MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 178 this week

Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  February 1948 (USA)
7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 8,197 users  
Reviews: 97 user | 59 critic

A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screen play), 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 titles
created 11 Aug 2011
 
a list of 47 titles
created 11 Oct 2011
 
a list of 31 titles
created 29 Oct 2011
 
a list of 48 titles
created 12 Dec 2011
 
a list of 46 titles
created 05 May 2012
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

Gentleman's Agreement (1947) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Gentleman's Agreement.

User Polls

Won 3 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Sheik (1921)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A charming Arabian sheik becomes infatuated with an adventurous, modern-thinking Englishwoman and abducts her to his home in the Saharan desert.

Director: George Melford
Stars: Rudolph Valentino, Agnes Ayres, Ruth Miller
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Conflict ensues when a young man's childhood sweetheart becomes betrothed to his older brother.

Director: William Nigh
Stars: Ramon Novarro, Joan Crawford, Ernest Torrence
Dodsworth (1936)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A retired auto manufacturer and his wife take a long-planned European vacation only to find that they want very different things from life.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, Paul Lukas
West Point II (1927)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Wealthy Brice Wayne enters West Point and, though he does well on the football field, angers fellow cadets with his arrogance. Disciplined by the coach he yells "To hell with the Corps!" ... See full summary »

Director: Edward Sedgwick
Stars: William Haines, Joan Crawford, William Bakewell
Summertime (1955)
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A lonely American woman unexpectedly finds romance in Venice, Italy.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Rossano Brazzi, Isa Miranda
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Childhood friends are torn apart when one of them marries the woman the other once fiercely loved.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: John Gilbert, Greta Garbo, Lars Hanson
Way Down East (1920)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A naive country girl is tricked into a sham marriage by a wealthy womanizer, then must rebuild her life despite the taint of having borne a child out of wedlock.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Mrs. David Landau
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Rafael Sabatini's story of the swashbuckling era and of Bardeleys, the handsome courtier who could win any woman he set his mind to...and was not above boasting about it to all who would listen.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: John Gilbert, Eleanor Boardman, Roy D'Arcy
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A prince must woo the now wealthy dancer he once abandoned in order to keep her money in the country in order to keep it from crashing economically.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Mae Murray, John Gilbert, Roy D'Arcy
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.

Directors: Orson Welles, Fred Fleck, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Tim Holt, Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Tom Brown shows up at Harvard, confident and a bit arrogant. He becomes a rival of Bob McAndrew, not only in football and rowing crew, but also for the affections of Mary Abbott, a ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: William Haines, Jack Pickford, Mary Brian
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Peg and her father live a simple life in an Irish fishing village. One day Sir Gerald arrives at the village to tell Pat that Peg is heir to estate of her grandfather, who hated Pat. The ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Marion Davies, Onslow Stevens, J. Farrell MacDonald
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Anne Revere ...
...
Elaine Wales
...
John Minify
...
Jane
...
Tommy Green
Nicholas Joy ...
Dr. Craigie
...
Professor Fred Lieberman
Harold Vermilyea ...
Lou Jordan
Ransom M. Sherman ...
Bill Payson
Edit

Storyline

Philip Green is a highly respected writer who is recruited by a national magazine to write a series of articles on anti-Semitism in America. He's not too keen on the series, mostly because he's not sure how to tackle the subject. Then it dawns on him: if he was to pretend to all and sundry that he was Jewish, he could then experience the degree of racism and prejudice that exists and write his story from that perspective. It takes little time for him to experience bigotry. His anger at the way he is treated also affects his relationship with Kathy Lacy, his publisher's niece and the person who suggested the series in the first place. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jewish | bigotry | prejudice | writer | racism | See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Laura Z. Hobson's Gentleman's Agreement  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Among the concerns that the movie's anti-anti-semitic message would stir up a "hornet's nest" was the bizarre belief that "Jewish friendly" films and novels from the time were linked with communism. The fear was not entirely unfounded, as many of the people involved with the film were brought before the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC), including Darryl F. Zanuck, Anne Revere, (perhaps most notoriously) Elia Kazan, and John Garfield. Garfield was brought before HUAC twice, was blacklisted, taken off the blacklist and put back on it again and it was believed that it was the stress of these experiences which led to the heart attack that killed him at the age of 39. See more »

Goofs

When Phil is taking Tommy to meet his (Phil's) mother at Saks Fifth Avenue, they stop in front of the statue of Atlas outside Rockefeller Center. In the shot of the two of them talking, with Fifth Avenue in the background, Saks is directly behind them, diagonally across the street on the right, with St. Patrick's Cathedral on the left. But when Phil looks at his watch and tells Tommy they'd better leave to meet grandma, the two hurry off back north along Fifth Avenue - in the completely opposite direction of the plainly visible Saks. See more »

Quotes

John Minify: I've asked Phil to do a piece on anti-Semitism.
Kathy Lacey: Am I going to get a credit line?
John Minify: You? Why?
Kathy Lacey: Well, don't you remember last winter when that Jewish schoolteacher resigned, and I...
John Minify: Oh, yes. Well, I knew somebody would be asking me for a credit line. I'm always stealing ideas without realizing it.
Kathy Lacey: That's what makes your magazine so original.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Moral Milestone for Hollywood

20th Century Fox currently is releasing a new "Studio Classics" DVD series, each a famous film from the past packaged with often compellingly interesting special features. Few releases are more important than 1947's Academy Award winning "Gentleman's Agreement," a for-the-times daring expose of anti-Semitism, a prejudice rarely if ever before that year acknowledged in film.

Laura Z. Hobson, an accomplished novelist, wrote the book of the same title and it sold well. Hobson unveiled the so-called "Gentleman's Agreement" whereby Jews were excluded from professions, clubs, resorts and employment and residency opportunities as well as simple social associations by a silent compact by mainly white Christians to engage in exclusionary practices. While discrimination against blacks was mandated by unambiguous law supported by inflexible government authority, the relegation of Jews to often second-class status in the dominant Christian community was by deception, denial and deceit.

A Christian, Darryl F. Zanuck was one of the few true Hollywood moguls who wasn't Jewish. He was also intensely offended by bigotry of any kind. Hobson's novel, of no interest to Jewish producers who preferred to live in their own world which consciously often aped the society from which they were barred, was his to buy for the screen. He did so for $75,000 and he set out to find a first-class crew to make the film.

Elia Kazan signed on to direct (and to revise the screenplay after Moss Hart finished it). Gregory Peck, already a box office idol, was chosen to play Philip Schuyler Green, a widower with a young boy (played by Dean Stockwell). Dorothy McGuire is Green's troubling love interest, Kathy Lacey. John Garfield, one of the many Hollywood denizens who changed their names to avoid being typed as Jewish, is Army Corps of Engineers captain Dave Goldman. Celeste Holm won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress as Anne Dettrey. Anne Revere, soon to lose twenty years of productive life because of the Blacklist, is Green's wise mom. June Havoc is Green's secretary, Elaine Wales, who in the film changed her name to get work, her real name being clearly Jewish. Lastly, Albert Dekker is magazine publisher John Minify, a man determined to expose to the light of day the insidious anti-Semitism of his social and economic universe. Unfortunately he's a bit naive about what goes down in his own shop.

This is a message film, direct and uncompromising. Agreeing to write a series exposing anti-Semitism, Green struggles to find a theme while falling in love with the divorced Kathy. His brilliant concept is to pretend to be a Jew and to record how others respond to him, a clearly well-educated, socially competent man, in that guise. His childhood buddy, Goldman, tries to warn him off but Green is determined.

Stridently polemical, the movie traces the growing number of incidents where Green is slighted because of his announced religion. From a building superintendent who doesn't allow a Jewish name on a lobby mailbox to a haughty resort manager of a "restricted" facility (the code word of the time for exclusion of Jews and blacks), Green gets a rapid course in the crude discrimination lurking behind most doors including the high society of his new beloved.

Green's son, told not to reveal that he and his dad aren't Jewish, runs into his own cruel rejection by classmates. Peck's Green lacks the depth of understanding of a child's vulnerability that his Atticus Finch later displays in "To Kill a Mockingbird." The boy is basically told that the other kids are wrong, we're right and that's that. Too simplistic even for this movie. Green is adamantly and unwaveringly sure of himself and woe betide any who do not share his abhorrence at any manifestation of discrimination, starting with Kathy.

The romance between Green and Kathy is as back-and-forth as any Hollywood potboiler, the difference being that their arguments and falling-outs revolve entirely over Kathy's inability to grasp the absolute righteousness of her fiance's crusade. The dispute is artificial and wearying to some degree and I rooted for Celeste Holm's lovely, witty and totally tolerant Anne, a fashion editor with attitude, as the top gal in the film. I would have married her in a New York minute!

Younger audiences today may well dismiss "A Gentleman's Agreement" as formulaic and preachy but they do not understand the nature of the tragedy, and that it was, that afflicted America at the time. The war had been won, the Cold War was getting into high gear and Nazi criminals were on trial in various European courtrooms. The reality of the concentration camps was known to all but already many had accepted the belief that only some Germans and their allies were actual murderers. Holocaust studies had not begun.

The period of "A Gentleman's Agreement" was a time in which many top colleges and universities that didn't ban Jews entirely had what are now acknowledged as "Jew quotas." Many Jewish doctors didn't enter that profession because that's what their moms wanted but due to the near blanket exclusion of Jews from engineering schools. Architecture schools also had a low quota for Jews (Louis Kahn's experiences are recounted in the current and outstanding documentary, "My Architect"). Whole communities lived by a sub rosa agreement never to admit Jews (and blacks), often solidifying their intent by restrictive covenants that courts enforced). What added to the awfulness of the prejudice is that communities comprised of Jews usually excluded blacks and other non-whites. No Caucasian group, whatever their religion, deserves exoneration for the acts they practiced against minorities. Blacks get no mention in this movie but lynchings were still in vogue-let's not forget that.

For many Americans harboring anti-Semitic beliefs, the bestiality of the Nazis was far more troubling than the fate of millions of their innocent victims, Jewish or not. Decrying Auschwitz in no way caused them to re-think less lethal but highly pervasive discrimination that they practiced or, as the film shows, disliked but nonetheless condoned without protest.

In that sense "A Gentleman's Agreement" was Hollywood's, actually Zanuck's, wake-up call. The politics of the producer, director, screenwriter and much of the cast aren't hidden. Several references to Bilbo and Rankin, two of the most evil racists and bigots ever to pollute Congress's halls, are as direct and clear as the sharp DVD images. And it's no surprise that virtually everyone associated with this film went on to be called by the House Un-American Activities Committee to be questioned about ties to communism (John Garfield died at age 39 of a heart attack the night prior to a second command appearance before that run-amuck committee). That committee hunted communists publicly but pursued a barely hidden anti-Semitic agenda and Hollywood provided plenty of potential victims.

The special features on this disc include a short documentary on its genesis and the subsequent reaction to the film as well as interviews with several stars including the still imposing Celeste Holm. Zanuck and Kazin deserved their Oscars as did Ms. Holm.

"A Gentleman's Agreement wasn't the only film to highlight anti-Semitism at that time. In fact it wasn't the first such film of 1947. Released shortly earlier, "Crossfire" starring Robert Ryan is a film noir capturing the violent bigotry of a thug who kills a Jewish victim for little better reason than his religion. An exciting film in its own right, its importance is secondary to Zanuck's which blew the lid - almost literally - off a brand of discrimination indulged in by educated and affluent Americans who would never commit assault or murder against anyone because of their race or religion.

Hollywood's Jewish moguls must have been surprised at the success of Zanuck's movie which in a small but real way began rolling back the kind of anti-American bigotry that the congressional committee investigating Tinseltown not only didn't care about: they shared it.

10/10 (for its historical impact and lasting value)


22 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Mr. Green's Treatment of His Secretary atlantajoseph
One of the most boring, overrated films ever. xerxes_legend
Anne or Kathy? sunrise333-1
I had no idea... AlbinoAl
Very Powerful Scene FrizzKWest
movies on Anti-Semitism kodanuki
Discuss Gentleman's Agreement (1947) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?