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Classic Scene

6

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON
"I'm not licked"

SETTING THE SCENE  James Stewart plays Jefferson “Jeff” Smith, an idealistic young politician battling corruption. Framed and discredited, he fights back by appealing to ordinary citizens from the floor of the U.S. Senate. After holding the floor for “23 hours and 16 minutes” he is near collapse when he makes his desperate closing speech…

There's not compromise with the truth. That's all I got up on this floor to say, when was it, a year ago it seems like. Just get up off the ground, that’s all I ask. Get up there with that lady that's up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won’t just see scenery. You'll see the whole parade of what man’s carved out for himself after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so’s he can stand on his own two feet free and decent like he was created, no matter what his race, colour or creed. That's what you'd see. There's no place out there for graft or free or lies or compromise with human liberties. If that's what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them then we’d better get those boys' camps started fast and see what the kids can do. It's not too late because this country is bigger than the Taylors or you or me or anything else. Great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They’re right here, you just have to see them again... I guess this is just another lost cause. Mr. Paine. All you people don't know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does... you knew that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any others. Yes, you even die for them, like a man we both knew, Mr. Paine... you think I’m licked. You all think I’m licked! Well I'm not licked! I’m going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause even if this room gets filled with lies like these and the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen to me! Some... (He faints dead away and, vindicated by Sen. Paine’s sudden confession, is carried out to tumultuous cheers...)

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