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You Can't Take It with You (1938)


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 29
Fresh: 28
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: It's predictably uplifting fare from Frank Capra, perhaps the most consciously uplifting of all great American directors -- but thanks to immensely appealing performances and a nimble script, You Can't Take It With You is hard not to love.

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 6
Fresh: 5
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: It's predictably uplifting fare from Frank Capra, perhaps the most consciously uplifting of all great American directors -- but thanks to immensely appealing performances and a nimble script, You Can't Take It With You is hard not to love.


Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 9,109



Movie Info

This film focuses on the zany Sycamore household. At the Sycamores, everyone does just what he or she pleases. The one normal member of the household, Alice Sycamore, is in love with Tony Kirby. Naturally, when the stuffy Kirbys come to the Sycamores for dinner, the event is a disaster.

Romance , Classics , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Robert Riskin
In Theaters:
Feb 18, 2003
Columbia Pictures


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Critic Reviews for You Can't Take It with You

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (1) | DVD (5)

It's a grand picture.

Full Review… | January 13, 2014
New York Times
Top Critic

Easily the No. 1 cinema comedy of 1938.

Full Review… | February 17, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The tempo is generally fast and there are no sudden spurts or sharp letdowns.

Full Review… | February 20, 2008
Top Critic

The cast is appealing, particularly Stewart and Arthur, but it's not enough.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

There are still some laughs and entertainment to be found here, but forget about fidelity to the original.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

You Can't Take it with You was a tonic to a Depression-weary country beginning to right itself economically.

Full Review… | August 23, 1938
Top Critic

If you haven't seen it, make a point of catching this Capra classic.

Full Review… | January 13, 2014
Radio Times

Kid-friendly Capra classic stars a quirky family.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

A classic case of good old-fashioned American optimism.

Full Review… | June 7, 2009
Film School Rejects

Demonstrates Capra's skill at tweaking the heartstrings as well as the funny bone.

Full Review… | February 20, 2008

Its stage origins might be all too obvious, but the excellent ensemble cast makes it an enjoyable breeze, and the in-laws meeting scene is farce comedy at its best.

Full Review… | February 20, 2008
Empire Magazine

The usual sentimental corny uplifting melodrama from director Frank Capra.

Full Review… | January 3, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An entertaining, if saccharine film, packed with enough loony activity to keep the laughs coming from start to finish.

Full Review… | December 12, 2006
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Frank Capra's zanny comedy about a family of eccentrics is well-acted by Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur as the romantic couple and a large ensemble that included Spring Byington and others.

Full Review… | October 21, 2006

A family of misfits proves that you don't need money to be happy together.

Full Review… | October 17, 2006
Cinema Sight

[A] splendid Frank Capra classic.

Full Review… | September 22, 2006
Sydney Morning Herald

Capra in top comedy form.

January 2, 2005
Kansas City Kansan

Jimmy Stewart's legendary career was just beginning when he co-starred in this Frank Capra classic, a warm, heart-tugging Best Picture Oscar winner.

Full Review… | August 29, 2004

It's one of those movies that's just so enjoyable, you're disappointed when it ends.

August 12, 2003
Matt's Movie Reviews

You Can't Take It With You does reveal the liberation offered by non-alienating work and examines the matrices between class and gender, as few other films do.

Full Review… | March 28, 2003

A fairly decent Capra, a bit stagebound and undeserving of its Best Picture Oscar.

March 18, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

The pace is fast and furious and the scales tip quite forcefully on the side of living for the moment.

Full Review… | March 10, 2003
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for You Can't Take It with You


A son of a business magnate proposes to a lower class girl whose eccentric family stands in the way of business's progress.
Frank Capra is a legendary director, and everybody loves him. But I don't. I didn't like It's a Wonderful Life mostly because it isn't. I didn't like Mr Smith Goes to Washington mostly because it was overly simplistic. And "You Can't Take It with You is so remarkably preachy that I found myself rolling my eyes so often I soon developed a headache. I'm essentially politically aligned with Capra's left-wing compassion, but the characters seem more motivated by the director's political arguments than they are motivated by specific characterizations or the story's demands.
I also found the antics of the Sycamore household ridiculous. The ballet dancer, the Russian, the fireworks -- all of it just seems so off the wall that I had trouble suspending my disbelief, and once again, I rolled my eyes.
Overall, I'm aware that I'm in the minority with my dislike for Capra, but I still think this film is great if you want to roll your eyes a lot

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

The well-born Tony Kirby (James Stewart) falls in love with Alice (Jean Arthur), whose family, the Sycamores, are eccentric, to say the least. Her maternal grandfather (Lionel Barrymore) supports a cast of inventors and dancers and always has one more place at his table for guests, no matter where they come from, while on the Kirby side, it's not acceptable to associate with anyone not of the upper crust. What else could this setup provide other than a lesson about the worth of one's name and reputation versus that of one's money? To this fable add some wacky comedy and some stirring speeches, and what you get is another working class classic from Frank Capra that's not to be missed.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


This is Frank Capra's Oscar winning adaptation of a play about a family who helps show a wealthy financier that there's much more to life than money.

Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) is the only person in her eccentric family who seems rather normal. She falls in love with a nice young guy (James Stewart) whose parents are incredibly wealthy and don't approve of his relationship to Alice, nor his desire to marry her. Alice tries to change Tony's parents's minds by inviting the mto dinner, but, thanks to her family, things don't go as planned.

All in all, this is typical Capra schmaltz: sentimental, charming, hard to really hate, and very populist. I enjoyed the film, but it's overrated, and maybe not necessarily deserving of Best Picture. The problem is not the message or the acting from an excellent cast (which includes a delightful Lionel Barrymore), but the execution. The first half is slow, meandering, and thigns don't really pick up or get interesting until the latter half. Even then, the film is predicatble, and doesn't really do anything new or groundbreaking.

However, it is still pretty entertaining, well-meaning, and humorous, so, despite it's flaws, it's an old fashioned feel-good film worthy of a watch.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

What negative comment could anyone give about this film. Truly uplifting and endlessly entertaining. Capra was the master.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

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