Ann Vickers (film)

Ann Vickers is a 1933 American Pre-Code romantic drama directed by John Cromwell and starring Irene Dunne and Walter Huston. It is based on the novel of the same name by Sinclair Lewis.

Ann Vickers
Directed byJohn Cromwell
Tommy Atkins (assistant)
Produced byPandro S. Berman
Written byJane Murfin
Based onnovel Ann Vickers
by Sinclair Lewis
StarringIrene Dunne
Walter Huston
Edited byGeorge Nicholls, Jr.
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • September 26, 1933 (1933-09-26) (New York City)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States


After a military officer (Bruce Cabot) gets Ann Vickers (Irene Dunne) pregnant and leaves her, she chooses to terminate the pregnancy. Feeling conflicted and regretful, Ann devotes herself to social work, taking a job in a women's prison. However, when she tries to improve the conditions there, she loses her job. She instead writes a book about the harsh realities of the prison and begins a romance with a married judge, Barney Dolphin (Walter Huston). This helps her career but frustrates her wish for a family.



In the novel, Ann Vickers is a birth control advocate and reformer who has an extramarital affair. The screenplay for the 1933 film was approved by the Production Code only when RKO Radio Pictures agreed to make Vickers an unmarried woman at the time of her affair, thus eliminating the issue of adultery.

The reaction of leading American Roman Catholics to the content in this film and The Sign of the Cross led to the formation in 1934 of the Catholic Legion of Decency, an organization dedicated to identifying and combating what it viewed as objectionable content in films, usually by threatening a boycott.[1]


  1. Black, Gregory D. (1996). Hollywood Censored: Morality Codes, Catholics, and the Movies. Cambridge University Press. pp. 162–164. ISBN 0-521-56592-8.

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