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Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 7,915

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Movie Info

Yankee Doodle Dandy is no more the true-life story of George M. Cohan than The Jolson Story was the unvarnished truth about Al Jolson -- but who the heck cares? Dandy has song, dance, pathos, pageantry, uproarious comedy, and, best of all, James Cagney at his Oscar-winning best. After several failed attempts to bring the life of legendary, flag-waving song-and-dance man Cohan to the screen, Warners scenarist Robert Buckner opted for the anecdotal approach, unifying the film's largely unrelated

Sep 30, 2003

MGM Home Entertainment

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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (2) | DVD (13)

Raucous, vulgar, over long.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (3)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You will find as warm and delightful a musical picture as has hit the screen in years, a corking good entertainment and as affectionate, if not as accurate, a film biography as has ever -- yes, ever -- been made.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Yankee Doodle Dandy is rah-rah, no matter how you slice it.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The greatness of the film resides entirely in the Cagney performance.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Flag waving, toe tapping, GREAT James Cagney performance as Broadway's George M. Cohan.

March 8, 2008

A big, old-fashioned rousing biopic of patriotic showman George M. Cohan, played with energy and gusto by Jimmy Cagney in his only Oscar-winning performance.

March 5, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

It delivers its red-white-and-blue patriotism to you by the exuberant bushel, but this grand old film reminds us that there was a time when patriotism was more heartfelt than bullying and jingoistic.

April 5, 2006 Full Review Source:

James Cagney played George M. Cohan with great vigor and won his only Oscar for that brilliant performance.

July 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

awfully dull and stodgy

May 28, 2005 | Comment (1)
Classic Film and Television

Love that Cagney!

January 1, 2005
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

...Cagney's picture through and through. He imbues every scene with the kind of electricity only a handful of screen stars have ever managed.

October 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

A timeless treasure that will never fade. Cagney is great; Huston unforgetable. A wonderful slice of Americana.

September 20, 2003
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Thanks to fluent direction, fine photography and Cagney's brillance as actor and song and dance man, the whole piece is surprisingly palatable.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Cagney rocks, if indeed one can use that verb to describe a movie about George M. Cohan

January 22, 2003
New Times

Cagney shines in a delightfully told biography of George M. Cohan

July 29, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) is one of Hollywood's greatest, grandest and slickest musicals - the nostalgic, entertaining film also supported the war

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

It's heartfelt entertainment and anyone who ever whistled a tune, tapped a toe or hummed a bar of music will love it.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee Doodle Dandy is a cliche packed, guilty pleasure, made sublime by the galvanic performance of James Cagney as song and dance man George M. Cohan. Directed by the capable Michael Curtiz, who could apparently direct anything, it also has gorgeous B & W cinematography from the great James Wong Howe and wonderful supporting performances by some great Warner Brothers contract players like Walter Huston, S.Z. Sakall (Carl from Casablanca) and Cagney's sister Jeanne playing his movie sister.

The main reason to see this is for the joyful musical numbers, in particular, the title song, Give My Regards to Broadway, and It's a Grand Ol' Flag. Cagney doesn't even try to sing but spits out the lyrics with bravado and hoofs so engagingly that you can't take your eyes off him. He's no Fred Astaire, but he has such a wonderful fluid style and such a compact, lithe athleticism that he's just as watchable. The overblown chorus numbers are crackling entertainment, but be warned that they are not even half of the film's running length, so you'd have to skip through your DVD menu to avoid the schmaltzy and often maudlin scenes, like the elder Cohan's deathbed scene, which I ate up for dinner, but are for old movie fans only.

Cohan comes off as arrogant and self-absorbed, but Cagney infuses him with humanity and warmth, so we can see why his family, friends and business associates might put up with him. I have no idea how accurate YDD is to reality, apparently Cohan was a nasty fellow who tried to bust the actor's union and had a savage cruel streak. Not here.

The drama such as it is, has all the essential show biz bio flick scenes: the early struggling years, the hero's comeuppance, huge success straining the personal relationships, and the decline when the hero is considered a relic of the past, culminating in a big unexpected comeback. The film is book ended by a visit when Cohan is summoned to the White House by Roosevelt, where he related his life story to the President, who seems to have a lot of time to listen (the two hour length of the movie) especially during WWII, where you'd think the man might have more pressing concerns. This is not at the top level of the great old musical bio flicks, but it's lots of fun. It's really not much without Cagney, and fortunately this film offers a heaping helping of him.
April 21, 2013
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer

This is a great musical. I love the old style musicals where the song and acting are separate. Sure, the song can tell a story, but this shows that the cast can dramatically act as well. It was a well done film all around with great music, acting, writing and inspiration. I had a lot of fun watching this one and if you like the old black and white films, this is one to watch.
March 31, 2011

Super Reviewer

The music was the only thing good about this film.
January 22, 2011
erika bruhns

Super Reviewer

"My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you."

An obvious propaganda film for the country during WWII, the elaborate and patriotic story of George M. Cohan was illustrated with several big numbers, memorable songs, and the quite surprising dancing of James Cagney, who is expressively known for his gangster pictures. A nice musical, and fluff filled biopic.
January 6, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. George M. Cohan: My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you.
    – Submitted by Dutch E (17 months ago)
    1. George M. Cohan: It seems it always happens. Whenever we get too high-hat and too sophisticated for flag-waving, some thug nation decides we're a push-over all ready to be blackjacked.
    – Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
    1. George M. Cohan: My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you.
    – Submitted by Tyler C (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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