(CCC, BBB, V, AA, M) Very strong Christian, biblical worldview promoting truth and justice; no foul language, but there’s a humorous joke about being a jackass; some fighting and a stabbing, plus a young woman unexpectedly dies; no sex; no nudity; alcohol including drunkenness; pipe smoking; and, lying and bearing false witness against innocent men, but rebuked.
YOUNG MR. LINCOLN is one of the famous Hollywood movies that made 1939 such a great year in movies. Directed by the great John Ford, it stars Henry Fonda Abraham Lincoln in his younger years, first starting his practice defending two young men accused of murder. It has numerous references to the Bible and promotes the importance of justice.
The movie opens with Lincoln being shown to be very well liked in his community with certain political skills. With a very little formal education, but considerable reading and study, he decides to try his hand as a lawyer. His common sense approach to justice and his sense of humor serve him well.
Lincoln attends a county fair, judges a pie contest, wins a rail splitting contest, participates in a tug of war, and winds up the evening saving two men accused of murder from a lynch mob. He uses Scripture to disperse the angry mob.
Lincoln then takes the job of defending the two young men against several high-powered lawyers for the state, including his political rival, Stephen Douglas, played by a young Milburn Stone, who was Doc on TV’s GUNSMOKE. The murder actually seems a rather cut-and-dried case of two men fighting one man, resulting in the one stabbed to death. However, like Perry Mason, Lincoln digs deep to find an unexpected truth. He’s especially angered by the tactics of the prosecutor, who tries to force the two young men’s mother to say which of her sons might have stabbed the dead man. How can you ask a mother to choose between her two boys, Lincoln passionately asks the jury?
Henry Fonda’s portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in YOUNG MR. LINCOLN is simply masterful, both thoughtful and humorous. Audiences come away seeing how Lincoln could eventually become president. He has a simple honesty and a very clever way with words that draws an audience’s attention and support. YOUNG MR. LINCOLN is one of Director John Ford’s best movies. It has many of the traits he would later put to use in many of his great westerns, including the use of the same music during a movie’s most emotional, touching moments.
In real life here are a few Abraham Lincoln’s gems:
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
Movieguide® highly recommends this family classic.
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