Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Directions: Watch the filibuster clip from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and use the questions below to discuss the themes of the film.
- What democratic themes do you see represented in the clip?
- Why does Mr. Smith’s speech resonate with us today?
- How is the filibuster represented in the film?
- To what extent does Mr. Smith hold the Senate hostage?
- How is freedom of the press represented in the clip?
- How is freedom of speech represented in the clip?
- What responsibility does Mr. Smith have to speak the truth, even if that means going against his constituency?
- How does the clip show the balancing of individual concerns of senators and the common good of the country?
- How would this clip look different if it were filmed in the present day?
- Does this clip, as the reporter says, show democracy in action? If so, in what ways?
- Do you recognize any of the works he quotes? Which ones? What do you think they reveal about the theme of the movie?
- What do you think he means when he says, “…it’s the blood and bone and sinew of this democracy that some great men handed down to the human race”?