What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this classic gem from 1939 includes lots of smoking (cigarettes, pipes, cigars) consistent with the era and some drunkenness. Even though much of the movie takes place in Senate chambers, there are still a few violent moments including a gun shot, paper boys punched and nearly run down by goons, and the main character punching crooked reporters. Punching aside, the titular Mr. Smith is an otherwise great role model, holding onto his strong convictions even when it seems like everyone is against him. Kids will not only get to see the Lincoln Memorial but learn a bit about how the Senate operates and see a filibuster in action.
- Families can talk about the difference between compromise and corruption. Do politicians have to do some bad things to make other good things happen? Is Mr. Smith a realistic character?
- Families can also talk about the difference between being honest and being smart -- and what's more important to them. Saunders says that "all the good that ever came from this world came from fools." What does this mean?
- Jeff gets slammed by the unscrupulous press and fights back -- with his fist. Would the media treat him the same today? How is the press the same? How is it different now? How would CSPAN and the Internet have helped Jeff Smith's cause?