , Walter Catlett , Margaret Seddon , Beatrice Blinn , Beatrice Curtis , Frank Hammond , Vesey O'Davoren , Charles Sullivan , Florence Wix , Stanley Andrews , Irving Bacon , Billy Bevan , George Cooper , Cecil Cunningham , Mary Lou Dix , Ann Doran , Jay Eaton , Bess Flowers , Edward Gargan , Russell Hicks , Harry Holden , Paul Hurst , Eddie Kane , Edward Keane , Edward J. Le Saint , Edwin Maxwell , Margaret McWade , George Meeker , James Millican , Gene Morgan , Jack Mower , Franklin Pangborn , Barnett Parker , John Picorri , Paul Porcasi , Lillian Ross , Christian Rub , Lee Shumway , Dale Van Sickel , Gustav von Seyffertitz , Pierre Watkin , John Wray , Harry C. Bradley , George 'Gabby' Hayes , Charles Lane , Dennis O'Keefe , Charles C. Wilson , Douglass Dumbrille , Frank Cady

When a car crash ends the life of a fabulously wealthy patron of the arts, the decedent's $20,000,000 fortune is inherited by one Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) of Mandrake Falls, Vermont. Already a r... read more read more...easonably successful local businessman, Deeds doesn't really feel the need for anything extra in his life: he just wants enough time to practice his tuba and compose greeting-card doggerel. When Deeds is convinced to move to New York, hard-boiled newspaper reporter Babe Bennett (Jean Arthur) is dispatched to get the inside scoop on "The Cinderella Man." Babe's stories of Deeds' eccentricities and no-nonsense dealings with phonies and poseurs provide excellent headline fodder; but she begins to regret her actions, having fallen in love with the big lug. Deeds ultimately sets up a foundation to dispense his fortune to the country's neediest souls, on the proviso that the recipients do their best to get back on their feet, a turn of events that leads his lawyer John Cedar (Douglas Dumbrille) to try to have him declared insane. By the end of the sanity hearing, the judge (H. B. Walker) declares: "Not only are you sane, but you're the sanest man who ever walked in this courtroom!" A joyously unadulterated hunk of Frank Capra-corn, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town was adapted by Robert Riskin from Clarence Buddington Kelland's short story "Opera Hat." In addition to the pleasure of watching the country bumpkin outwit city slickers, the movie is a film buff's dream, boasting one of the best character-actor casts ever assembled for a single film. Nominated for four Academy Awards, the film won Frank Capra his second Oscar (out of three) as Best Director. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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86% liked it

9,034 ratings


94% liked it

17 critics

Unrated, 1 hr. 55 min.

Directed by: Frank Capra

Release Date: January 1, 1936

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DVD Release Date: February 15, 2000

Stats: 498 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (498)

  • May 20, 2014
    An "everyman" inherits a fortune but is surprised by the culture of his upper class peers.
    Frank Capra must have had the most simplistic ideas about wealth and morality. Between this film and You Can't Take It with You, Capra's economic philosophy must begin and end wi... read moreth "Money makes you bad." This is not to say that Capra believes money is corrupting force, but to say that Capra's films imply that anyone pursuing wealth must do so at the expense of his/her soul. But even Capra's construction of the "everyman" is problematic because Gary Cooper's character, while basically decent, is a bit of an asshole. He goes around punching people or threatening violence because he believes a good swift knock is the best way to clean someone's clock. Mr. Deeds might be a swell guy, but by golly, don't cross him.
    Overall, Capra, one of Hollywood's classic filmmakers, is overrated
  • fb1664868775
    November 13, 2011
    Another inspiring tale from the master. Gary Cooper is brilliant.
  • June 15, 2011
    God, I loved this movie! Not only is Mr. Deeds Goes to Town yet another of Frank Capra's best works but it manages to do what every other great Frank Capra movie does -- restores my faith in humanity, gets me teary-eyed and has me clapping at the end. Admittedly I was on the fenc... read moree about Gary Cooper when this movie started but I loved the man by the end. The echo scene was hysterical and for as much as I started to roll my eyes at the beginning of the courtroom scene, I felt as bad doubting Capra as the characters in the movie did doubting Deeds. Unfortunately I couldn't stop thinking about the awful Adam Sandler remake the whole time but its probably for the best I saw that one first (I know, I know...) as I'd probably make it my life's mission to drop an anvil on his head. As for the Capra one, you cannot go wrong...!
  • June 9, 2011
    What a great classic film! Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur are absolutely perfect!
  • September 15, 2010
    If you've seen Mr. Deeds, the one with Sandler, you should really see the original movie with Cooper. Arthur is such a great actress, and she's great in this movie too. The movie is funny, realistic, and insightful, much more so than the remake which was just stupid.
  • April 13, 2010
    The creation of the romantic comedy as we know it, Capra's classic is now the format it seems for every Rom-com made ever since. Don't watch them though, watch this instead, the first, the best. There is a theory going around that there are actually only 7 story-lines in cinema, ... read moreKurosawa invented 6 of them, Capra made the 7th! It's such a shame that this film has been rated by just over 7,000 people while the remake has over 600,000 hits!
  • April 4, 2008
    So much better then I was expecting!

    A really funny, touching and surprising film that just makes you smile! One of Capra's best.

    Does anyone think Daniel Craig stole his DNA from Gary Cooper?
  • fb721890245
    January 7, 2014
    A very cool Capra film that has the usual questioning of the purpose of life with good heartwarming moments. I don't even want to speculate on what the Adam Sandler remake provides. Gary Cooper in one of the few performances in which he is not annoying.
  • April 24, 2010
    Kind of boring. I wasn't a huge fan.
  • November 20, 2008
    A good Capra classic.

Critic Reviews

Dan Jardine
July 27, 2014
Dan Jardine, Cinemania

Playing the part as if born to it, Cooper is at the top of his game, imbuing Deeds with just the right blend of empathy and intelligence. Full Review

Mark Van Doren
January 18, 2013
Mark Van Doren, The Nation

Mr. Deeds is really a very intelligent and beautiful affair, a film no less charming than Mr. Capra's It Happened One Night at the same time that it is definitely more profound. Full Review

Ellen MacKay
January 1, 2011
Ellen MacKay, Common Sense Media

Snappy lines, stellar performances, Capra classic. Full Review

Emanuel Levy
January 28, 2007
Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com

Capra advocates populism and egalitarianism, underlined by values of Christianity. For him, every person is "God's creation" in his/her own right, evert person possesses some talent and should do his/... Full Review

Bob Bloom
May 3, 2004
Bob Bloom, Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

A wonderful Capra vehicle; Cooper is superb; Arthur luminous. A comic movie with heart and a point to make. True Capra-corn, and that is not a criticism. A fine example of populist art.

Ken Hanke
February 16, 2003
Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Essential Capra and one of his best. Cooper and Arthur are luminous.

Brad Laidman
December 8, 2002
Brad Laidman, Film Threat

It's tough enough to film a credible morality play without being laughed out of town. It's altogether mind boggling to do so and provide a grade A romantic comedy to boot. Full Review

Christopher Null
May 17, 2002
Christopher Null,

The tedium of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town outweighs its message of freedom and charity. Full Review

Tim Dirks
January 1, 2000
Tim Dirks, Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) is another lighthearted classic Frank Capra screwball romantic-comedy regarding the broader philosophical themes of individual innocence Full Review

January 1, 2000
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Here is a shamelessly simple story with a populist point of view, but it is handled with such charm and charisma and acted so well by Cooper and Arthur that it became another Frank Capra classic. Full Review

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    • Longfellow Deeds: What puzzles me is, why people seem to get so much pleasure out of, out of hurting each other. Why don't they try liking each other once in a while.

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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Trivia

  • Who played Mr. Deeds in the movie Mr. Deeds Goes to Town   Answer »
  • Who played Longfellow Deeds in the 1936 movie Mr Deeds Goes to Town?  Answer »
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) is considered the sequel to what movie dispite Frank Capra changing the name of the main character to Jefferson Smith.  Answer »
  • Which of the following films did not star James (Jimmy) Stewart?  Answer »

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