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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



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.