Cautions: slang, some disrespect, some non-graphic violence, drunkenness, and brief immodesty
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra at their best in this quaint classic about a naïve, history-loving young man who is suddenly appointed to the U.S. Senate, where his strong sense of honor and justice throw him right in the path of graft, greed, scandal, and political corruption.
1939 | Frank Capra | 129 min Watch Trailer
Minor side characters, boys, are disrespectful and condescending to their spineless father, trying (in an inappropriate way) to get him to “stand up like a man.” Their mother suggests that he listen to his children for a change.
Some Non-Graphic Violence
A desperate side character attempts to shoot himself, but is stopped. Shots are heard. The main character’s father is said to have been murdered at his desk years before.
Villains run their truck into an open car full of boys. It is implied that the boys were hurt but not killed.
The main character, Jeff, after a personal offense, goes around randomly punching strangers, though this is negatively portrayed.
A sometimes positively, sometimes negatively portrayed side character is an alcoholic. Another character gets drunk in a somewhat humorously-portrayed way, but is also shown to be foolish.
A minor female character wears a low-cut dress with bare shoulders in one scene.
As an aside, she and her friends sell kisses by going up to Jeff, kissing him on the face, and then demanding payment. He is bewildered, but doesn’t seem to mind.
The Lincoln Memorial’s inscriptions refer to it as a “temple”. Jeff and others occasionally refer to men like Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln in all-positive terms. Jeff says hyperbolically that he “worshipped” a particular man all his life.
Jeff drafts a bill for a national boys’ camp which would initially be funded by the U.S. government, until the boys of America could pay the money back.
A side character, in a negatively-portrayed frame of mind, lies to someone, but doesn’t expect him to believe her.
Jeff asks someone to wish him luck. A foolish man tosses a coin to determine a major decision.
Several fictional politicians are portrayed as corrupt, and sympathetic characters tell Jeff that that is the way politics are [or were] in Washington. A governor is portrayed as a coward, a yes man, and a fool.
Characters smoke cigarettes and a pipe.
Jeff asks a friend where they can get a drink.