Frank Capra - Rotten Tomatoes

Frank Capra



The most honored and well-liked director of his generation, Sicilian-born Frank Capra graduated from the California Institute of Technology as a Chemical Engineering major. Down on his luck after service during World War I, he bluffed his way into the movie business and learned films from the bottom up, from the film lab to the prop department to the editing department. He settled in as a gagman during the 1920s, and soon became a director specializing in comedy. After a stint with Mack Sennett, Capra moved to Columbia Pictures, where he came into his own as a filmmaker.



Displaying a good feel for drama as well as comedy, and a common touch with which ordinary viewers could resonate, Capra quickly became the star among the tiny studio's stable of directors. His pictures, starting with American Madness in 1932, displayed themes that audiences regarded as important and uplifting during the worst days of the Great Depression, and Capra, despite the relatively modest budgets with which he had to work, became one of the most popular serious filmmakers of the '30s. After It Happened One Night, a comedy starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable that earned an armload of Oscars and nominations, his career was made. Some critics regarded the messages of movies such as Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington -- often dealing with the rights and dignity of the common man -- as corn (the phrase "Capra-corn" was an often-used derision), but the public loved them. Capra finished the '30s as one of Hollywood's most honored filmmakers, with three Best Director Oscars to his credit. With the rise of fascism, he turned more serious at the end of the decade and attempted to address this in Lost Horizon and his first independent production, Meet John Doe. He returned to pure comedy just prior to entering the army, with Arsenic and Old Lace, and, during his wartime service, directed the U.S. Army's Why We Fight series. After the war, he made the most ambitious and personal of his movies, It's a Wonderful Life, which originally didn't find its audience -- only during the '70s and early '80s, when it temporarily passed out of copyright protection (a situation since remedied by its owner), did the wide showings of this poignant comedy-fantasy turn the movie into a piece of definitive film-Americana.



Capra's subsequent movies, including State of the Union and A Hole in the Head, though successful, lacked the urgency and immediacy of his pre-war work, and he fell increasingly out of touch with the changing tastes and attitudes of both audiences and movie studios during the 1950s and early '60s. He made several industrial films during this period, but his career in feature films had effectively ended after the 1961 release of Pocketful of Miracles, a very sentimental (and big-budget widescreen) remake of his 1933 hit Lady for a Day. Capra died in 1991.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Donovan Affair
  • Director
2014
No Score Yet Two Down And One To Go
  • Director
2014
No Score Yet Daddy Cool Munde Fool
  • Producer
2013
No Score Yet The Bleeding
  • Executive Producer
2011
No Score Yet Historic Time Travel - War Comes To America
  • Director
2007
No Score Yet Why we Fight
  • Director
2006
No Score Yet World War II
  • Director
1998
No Score Yet WWII - The Nazi Strike
  • Director
1997
No Score Yet WWII (5-Pack)
  • Director
1997
No Score Yet George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey
  • Himself
1984
No Score Yet The AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards: Jimmy Stewart
  • Actor
1980
63% Pocketful of Miracles
  • Director
  • Producer
1961
67% A Hole in the Head
  • Producer
  • Director
1959
No Score Yet Bell Science - Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays
  • Director
1957
No Score Yet Bell Science - The Unchained Goddess
  • Director
1956
No Score Yet Bell Science - Hemo the Magnificent
  • Director
1956
No Score Yet Bell Science - Our Mr. Sun
  • Director
1956
No Score Yet Here Comes the Groom
  • Director
  • Producer
1951
No Score Yet Riding High
  • Director
  • Producer
1950
No Score Yet State of the Union
  • Producer
  • Director
1948
94% It's a Wonderful Life
  • Screenwriter
1946
No Score Yet War Comes to America
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Director
1945
No Score Yet Here Is Germany
  • Director
1945
88% Arsenic and Old Lace
  • Producer
  • Director
1944
No Score Yet Attack! The Battle for New Britain
  • Producer
1944
No Score Yet Tunisian Victory
  • Director
1944
No Score Yet Know Your Enemy - Japan
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1944
No Score Yet The Battle of China
  • Producer
  • Director
1944
No Score Yet The Negro Soldier
  • Director
  • Producer
1944
No Score Yet Know Your Ally: Britain
  • Director
1944
No Score Yet Why We Fight - The Battle of Britain
  • Director
1943
No Score Yet The Battle of Britain
  • Director
  • Producer
1943
No Score Yet Why We Fight - Divide and Conquer
  • Director
1943
No Score Yet Why We Fight
  • Producer
  • Director
1943
No Score Yet The Battle of Russia
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
1943
No Score Yet WW II - The Battle of Britain
  • Director
1943
No Score Yet Why We Fight - Prelude to War
  • Director
1943
No Score Yet Why We Fight - The Battle of Russia
  • Director
1943
No Score Yet Divide and Conquer
  • Director
1943
No Score Yet Prelude to War
  • Producer
1943
No Score Yet Why We Fight
  • Director
  • Producer
1942
89% Meet John Doe
  • Producer
  • Director
1941
94% Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Producer
  • Director
1939
91% You Can't Take It With You
  • Producer
  • Director
1938
100% Lost Horizon
  • Producer
  • Director
1937
89% Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  • Director
  • Producer
1936
No Score Yet Broadway Bill
  • Director
1934
98% It Happened One Night
  • Producer
  • Director
1934
100% Lady for a Day
  • Director
  • Producer
1933
100% The Bitter Tea of General Yen
  • Director
1933
No Score Yet American Madness
  • Producer
  • Director
1932
No Score Yet Forbidden
  • Director
1932
100% Platinum Blonde
  • Director
1931
100% The Miracle Woman
  • Director
1931
No Score Yet Dirigible
  • Director
1931
No Score Yet Ladies of Leisure
  • Director
1930
No Score Yet The Matinee Idol
  • Director
1928
No Score Yet So This Is Love?
  • Director
1928
No Score Yet That Certain Thing
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Director
1928
No Score Yet The Way Of The Strong
  • Director
1928
No Score Yet Colors of War - Europe
  • Director
1928
No Score Yet His First Flame
  • Screenwriter
1927
No Score Yet Long Pants
  • Director
1927
No Score Yet Harry Langdon: The Forgotten Clown
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1926
No Score Yet The Strong Man
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1926
No Score Yet Tramp, Tramp, Tramp
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1926
No Score Yet Super-Hooper-Dyne Lizzies
  • Screenwriter
1925
No Score Yet Flight
  • Director

Quotes from Frank Capra's Characters

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