Photo of Frank Capra Frank Capra

Born May 18, 1897, in Palermo, Italy, Frank Capra immigrated to the United States in 1903, settling with his family in Los Angeles. After a stint in the Army during World War I, he worked as an extra for various film studios -- and was bitten by the movie bug.

A gag writer for producer-director Mack Sennett in the 1920s, Capra later joined Columbia Pictures, where he made his name helming uplifting films and screwball comedies that struck a chord with Depression-era audiences. During his run at Columbia, he directed the classics It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and You Can't Take It with You (1938), copping Best Director Oscars for all three.

Among Capra's postwar works are the enduring 1946 masterpiece It's a Wonderful Life and his final cinematic effort, A Pocketful of Miracles (1961). Capra died of a heart attack Sept. 3, 1991, leaving behind a great legacy.

Frank Capra in Arsenic and Old Lace

Arsenic and Old Lace

1944 NR

Stellar performances highlight this delightfully witty adaptation of the hit Broadway play about two dotty spinsters (Josephine Hull and Jean Adair) with a peculiar avocation: helping lonely old gents by poisoning them and burying them in the cellar. But the jig is up when the ladies' newlywed nephew, Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), discovers his aunts' "benevolent" deeds. Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre also star.

  • Frank Capra in It Happened One Night It Happened One Night
  • Frank Capra in Lost Horizon Lost Horizon
  • Frank Capra in Pocketful of Miracles Pocketful of Miracles
  • Frank Capra in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Frank Capra in It's a Wonderful Life It's a Wonderful Life
  • Frank Capra in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  • Frank Capra in You Can't Take It with You You Can't Take It with You
  • Frank Capra in State of the Union State of the Union
  • Frank Capra in Meet John Doe Meet John Doe
  • Frank Capra in Our Father's Enemy Our Father's Enemy
  • Frank Capra in Riding High Riding High
  • Frank Capra in Our Mr. Sun / Cosmic Rays Our Mr. Sun / Cosmic Rays
  • Frank Capra in Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese
  • Frank Capra in Frank Capra's WWII: Why We Fight Frank Capra's WWII: Why We Fight
  • Frank Capra in The Big Picture: Military Series The Big Picture: Military Series
  • Frank Capra in Heroes of World War II Heroes of World War II