Great Characters Wiki

Senator Joseph Paine is the secondary antagonist of the 1939 Frank Capra film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He was once a crusading reformer, but gradually became corrupt, and helps political "boss" Jim Taylor try to ruin idealistic Senator Jefferson Smith.

He was portrayed by Claude Rains.

Why He Rocks

  1. He's not your standard antagonist character, he's shown to have a personality, and is a very complex character.
  2. Claude Rains gives an incredible performance as the character, including the scenes where he fights is conscience, and switching between good and corruption.
  3. Despite being a corrupt senator, he is a genuinely kind, goodhearted man who is ashamed of his crimes.
  4. Throughout the film, he's shown signs that he wasn't happy working for Jim Taylor, and tried to protect Smith from the Taylor machine several times.
  5. He shown to be a great schemer, as shown when he managed to frame Smith for the Willet Creek dam.
  6. He ultimately redeems himself by publicly exposing Taylor's corruption and his own part in it, doing the right thing even at the cost of his career.