Frank Capra was among the most revolutionary and influential directors to ever walk on Earth. There is little doubt that Frank Capra was an American cinematic genius since his films endured to enthrall and motivate fans long after their release. There is a Frank Capra film for every occasion and every urge, no matter if you’re scouring the shelf for a lighthearted romance, a serious political melodrama, or a heartwarming Christmas masterpiece. With that being said, here’s the list of the best cinematic brainchildren of Frank Capra:
It Happened One Night (1934)
Ellie Andrews, the film’s protagonist, is an affluent and beautiful lady whose family hates the idea of her getting married to the person she loves. Ellie hops on a train bound for the Big Apple in the hopes of seeing her fiancé again. During the commute, she strikes up a conversation with Peter Warne, an alcoholic columnist who has hit hard times and is seeking an interesting scoop that’ll skyrocket his stale career. The stranger promises to provide Ellie a transport to the Big Apple in lieu of a coveted article after he identifies her from her dad’s media advertising promising a prize for her homecoming. Ellie doesn’t think much of Peter at first; however, as they journey together, the two gradually become best pals.
The Bitter Tea Of General Yen (1933)
The movie follows the story of Megan, a Christian evangelist from the United States, who travels to China to wed her fiance and share the gospel with the locals. But Megan’s preparations are derailed when a renegade battling the Chinese Nationalist government, General Yen, kidnaps her. In spite of her initial apprehension, Megan learns to respect General Yen as a multifaceted and sophisticated person who is much unlike her first impression. Megan comes to rethink her own ideas and morals as she increases her interactions with the latter and develops affection for him. Trouble arises in their connection since General Yen is betrothed to a stunning Chinese lady who feels the same way about him.
You Can’t Take It With You (1938)
The drama follows the lives of the Sycamores, a dysfunctional household that makes its home on New York City’s Upper West Side despite its many drawbacks. Martin, the leader of the household, is a knowledgeable and compassionate guy who has given up the contemporary corporate treadmill in favor of encouraging his loved ones to do the same. Alice Sycamore, the sanest of the clan, falls head over heels for Tony Kirby, the heir of a rich and possessive industrialist. But things get out of hand when Tony and Alice’s family arrive to visit and run headfirst into the Sycamores’ unconventional way of living. As the two different sets of parents work to understand one another’s children, an incredibly funny and touching sequence of occurrences leads to a joyful and witty conclusion. The film’s journey is interwoven with discussions on romance, friendship, and the value of pursuing one’s passions.
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)
Deny all you want, but in my personal opinion, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the best movie I’ve ever seen. The movie follows Jefferson Smith, a brilliant and ambitious gentleman who is elected to join the United States Senate. Smith moves to Washington, D.C., with the intention of serving his nation and influencing changes, but he soon discovers that the government in the nation’s capital is not as positive as he had hoped. Smith quickly learns that he is nothing more than a puppet in a crooked legislative structure dominated by a cabal of lawmakers and wealthy businessmen. Smith faces opposition from both political parties as he attempts to combat injustice and defend his ideals. Smith’s impassioned and motivational address on the floor of the Senate serves as the film’s conclusion and is widely regarded as one of the most iconic sequences ever captured on film.
Meet John Doe (1941)
The movie depicts tabloid columnist Ann Mitchell as she faces the loss of her career. Ann, desperate to maintain her job, fabricates a letter from a disillusioned “John Doe” who intends to kill himself on Christmas Night to denounce the current status of the society. Ann encourages her supervisor to launch a PR blitz centered on “John Doe” once the message goes viral. To her astonishment, the initiative begins to develop an identity and momentum, and individuals all throughout the nation start to see themselves as the anonymous “John Doe.” It becomes clear to Ann as well as her supervisor that they must recruit a genuine man to assume the role of John Doe as the campaign gains momentum.
Arsenic & The Old Lace (1944)
Mortimer Brewster, a prominent and sophisticated stage journalist, learns that his kind and aging aunts are, in fact, psychotic murderers who prey on lonesome people with arsenic-laden homemade drinks. Mortimer’s deranged sibling Teddy, believes that he is the 26th President of the United States of America, and buries the dead in the cellar while under the impression that they are excavating arches for the Panama Channel. Mortimer struggles to conceal his family’s crimes and safeguard his relatives as the corpses mount up and the authorities get concerned. The film’s rapid-fire language, bodily humor, and the multitude of eccentric personalities combine for a memorable and entertaining viewing experience.