Capra is perhaps the greatest of the American mythmakers, that is, makers of the American myth, as much for his idealized heroes as for his institutional villains. Jimmy Stewart (George Bailey, Mr. Smith) and Gary Cooper (Mr. Deeds, John Doe) embody so well the American innocent, the true believer in the principles set forth in the founding documents of the nation, that we want to love and respect them, along with Donna Reed, Barbara Stanwyck and Jean Arthur. But it is the villainous capitalists, the bankers, politicians, media tycoons and lawyers played by Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold and Douglas Dumbrille, that give these films their complexity and longevity. These are the characters that still resonate today, nearly 75 years later. In these cynical times, it is hard to believe in the Stewart and Cooper characters (although we want to), but the corrupt characters are as familiar as today's headlines.