Skip to content
MUSEUM AND NWFC CLOSED: The Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center are closed in an effort to further stem the spread of COVID-19. All public programs, screenings, and events are canceled until further notice. Stay connected to art, film, and more by signing up for our newsletter.

Directed by Frank Capra

United States 1941 122 mins. In English

A film about an unexpected media sensation run amok on the American public, Meet John Doe stars Barbara Stanwyck as about-to-be-unemployed newspaper reporter Ann Mitchell, who, as a final act of defiance, pens a fake letter to the editor about a John Doe who will commit suicide on Christmas in protest of rampant social injustice and deepening income inequality. But when the public latches on to the letter, Ann is hired back to find the fictional John Doe; instead, she recruits bum-armed baseball pitcher Long John Willoughby (a perfectly-cast Gary Cooper) to fill in. But when the John Doe doctrine catches fire with the public even further, can Ann and Willoughby handle it gracefully, or will they be subsumed to the money machine pervading every corner of public-eye life? His final Hollywood film before enlisting in the military and producing the Why We Fight series, Meet John Doe is “pure Capra, run through with the tension between idealism and corruption, faith in the goodness of the common man and acknowledgment in the easy manipulation of people and processes by the rich and powerful for their own gain.”—Sean Axmaker, The Parallax View.

Genres: Drama

Appears in: Print the Legend