The Magnificent Yankee (1950) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Magnificent Yankee (1950)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Magnificent Yankee Photos

Movie Info

Louis Calhern repeats his Broadway role as Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in this 1950 cinemazation of Emmet Lavery's stage play The Magnificent Yankee. The film is for the most part confined to the Holmes home in Washington, where the good gray judge parries affectionately with his level-headed wife Fanny (Ann Harding). A steady stream of historical personages parade through the Holmes manse, including jurist Louis Brandeis (Eduard Franz) and novelist Owen Wister (Philip Ober). The death of his wife devastates Holmes, but only briefly; he ends up serving his country for nearly forty years. The British title of Magnificent Yankee was The Man With Thirty Sons, a somewhat misleading reference to the Harvard Law graduates whom Oliver Wendell Holmes sponsored. Also available on videocassette is a 1965 TV production of Magnificent Yankee, starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Louis Calhern
as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Ann Harding
as Fanny Bowditch Holmes
Eduard Franz
as Judge Louis Brandeis
Ian Wolfe
as Mr. Adams
Philip Ober
as Mr. Owen Wister
Jimmy Lydon
as Clinton
Edith Evanson
as Annie Gough
James Lydon
as Clinton
Charles Evans
as Chief Justice Fuller
John Hamilton
as Justice White
Dan Tobin
as Dixon
Robert Griffin
as Court Crier
Stapleton Kent
as Court Clerk
Everett Glass
as Justice Peckham
Marshall Bradford
as Head Waiter
Holmes Herbert
as Justice McKenna
George Spaulding
as Justice Hughes
Todd Karns
as Secretary
Freeman Lusk
as Announcer
Sherry Hall
as Reporter
Jack Gargan
as Reporter
Dick Cogan
as Reporter
Tony Merrill
as Reporter
Robert Board
as Secretary
Wilson Wood
as Secretary
James H. Horne
as Secretary
Gerald Pierce
as Secretary
Lyle Clark
as Secretary
David Alpert
as Secretary
Tommy Kelly
as Secretary
Bret Hamilton
as Secretary
Jim Drum
as Secretary
John Phillip Law
as Court Page (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for The Magnificent Yankee

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

The Magnificent Yankee is a splendid contribution to American history.

July 30, 2019 | Full Review…

The theatrical Calhern mauls the process of growing old into a picturesque joke of rheumatism, fatigue, diminishing powers.

November 24, 2020 | Full Review…

Low key near-documentary biopic, with interesting sidelights in US history and culture.

December 5, 2016 | Full Review…

So inoffensive and so insignificant, it makes you wonder why a film version of Emmet Lavery's play was either desired or delivered...there's just no apparent motive.

January 23, 2004 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Magnificent Yankee


Very enjoyable bio-pic with a light touch to the material a great help from making it seem like a history lesson. Louis Calhern is simply great in the title role. He and Ann Harding have a wonderful easy camaraderie as Holmes and his wife making it believable that they are a long time married couple.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

The Magnificent Yankee Quotes

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