James Stewart - Rotten Tomatoes

James Stewart



James Stewart was the movies' quintessential Everyman, a uniquely all-American performer who parlayed his easygoing persona into one of the most successful and enduring careers in film history. On paper, he was anything but the typical Hollywood star: Gawky and tentative, with a pronounced stammer and a folksy "aw-shucks" charm, he lacked the dashing sophistication and swashbuckling heroism endemic among the other major actors of the era. Yet it's precisely the absence of affectation which made Stewart so popular; while so many other great stars seemed remote and larger than life, he never lost touch with his humanity, projecting an uncommon sense of goodness and decency which made him immensely likable and endearing to successive generations of moviegoers.

Born May 20, 1908, in Indiana, PA, Stewart began performing magic as a child. While studying civil engineering at Princeton University, he befriended Joshua Logan, who then headed a summer stock company, and appeared in several of his productions. After graduation, Stewart joined Logan's University Players, a troupe whose membership also included Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan. He and Fonda traveled to New York City in 1932, where they began winning small roles in Broadway productions including Carrie Nation, Yellow Jack, and Page Miss Glory. On the recommendation of Hedda Hopper, MGM scheduled a screen test, and soon Stewart was signed to a long-term contract. He first appeared onscreen in a bit role in the 1935 Spencer Tracy vehicle The Murder Man, followed by another small performance the next year in Rose Marie.

Stewart's first prominent role came courtesy of Sullavan, who requested he play her husband in the 1936 melodrama Next Time We Love. Speed, one of six other films he made that same year, was his first lead role. His next major performance cast him as Eleanor Powell's paramour in the musical Born to Dance, after which he accepted a supporting turn in After the Thin Man. For 1938's classic You Can't Take It With You, Stewart teamed for the first time with Frank Capra, the director who guided him during many of his most memorable performances. They reunited a year later for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stewart's breakthrough picture; a hugely popular modern morality play set against the backdrop of the Washington political system, it cemented the all-American persona which made him so adored by fans, earning a New York Film Critics' Best Actor award as well as his first Oscar nomination.

Stewart then embarked on a string of commercial and critical successes which elevated him to the status of superstar; the first was the idiosyncratic 1939 Western Destry Rides Again, followed by the 1940 Ernst Lubitsch romantic comedy The Shop Around the Corner. After The Mortal Storm, he starred opposite Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in George Cukor's sublime The Philadelphia Story, a performance which earned him the Best Actor Oscar. However, Stewart soon entered duty in World War II, serving as a bomber pilot and flying 20 missions over Germany. He was highly decorated for his courage, and did not fully retire from the service until 1968, by which time he was an Air Force Brigadier General, the highest-ranking entertainer in the U.S. military.

Stewart's combat experiences left him a changed man; where during the prewar era he often played shy, tentative characters, he returned to films with a new intensity. While remaining as genial and likable as ever, he began to explore new, more complex facets of his acting abilities, accepting roles in darker and more thought-provoking films. The first was Capra's 1946 perennial It's a Wonderful Life, which cast Stewart as a suicidal banker who learns the true value of life. Through years of TV reruns, the film became a staple of Christmastime viewing, and remains arguably Stewart's best-known and most-beloved performance. However, it was not a hit upon its original theatrical release, nor was the follow-u

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Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet WWII - As Seen on the Homefront
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Chalkdust Memories
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Bing Crosby - Bing Crosby's White Christmas All Star Show
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Mini Warriors 4
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet WWII Battles & Victories
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Vintage Classics - Hollywood Legends - 8 DVD Pack
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet Hollywood Legends - Cary Grant & James Stewart
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Master Classes In the Media Arts - James Stewart
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet World War II: An American Retrospective
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet The Universal Story
  • Actor
1996
No Score Yet Fonda on Fonda
  • Actor
1992
45% An American Tail - Fievel Goes West
  • Wylie
1991
No Score Yet Memories of Hollywood
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet Grace Kelly: An American Princess
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Right of Way
  • Teddy Dwyer
1983
No Score Yet Green Horizon
  • Actor
1983
No Score Yet The AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards: Frank Capra
  • Host
1982
No Score Yet A.F.I. Life Achievement Awards - Fred Astaire
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet The Green Horizon
  • Old Man
1980
No Score Yet The Magic of Lassie
  • Clovis Mitchell
1978
No Score Yet The Big Sleep
  • Gen. Sternwood
1978
50% Airport '77
  • Philip Stevens
1977
93% The Shootist
  • Dr. E.W. Hostetler
1976
100% That's Entertainment
  • Narrator
1973
No Score Yet The Great American West of John Ford
  • Host
1973
No Score Yet Directed by John Ford
  • Actor
1971
No Score Yet Fools' Parade
  • Mattie Appleyard
1971
No Score Yet The Cheyenne Social Club
  • John O'Hanlan
1970
20% Bandolero
  • Mace Bishop
1968
No Score Yet Firecreek
  • Johnny Cobb
1968
No Score Yet Fire Creek
  • Actor
1968
33% The Rare Breed
  • Sam Burnett
1966
90% The Flight of the Phoenix
  • Frank Townes
1965
No Score Yet Shenandoah
  • Charlie Anderson
1965
No Score Yet Dear Brigitte
  • Professor Robert Leaf
1965
70% Cheyenne Autumn
  • Wyatt Earp
1964
No Score Yet Take Her, She's Mine
  • Frank Michaelson/Narrator
1963
100% How the West Was Won
  • Linus Rawlings
1963
80% Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
  • Roger Hobbs
1962
93% The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • Ransom Stoddard
1962
No Score Yet X-15
  • Narrator
1961
No Score Yet Two Rode Together
  • Marshal Guthrie McCabe
1961
No Score Yet The Mountain Road
  • Maj. Baldwin
1960
No Score Yet The FBI Story
  • John Michael ('Chip') Hardesty
1959
100% Anatomy of a Murder
  • Paul Biegler
1959
75% Bell, Book and Candle
  • Shepherd 'Shep' Henderson
1958
97% Vertigo
  • Scotty Ferguson
1958
No Score Yet The All-Star Christmas Show (Bing Crosby - Bing Crosby's White Christmas USO All Star Show)
  • Actor
1958
No Score Yet Night Passage
  • Grant McLaine
1957
84% The Spirit of St. Louis
  • Charles Augustus 'Slim' Lindbergh
1957
100% The Man From Laramie
  • Will Lockhart
1955
No Score Yet Strategic Air Command
  • Lt. Col. Robert `Dutch' Holland
1955
100% The Far Country
  • Jeff Webster
1955
No Score Yet James Stewart Mix
  • Actor
1955
88% The Glenn Miller Story
  • Glenn Miller
1953
100% The Naked Spur
  • Howard Kemp
1953
No Score Yet Thunder Bay
  • Steve Martin
1953
No Score Yet Carbine Williams
  • Marsh Williams
1952
44% The Greatest Show on Earth
  • Buttons
1952
100% Bend of the River
  • Glyn McLyntock
1952
No Score Yet No Highway in the Sky
  • Theodore Honey
1951
No Score Yet The Jackpot
  • Bill Lawrence
1950
84% Harvey
  • Elwood P. Dowd
1950
89% Broken Arrow
  • Tom Jeffords
1950
100% Winchester '73
  • Lin McAdam
1950
No Score Yet Malaya
  • John Royer
1949
83% The Stratton Story
  • Monty Stratton
1949
No Score Yet You Gotta Stay Happy
  • Marvin Payne
1948
97% Rope
  • Rupert Cadell
1948
No Score Yet On Our Merry Way
  • Slim
1948
73% Call Northside 777
  • P.J. (Jim) McNeal
1948
50% Magic Town
  • Rip Smith
1947
94% It's a Wonderful Life
  • George Bailey
1946
No Score Yet Combat America
  • Actor
1944
No Score Yet Winning Your Wings
  • Actor
1942
No Score Yet Ziegfeld Girl
  • Gilbert Young
1941
No Score Yet Pot o' Gold
  • James Hamilton 'Jimmy' Haskell
1941
No Score Yet Come Live with Me
  • Bill Smith
1941
100% The Philadelphia Story
  • Macauley Connor
1940
No Score Yet No Time for Comedy
  • Gaylord Esterbrook
1940
100% The Shop Around the Corner
  • Alfred Kralik
1940
100% The Mortal Storm
  • Martin Breitner
1940
100% Destry Rides Again
  • Tom Destry
1939
94% Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Jefferson Smith
1939
No Score Yet It's a Wonderful World
  • Guy Johnson
1939
No Score Yet Ice Follies of 1939
  • Larry Hall
1939
No Score Yet Made for Each Other
  • Johnny Mason
1939
No Score Yet Land of Liberty
  • Actor
1939
91% You Can't Take It With You
  • Tony Kirby
1938
100% Vivacious Lady
  • Peter Morgan
1938
No Score Yet Of Human Hearts
  • Jason Wilkins
1938
No Score Yet Shopworn Angel
  • Pvt. Bill Pettigrew
1938
No Score Yet The Last Gangster
  • Paul North, Sr.
1937
No Score Yet Seventh Heaven
  • Chico
1937
No Score Yet Navy Blue and Gold
  • John Tuck Cross
1937
100% After the Thin Man
  • David Graham
1936
No Score Yet Born to Dance
  • Ted Barker
1936
No Score Yet The Gorgeous Hussy
  • 'Rowdy' Dow
1936
No Score Yet Speed
  • Terry Martin
1936
No Score Yet Small Town Girl (One Horse Town)
  • Elmer
1936
No Score Yet Wife vs. Secretary
  • Dave
1936
No Score Yet Rose Marie
  • John Flower
1936
No Score Yet Musicals from Hollywood's Golden Age
  • Actor
1934
No Score Yet Silverscreen Romance
  • Actor
1932
No Score Yet Gable, Stewart and Reagan
  • Actor

Quotes from James Stewart's Characters