Frank Capra

Frank Capra

  • Highest Rated: 100% Broadway Bill (1934)
  • Lowest Rated: 60% Here Comes the Groom (1951)
  • Birthday: May 18, 1897
  • Birthplace: Bisacquino, Sicily, Italy
  • 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.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

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 World War II Director 1998
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 Producer Director 1961
75% A Hole in the Head Producer Director 1959
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
60% Here Comes the Groom Director 1951
No Score Yet Riding High Producer Director 1950
80% State of the Union Director Producer 1948
93% It's a Wonderful Life Director Screenwriter Producer 1946
No Score Yet War Comes to America Director Producer Screenwriter 1945
No Score Yet Here Is Germany Director 1945
88% Arsenic and Old Lace Director Producer 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 Director Screenwriter 1944
No Score Yet Know Your Ally: Britain Director 1944
No Score Yet The Negro Soldier Producer Director 1944
No Score Yet The Battle of China Producer Director 1944
No Score Yet The Battle of Britain Director Producer 1943
No Score Yet The Battle of Russia Producer Screenwriter 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 The Nazis Strike Producer 1943
No Score Yet Why We Fight Producer Director 1942
90% Meet John Doe Director Producer 1941
95% Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Producer Director 1939
92% You Can't Take It With You Director Producer 1938
93% Lost Horizon Producer Director 1937
89% Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Producer Director 1936
100% Broadway Bill Director 1934
98% It Happened One Night Director Producer 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 Producer Director Screenwriter 1928
No Score Yet The Way Of The Strong 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 Screenwriter Director 1926
No Score Yet The Strong Man Director Screenwriter 1926
No Score Yet Tramp, Tramp, Tramp Director Screenwriter 1926
No Score Yet Super-Hooper-Dyne Lizzies Screenwriter 1925
No Score Yet Flight Director

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