The Great McGinty (Down Went McGinty) (1940)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this sharp, cynical satire, unscrupulous drifter Dan McGinty accepts work from a crooked party boss and begins a meteoric rise through the ranks of Chicago politics. Preston Sturges' classic directorial debut follows McGinty's ascension to mayor of Chicago, where his career is threatened by a sudden attack of integrity.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Preston Sturges
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 21, 2006
MCA Universal Home Video



as Dan McGinty

as The Boss

as George

as Catherine McGinty

as The Politician

as Thompson

as Louis, the Bodyguard

as Mayor Tillinghast

as Mr. Moxwell

as The Girl

as Madame La Jolla

as The Boss' Chauffeur

as The Lookout

as Benny Feigman

as Dr. Jarvis

as Catherine's Children

as Catherine's Boy (age...

as Catherine's Girl (ag...

as Catherine's Boy (age...

as Catherine's Girl (ag...

as Manicurist

as Pappia

as Secretary

as Manicurist

as McGinty's Valet

as Policeman

as Watcher

as Opposition Speaker

as McGinty's Valet
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Great McGinty (Down Went McGinty)

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5)

Sturges displays plenty of ability in accentuating both the comedy and dramatic elements of his material, withal maintaining a consistent pace in the unreeling.

Full Review… | November 13, 2007
Top Critic

A wonderfully dry satire.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

You won't make a mistake, believe us, if you stuff the ballot-box for The Great McGinty.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Preston Sturges's first film as writer-director (1940) and one of his most cynical comedies -- a cut below his best work, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't see it.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The perfect fusion of Sturges's wit and frenzy.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The evolution from hoodlum to governor: 'You got to crawl before you can creep, right?'

Full Review… | April 14, 2010

Audience Reviews for The Great McGinty (Down Went McGinty)

The Great McGinty was Preston Sturges' directorial debut; he famously sold the script - which went on to win him an Oscar - to Paramount for $10, on the condition that he could direct the movie himself. In a seedy bar in a banana republic, Dan McGinty (Brian Donlevy) recalls his meteoric rise (and spectacular fall) from bum to racketeer, to crooked mayor, to honest state governor and back to bum again. By staging his story as a post-catastrophic flashback from skid row, Sturges neatly undermines the sentimentality and predictability of McGinty's romance with Catherine (Muriel Angelus), the secretary he marries out of convenience, but the lack of a Happy Ending makes the picture oddly unsatisfying. This problem is emphasised by the economical running time; clocking in at a little over 80 minutes, McGinty's end credits begin to roll at about the time we would typically anticipate that final twist enabling the leads to live happily ever after.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer


An historic movie as it's probably the first one done by a writer/director, Preston Sturges. The Great McGinty stars off with enough of the trademarked Sturges dialogue and humor (namely with McGinty's suit) as it tells the tale of a dishonest hobo turned mayor turned governor who eventually ends up down the drain for going honest. It takes itself a little too seriously at times but when it's funny it's really on. It also acts as a sneak preview to what would be coming down the pipeline from Sturges. You can see his style emerging and beginning to take the shape of something great.

Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

Not as biting in the dialogue as some of Preston Sturges' other stuff, but it is still very humorous and the satire is spot-on. I didn't really like the framing device used for the narrative, but it did allow for a bit of a joke at the end. Overall, I enjoyed it.

The Great McGinty (Down Went McGinty) Quotes

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