Powerful Senator Joseph Paine (Rains) ensures the appointment of young Jefferson Smith (Stewart) as interim junior Senator of his state, on the basis that he will be too green to ruffle the cozy Washington establishment. Paine then assigns female D.C. operative Clarissa Saunders to be Smith's handler. Initially stunned by her charge's sheer idealism and can-do attitude, she finds it harder than expected to control the freshman Senator. When one of Smith's first initiatives threatens a lucrative project championed by Paine, the embattled young man gets a first, bitter taste of cutthroat politics. Still, he won't back down.
Frank Capra's potent morality tale remains one of actor Stewart's finest moments. (Indeed, when he won the Oscar the following year for "The Philadelphia Story," Stewart considered the award delayed compensation for "Smith.") Stellar support comes from Arthur as the conflicted Clarissa, Rains (superb as the ruthless Paine), not to mention recurring Capra players Edward Arnold and Thomas Mitchell. (Trivia Note: Mitchell actually appeared in five Oscar-nominated pictures that year!) Over 75 years after its release, "Mr. Smith" remains one of our finest political dramas. Don't miss that classic filibuster scene!