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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

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"And I'll tell you one thing, that wild horses aren't gonna drag me off this floor until those people have heard everything I've got to say, even if it takes all winter." --Senator Smith.

Senator Smith learns very quickly how the political machine in his state is trying to manipulate him, and he starts to fight back. They start their gears in motion to crush him however, and his last resort is a filibuster on the floor of the Senate. As long as he keeps talking and remains standing, he can hold the floor, but as soon as either his voice or his legs give out, he loses everything. This filibuster is one of the greatest David v. Goliath stories on film.

More Memorable Quotations:

  • "Dad always used to say the only causes worth fighting for were the lost causes."-- Senator Smith.
  • "You're halfway decent. You don't belong here."-- Saunders.
  • "It's a funny thing about men, you know. They all start life being boys. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if some of these Senators were boys once. And that's why it seemed like a pretty good idea for me to get boys out of crowded cities and stuffy basements for a couple of months out of the year. And build their bodies and minds for a man-sized job, because those boys are gonna be behind these desks some of these days. "-- Senator Smith.

"Just get up off the ground. That's all I ask. Get up there with that lady, that's up on top of this Capitol Dome. That lady that stands for Liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won't just see scenery. You'll see the whole parade of what man's carved out for himself after centuries of fighting. And fighting for something better than just jungle law. Fighting so as he can stand on his own two feet free and decent, like he was created no matter what his race, color, or creed. That's what you'd see."

Even More Memorable Quotations:

  • "I wouldn't give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn't have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a - a little lookin' out for the other fella, too..."-- Senator Smith.
  • "I'm sorry gentlemen. I-I know I'm being disrespectful to this honorable body, I know that. I- A guy like me should never be allowed to get in here in the first place. I know that! And I hate to stand here and try your patience like this, but EITHER I'M DEAD RIGHT OR I'M CRAZY."-- Senator Smith.

Finally his senior colleague, Sen. Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), lands the final blow--baskets of telegrams from the citizens of Smith's home state demanding that he yield the floor.


"You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I'm not licked, and I'm going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause even if this room gets filled with lies like these, and the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody'll listen to me...." --Senator Smith

More MR. SMITH Links:

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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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