Young Mr. Lincoln

1939 NR 1h 40m DVD

Young Mr. Lincoln

1939 NR 1h 40m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
With Henry Fonda in the title role, this biopic follows the future president through his early law career, including his defense of two brothers unjustly accused of murder, and traces Honest Abe's budding political consciousness.
Henry Fonda, Alice Brady, Marjorie Weaver, Arleen Whelan, Eddie Collins, Pauline Moore, Richard Cromwell, Donald Meek, Judith Dickens
John Ford
Full Screen 1.33:1
English: Dolby Digital Mono
NR - Not rated. This movie has not been rated by the MPAA.
age 10+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 10+
age 10+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that Young Mr. Lincoln -- a 1939 classic directed by John Ford -- has some violence, centered around a murder, as well as some talk of "hanging," some arguing and threats, and images of an angry mob. Rather than a bloated, boring biopic, this one shows the future American president only as a young man, trying to find his way in life, and Henry Fonda portrays Lincoln as a thoughtful, kind, canny, and funny fellow, with the tiniest hint of a mean streak whenever faced with hypocrisy or unfairness. Minor characters are seen drinking to excess.

Sexual Content

Some minor flirting, and dancing.


In a key scene, we see a fistfight that results in a man's death. A gunshot is heard and bloody knife is found at the scene. This stuff is mostly shown artfully, or at a distance. Otherwise, an angry mob attempts and fails to lynch the murder suspects. A couple of bullies are seen picking on a family from out of town. There's a lot of talk about "hanging" the accused murderers. Minor characters die, and characters sometimes talk about death. Characters occasionally argue and threaten one another.


Not applicable

Social Behavior

The story takes place before Abraham Lincoln became a career politician and was practicing law. During the story he takes on a tremendous challenge, even though the odds are against him, because he believes it's the right thing to do. With a clear, calm demeanor he succeeds. Underscores the idea of American justice and fairness.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Several minor characters are shown to be falling-down drunk. Drinking directly leads to the killing at the center of the plot. One of the jurors at the trial is a comical drunk; he brings his own jug to court and hiccups from time to time.

  • 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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