Box art for Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee Doodle Dandy


James Cagney danced and sang his way to a well-deserved Academy Award for his outstanding portrayal of vaudeville composer and performer George M. Cohan in this Oscar-nominated biography.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews


- Abel Green, Variety, Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fresh: 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.

- Bosley Crowther, New York Times, Tuesday, May 20, 2003


- Chuck O'Leary, Fantastica Daily, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

2 stars

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.

- fb1038944442, Sunday, April 21, 2013

4 stars

Just filling in movie ratings, folks. A couple of James Cagneys and some airplane flicks. Wish I had more to say. What's up with that, anyway? Not having the energy for journals anymore? To speak freely like so many of us once did? The activity on these things has sharply declined on an aggregate level, I imagine, coinciding with the exodus of departing vets for lives of non-RTness. Are we collectively growing less bored with our age or perhaps more tired of each other? What happened to that urge to be that proud monolith in the crashing sea of internet noise? What hath killed the desire to be defiantly bored and ramble on and on and on and on and on in these (eventual) online epitaphs, all for the world's attention? Movies are to blame! There are some good ones, sure, but so few to really champion among our online brethren. Nothing seems capable of sending our blood to a boil anymore. Where have all the quality juggernauts gone? C'moooon, PJ! Let's rock The Hobbit! That'll lure 'em back to the yard! Just...a few more years of...quiet leaves scuttling on the porch, the gentle breeze of yellowing days our only measurement... And so it is autumn.

- michaelneumann, Thursday, September 20, 2007

5 stars

That gangster James Cagney can sing and dance!! Lots of toe tapping patriotic classics by George M. Cohan. I enjoyed this biopic very much especially for Cagney's against type performance. He is very talented.

- hypathio7, Monday, July 15, 2013