Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

1939 NR 2h 9m Blu-ray / DVD

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

1939 NR 2h 9m Blu-ray / DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
When idealistic junior senator Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) arrives in Washington, D.C., he's full of plans and dazzled by his surroundings -- qualities he retains despite widespread corruption among his cynical colleagues. Jean Arthur puts in a sharp performance as Smith's streetwise secretary, who helps him navigate his way through Congress, in this Academy Award-winning classic from director Frank Capra.
James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, H.B. Warner, Harry Carey Sr.
Frank Capra
Blu-ray DVD
Full Screen 1.33:1
English: Dolby Digital Mono
Full Screen 1.33:1
English: PCM Mono, German: PCM Mono, French: PCM Mono, Spanish (Neutral): PCM Mono, Spanish (Castilian): PCM Mono, Italian: PCM Mono, Portuguese (Brazilian): PCM Mono, English: PCM Stereo
NR - Not rated. This movie has not been rated by the MPAA. NR - Not rated. This movie has not been rated by the MPAA.
age 8+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 8+
age 8+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this classic gem from 1939 includes lots of smoking (cigarettes, pipes, cigars) consistent with the era and some drunkenness. Even though much of the movie takes place in Senate chambers, there are still a few violent moments including a gun shot, paper boys punched and nearly run down by goons, and the main character punching crooked reporters. Punching aside, the titular Mr. Smith is an otherwise great role model, holding onto his strong convictions even when it seems like everyone is against him. Kids will not only get to see the Lincoln Memorial but learn a bit about how the Senate operates and see a filibuster in action.

Sexual Content

Flirting, declarations of love, and a drunken "let's get married."


A light shatters after a gun is fired and there's a struggle -- gun not shown. Jeff punches a bunch of crooked reporters. Mentions of past death and violence. In a montage, young boys distributing papers are hit by goons, a car with boys in it and a wagon carrying papers are hit by trucks on purpose, and marchers are hosed down by police.


Just dated and innocent exclamations like, "Great saints!" "You're all wet," and "Stop having kittens."

Social Behavior

Loaded with reminders of the importance of honesty, believing in yourself, standing up for what's right, knowing the difference between compromise and corruption, and that liberty and the freedom of speech are precious. It's also worth noting that African Americans are seen as porters and paper boys in this classic movie, but a black man is also seen standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, hat off and deeply moved by where he is.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Lots of smoking -- cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and chewing tobacco -- by members of Congress and the press. Saunders gets drunk and almost gets married in the same night. More drinking in bars and in Senator Paine's home.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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