Arrowsmith (1931) - Rotten Tomatoes


Arrowsmith (1931)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Arrowsmith Photos

Movie Info

Sinclair Lewis' novel Arrowsmith is given so stylish a screen treatment by producer Sam Goldwyn that at times it looks more like an art-deco exhibit than a film. Ronald Colman stars as Martin Arrowsmith, an idealist doctor who forsakes a cushy, big-city practice to seek out a cure for bubonic plague. Arrowsmith's wife Helen Hayes at first balks at the prospect of accompanying her husband to the West Indies, but she finally honors her "wifely duties"--only to be rewarded by Arrowsmith's casual affair with sexy Myrna Loy. When Hayes dies from smoking a plague-infected cigarette, the conscience-stricken Arrowsmith reawakens to his duty to humanity. It won't be readily obvious, given the streamlined look of the film, but Arrowsmith was directed by none other than John Ford, here contributing to the overall "class" of the production by pretentiously billing himself as John A. Ford.


Ronald Colman
as Dr. Martin Arrowsmith
Richard Bennett
as Sondelius
A.E. Anson
as Prof. Gottlieb
Claude King
as Dr. Tubbs
Beulah Bondi
as Mrs. Tozer
Myrna Loy
as Joyce Lanyon
Russell Hopton
as Terry Wickett
DeWitt Jennings
as Mr. Tozer
John Qualen
as Henry Novak
Adele Watson
as Mrs. Novak
Lumsden Hare
as Sir Robert Fairland
Bert Roach
as Bert Tozer
Charlotte Henry
as Young Girl
Clarence Brooks
as Oliver Marchand
Walter Downing
as City Clerk
David Landau
as State Veterinarian
James Marcus
as Old Doctor
Sidney de Grey
as Doctor Hesselink
Florence Britton
as Miss Twyford
Bobby Watson
as Little Neighbor
View All

Critic Reviews for Arrowsmith

All Critics (8)

Even with its flaws Arrowsmith (1931) is a glorious Pre-Code film. It tackles a difficult subject, isn't afraid to experiment and there is a refreshing lack of racism.

November 7, 2018 | Full Review…

Emotionally gratifying, it dramatically only crawls along with so many actionless scenes.

April 1, 2007 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

One of John Ford's in-depth probes of the doctor's role in society, Arrowsmith was based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis who refused the 1926 Pulitzer because of the prize's alleged advocacy of work that endorsed "the wholesome American life."

June 19, 2005 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Many shots show an early awareness of mood and expression, using heavy shadows and diagonal shapes to establish visual conflicts.

April 11, 2005 | Full Review…

...the film's episodic structure ensures that it rarely becomes boring - though the story does lose some momentum towards the end...

March 12, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Brilliant, too little seen John Ford film of the Sinclair Lewis novel.

May 23, 2004 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for Arrowsmith


Ronald Colman is fine in this antique but the film itself is all over the place.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

A dull and melodramatic look at the life of a doctor.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


Colman is as charismatic as ever, but does have some choppy editing.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

Arrowsmith Quotes

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