Great Characters Wiki

"I wouldn't give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn't have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too."

Jefferson Smith is the titular protagonist of the 1939 Frank Capra film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He's newly appointed United States Senator after Sam Foley suddenly passed away, and fought against a corrupt political system.

He was portrayed by James Stewart.

Why He Rocks

  1. James Stewart's performance was very emotional, especially during the second half.
  2. Even before he's introduced, he was the leader of the Boy Rangers, and put out a large forest fire on his own.
  3. He's very optimistic and generous throughout the film. He also stands out as the most pure and noble person in a jaded and corrupt world and he even gets to change various people for the better and gave them some character development.
  4. Despite having no political experience, he still managed to do a decent job as a Senate, as he wanted to set up a Boy Ranger camp so the scouts could go out into nature.
  5. He's shown to be a serious determinator. During the filibuster he managed to go nearly 24 hours without sitting down or leaving the room, just so he clear his name after Paine framed him, and to make sure his camp got set up. It's enough to give Captain America a run for his money.
  6. Not only is he inspired by the American culture in the Lincoln Memorial, he's also fair and respectful as shown during the Gettysburg Address scene.
  7. His speech in the filibuster was very inspirational.


  • Jefferson Smith came in 11th place in the Heroes category on AFI's 100 Heroes and Villains countdown.