Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

When a car crash ends the life of a fabulously wealthy patron of the arts, the decedent's $20,000,000 fortune is inherited by one Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) of Mandrake Falls, Vermont. Already a reasonably successful local businessman, Deeds doesn't really feel the need for anything extra in his life: he just wants enough time to practice his tuba and compose greeting-card doggerel. When Deeds is convinced to move to New York, hard-boiled newspaper reporter Babe Bennett (Jean Arthur) is dispatched to get the inside scoop on "The Cinderella Man." Babe's stories of Deeds' eccentricities and no-nonsense dealings with phonies and poseurs provide excellent headline fodder; but she begins to regret her actions, having fallen in love with the big lug. Deeds ultimately sets up a foundation to dispense his fortune to the country's neediest souls, on the proviso that the recipients do their best to get back on their feet, a turn of events that leads his lawyer John Cedar (Douglas Dumbrille) to try to have him declared insane. By the end of the sanity hearing, the judge (H. B. Walker) declares: "Not only are you sane, but you're the sanest man who ever walked in this courtroom!" A joyously unadulterated hunk of Frank Capra-corn, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town was adapted by Robert Riskin from Clarence Buddington Kelland's short story "Opera Hat." In addition to the pleasure of watching the country bumpkin outwit city slickers, the movie is a film buff's dream, boasting one of the best character-actor casts ever assembled for a single film. Nominated for four Academy Awards, the film won Frank Capra his second Oscar (out of three) as Best Director.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Romance, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Clarence Budington Kelland, Robert Riskin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 15, 2000
Columbia Pictures


Gary Cooper
as Longfellow Deeds
Jean Arthur
as Babe Bennett
Ruth Donnelly
as Mabel Dawson
Lionel Stander
as Cornelius Cobb
Margaret Matzenauer
as Madame Pomponi
H.B. Warner
as Judge Walker
Warren Hymer
as Bodyguard
Muriel Evans
as Theresa
Emma Dunn
as Mrs. Meredith
Wryley Birch
as Psychiatrist
Wyrley Birch
as Psychiatrist
Arthur Hoyt
as Budington
Stanley Andrews
as James Cedar
Pierre Watkin
as Arthur Cedar
John Wray
as Farmer
Jameson Thomas
as Mr. Semple
Mayo Methot
as Mrs. Semple
Margaret Seddon
as Jane Faulkner
Margaret McWade
as Amy Faulkner
Russell Hicks
as Dr. Malcolm
Edward Gargan
as 2nd Bodyguard
Paul Hurst
as 1st Deputy
Jay Eaton
as Writer
Paul Porcasi
as Italian
George 'Gabby' Hayes
as Farmers' Spokesman
Mary Lou Dix
as Shop girl
George Meeker
as Brookfield
Eddie Kane
as Henneberry
Patricia Monroe
as Hat Check Girl
Edward Keane
as Board member
Lillian Ross
as Hat Check Girl
Edward J. Le Saint
as Dr. Fosdick
Peggy Page
as Cigarette Girl
Janet Eastman
as Shop Girl
Jack Mower
as Reporter
Ann Doran
as Girl on Bus
Cecil Cunningham
as Minor Supporting Rol...
Bess Flowers
as Minor Role
John Picorri
as Board member
Beatrice Curtis
as Secretary
Beatrice Blinn
as Assistant Secretary
Pauline Wagner
as Telephone Operator
Frank Hammond
as Man at Information B...
Lee Shumway
as Bailiff
Charles Sullivan
as Beatle Puss - Taxi D...
Florence Wix
as Minor Role
Hal Budlong
as Elevator Man
Ethel Palmer
as Governess
Vesey O'Davoren
as Party Guest
Charles C. Wilson
as Court Clerk
Charles Wilson
as Court Clerk
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Critic Reviews for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | February 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Playing the part as if born to it, Cooper is at the top of his game, imbuing Deeds with just the right blend of empathy and intelligence.

Full Review… | July 27, 2014

Mr. Deeds is really a very intelligent and beautiful affair, a film no less charming than Mr. Capra's It Happened One Night at the same time that it is definitely more profound.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
The Nation

Snappy lines, stellar performances, Capra classic.

Full Review… | January 1, 2011
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town


An "everyman" inherits a fortune but is surprised by the culture of his upper class peers.
Frank Capra must have had the most simplistic ideas about wealth and morality. Between this film and You Can't Take It with You, Capra's economic philosophy must begin and end with "Money makes you bad." This is not to say that Capra believes money is corrupting force, but to say that Capra's films imply that anyone pursuing wealth must do so at the expense of his/her soul. But even Capra's construction of the "everyman" is problematic because Gary Cooper's character, while basically decent, is a bit of an asshole. He goes around punching people or threatening violence because he believes a good swift knock is the best way to clean someone's clock. Mr. Deeds might be a swell guy, but by golly, don't cross him.
Overall, Capra, one of Hollywood's classic filmmakers, is overrated

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Another inspiring tale from the master. Gary Cooper is brilliant.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

God, I loved this movie! Not only is Mr. Deeds Goes to Town yet another of Frank Capra's best works but it manages to do what every other great Frank Capra movie does -- restores my faith in humanity, gets me teary-eyed and has me clapping at the end. Admittedly I was on the fence about Gary Cooper when this movie started but I loved the man by the end. The echo scene was hysterical and for as much as I started to roll my eyes at the beginning of the courtroom scene, I felt as bad doubting Capra as the characters in the movie did doubting Deeds. Unfortunately I couldn't stop thinking about the awful Adam Sandler remake the whole time but its probably for the best I saw that one first (I know, I know...) as I'd probably make it my life's mission to drop an anvil on his head. As for the Capra one, you cannot go wrong...!

Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Quotes

– Submitted by Jason S (24 months ago)

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