If there's any quintessential American drama, it's this one. It's about patriotism, Washington, and an underdog vs. the machine of politics. Although the film came out in 1939, it still packs the same punch now as it did then. Jimmy Stewart's performance as the naďve boy scout nominated for senate is masterful, no one performance ever made me smile when on the screen (save maybe Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump). He is so incredibly wonderstruck when he arrives in Washington you can't help but smile. And what's first on his agenda as senator? To construct a boys camp in his home state so boys from all over the nation can come get a better sense of nature. And how is it funded? He plans to BORROW money from Washington. Awww…isn't that adorable? I mean come on.
But the film isn't really about the 'wonders' of Washington. It's more about how one senator can make compromises to better his future, and one who refuses to. The sequence of events in the film really makes your jaw drop, especially because you come to realize that some of what goes on in the film goes on in real life. We can only hope that every politician in Washington is a 'Jefferson Smith.'+4