Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Movie review by
Ellen MacKay, Common Sense Media
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Movie Poster Image
Snappy lines, stellar performances, Capra classic.
  • NR
  • 1936
  • 115 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Mary uses deception and her looks to get close to Deeds. Mr. Deeds examines how the poor were treated during the Depression, and ends up championing common decency.<


Deeds avenges himself by using his fists.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Deeds goes on a drinking spree and winds up with amnesia and no pants.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Deeds engages in a fist fight and goes on a comic drinking binge, but that's about as racy as the movie gets. Mr. Deeds examines how the poor were treated during the Depression, and ends up championing common decency.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9, 12, and 15-year-old Written byDenise A. January 24, 2021

Great movie, restores faith in our system.

Mr Deeds is an innocent who becomes a millionaire, but never loses his sense of wonder and honesty, even as he (and we see this) is beset from all sides with of... Continue reading
Adult Written byRunToday March 18, 2020

Great 84 year old movie!

My wonderful sister send me this movie recently and I watched it that night. How did this gem of a classic escape me previously? The performances by Gary Coop... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old September 16, 2011


Mr. Deeds goes to town is about a man that just gets dumped off with 20 million dollars. Mr. Deeds is a guy that is nice, loving, humble .This movie is black an... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old September 16, 2011

an awesome classic film

Mr. Deeds is a good classic movie. Even though it is black and white it can be inspiring. I really thought Frank Capra did a good job directing it. It had a goo... Continue reading

What's the story?

MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN centers on greeting card poet Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper), a nice guy from a small town who finds out he's the only heir to an immense fortune. When he comes to New York to live the high life, he finds he hates being rich. When he tries to give the money away to the poor, he finds himself on trial for insanity. In scathing exposés of his small-town behavior, the newspapers declare him a backwater dope. Meanwhile, Deeds falls for a woman named Mary (Jean Arthur) who turns out to be one of the offending journalists. This tale gets quite dark before its dawn, but in the end, the trial provides the means for reconciliation between Deeds and Mary. Poor Mr. Deeds has a heck of a time weathering the cynical and nasty folk who live in New York. When he's on trial, getting slandered by hypocrite after hypocrite, things get pretty depressing.

Is it any good?

A snappy plot about a simple man made suddenly rich and a strong performance by Gary Cooper drive this wonderful classic. A strong moral foundation, recommending a big heart over a thick wallet, makes the movie ideal family fare, although younger viewers may get lost within the fast-paced story. Some kids might find the courthouse scenes upsetting. Others may find the notion that Deeds can give away his fortune in any equitable manner a bit hard to believe (especially during the Depression).

But the movie is typical Capra fare: It wears its morals and its sentiments on its sleeve. Everything else, including the soundness of Deeds's financial planning and the dreariness of his trial, is secondary to its ultimate championing of common decency. The movie is buoyed by the two fantastic performances of Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur. He is the charming innocent, she the hard-as-nails city woman. Cooper has the ability to proselytize without sounding preachy, using the honest language of the common man. Arthur is sassy but sweet --a perfect foil.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about this movie's message. What do you think the film maker was trying to say with this movie? Is the message still relevant today?

Movie details

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