Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) - Rotten Tomatoes

Yankee Doodle Dandy1942

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)




Critic Consensus: James Cagney deploys his musical gifts to galvanizing effect in Yankee Doodle Dandy, a celebration of patriotic fervor as much as it is a biopic of George M. Cohan.

Yankee Doodle Dandy Photos

Movie Info

The life of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer, and singer George M. Cohan.

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James Cagney
as George M. Cohan
Walter Huston
as Jerry Cohan
Rosemary DeCamp
as Nellie Cohan
Richard Whorf
as Sam Harris
Irene Manning
as Fay Templeton
Jeanne Cagney
as Josie Cohan
Frances Langford
as Nora Bayes
Minor Watson
as Ed Albee
Eddie Foy Jr.
as Eddie Foy
Chester Clute
as Harold Goff
Douglas Croft
as George (age 13)
Patsy Lee Parsons
as Josie (age 12)
Jack Young
as Franklin D. Roosevelt
Audrey Long
as Receptionist
Odette Myrtil
as Mme. Bartholdi
Clinton Rosemond
as White House butler
Spencer Charters
as Stage Manager in Providence
Dorothy Kelly
as Sister act
Marijo James
as Sister Act
Henry Blair
as George (age 7)
Jo Ann Marlowe
as Josie (age 6)
Pat Flaherty
as White House guard
Leon Belasco
as Magician
Syd Saylor
as Star Boarder
William B. Davidson
as New York Stage Manager
Harry Hayden
as Dr. Lewellyn
Francis Pierlot
as Dr. Anderson
Ann Doran
as Receptionist
Dick Chandlee
as Teenager
Joyce Horne
as Teenager
Frank Faylen
as Sergeant
Wallis Clark
as Theodore Roosevelt
John Hamilton
as Recruiting officer
Georgia Carroll
as Betsy Ross
Dick Wessel
as Union Army veteran
James Flavin
as Union Army Veteran
Thomas E. Jackson
as Stage manager
Sailor Vincent
as Schultz in 'Peck's Bad Boy'
Fred Kelsey
as Irish Cop in 'Peck's Bad Boy'
Tom Dugan
as Actor at Railway Station
Garry Owen
as Army clerk
Murray Alper
as Wise Guy
Creighton Hale
as Telegraph operator
Frank Mayo
as Hotel clerk
George Meeker
as Hotel Clerk
Eddie Acuff
as Reporter
Walter Brooke
as Reporter
Bill Edwards
as Reporter
Lee Murray
as Jockey
Poppy Wilde
as Chorus Girl in 'Little Johnny Jones' Number
Charles Smith
as Teenager
Leslie Brooks
as Chorus Girl in 'Little Johnny Jones' Number
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Critic Reviews for Yankee Doodle Dandy

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (4)

Raucous, vulgar, over long.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

You will find as warm and delightful a musical picture as has hit the screen in years, a corking good entertainment and as affectionate, if not as accurate, a film biography as has ever -- yes, ever -- been made.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Yankee Doodle Dandy is rah-rah, no matter how you slice it.

February 13, 2001 | Full Review…

The greatness of the film resides entirely in the Cagney performance.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

It is an ideal attraction for every American theater, every American theaterman, and every theater-goer in America.

July 24, 2020 | Full Review…

It's not the movie of a great man; it's the movie of a great idea: Democracy. [Full Review in Spanish]

September 17, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Yankee Doodle Dandy


Yankee Doodle Dandy is a cliche packed, guilty pleasure, made sublime by the galvanic performance of James Cagney as song and dance man George M. Cohan. Directed by the capable Michael Curtiz, who could apparently direct anything, it also has gorgeous B & W cinematography from the great James Wong Howe and wonderful supporting performances by some great Warner Brothers contract players like Walter Huston, S.Z. Sakall (Carl from Casablanca) and Cagney's sister Jeanne playing his movie sister. The main reason to see this is for the joyful musical numbers, in particular, the title song, Give My Regards to Broadway, and It's a Grand Ol' Flag. Cagney doesn't even try to sing but spits out the lyrics with bravado and hoofs so engagingly that you can't take your eyes off him. He's no Fred Astaire, but he has such a wonderful fluid style and such a compact, lithe athleticism that he's just as watchable. The overblown chorus numbers are crackling entertainment, but be warned that they are not even half of the film's running length, so you'd have to skip through your DVD menu to avoid the schmaltzy and often maudlin scenes, like the elder Cohan's deathbed scene, which I ate up for dinner, but are for old movie fans only. Cohan comes off as arrogant and self-absorbed, but Cagney infuses him with humanity and warmth, so we can see why his family, friends and business associates might put up with him. I have no idea how accurate YDD is to reality, apparently Cohan was a nasty fellow who tried to bust the actor's union and had a savage cruel streak. Not here. The drama such as it is, has all the essential show biz bio flick scenes: the early struggling years, the hero's comeuppance, huge success straining the personal relationships, and the decline when the hero is considered a relic of the past, culminating in a big unexpected comeback. The film is book ended by a visit when Cohan is summoned to the White House by Roosevelt, where he related his life story to the President, who seems to have a lot of time to listen (the two hour length of the movie) especially during WWII, where you'd think the man might have more pressing concerns. This is not at the top level of the great old musical bio flicks, but it's lots of fun. It's really not much without Cagney, and fortunately this film offers a heaping helping of him.

Josh Morris
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer


This is a great musical. I love the old style musicals where the song and acting are separate. Sure, the song can tell a story, but this shows that the cast can dramatically act as well. It was a well done film all around with great music, acting, writing and inspiration. I had a lot of fun watching this one and if you like the old black and white films, this is one to watch.

Jon Lantz
Jon Lantz

Super Reviewer


The music was the only thing good about this film.

erika bruhns
erika bruhns

Super Reviewer

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