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.
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.
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.
Drugs / Tobacco /
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.