The FBI Story (1959), starring Jimmy Stewart, Vera Miles
Synopsis of The FBI Story
The FBI Story is a Hollywood biography of the early years of the FBI, told via flashback through the life story of one of its early agents.
Review of The FBI Story
As with most Hollywood biographies, The FBI Story needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Having said that, Jimmy Stewart does a wonderful job of portraying the early FBI agent. The story intertwines his personal life story with that of the agency. The story works well, with the various personal moments mingling well with the agency’s growing pains.
At one point, Jimmy Stewart’s best friend and partner Sam (Murray Hamilton) is killed in the line of duty. And Jimmy’s wife (played excellently by Vera Miles) wants him to leave the agency. She has a very legitimate fear of becoming a widow, and can’t live with the stress. After all, she married a lawyer, not an FBI agent. She even leaves him for a time, although they reconcile in the end.
Years later, Sam’s son is in training to become an agent and doesn’t think that he can pass muster. He asks Jimmy’s character to not try to talk him out of it. Jimmy doesn’t — but apparently, his lovely young daughter succeeds. And World War II intervenes, with Jimmy and Vera’s son making the ultimate sacrifice at Iwo Jima.
The FBI Story is an entertaining movie, that’s not terribly tied to historical accuracy.
Cast of characters
- James Stewart (You Can’t Take It With You) … John Michael ‘Chip’ Hardesty
- Vera Miles (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) … Lucy Ann Hardesty
- Murray Hamilton (No Time for Sergeants) … Sam Crandall
- Larry Pennell (Our Man in Jamaica) … George Crandall
- Nick Adams (Die, Monster, Die) … John Gilbert ‘Jack’ Graham
- Diane Jergens (High School Confidential) … Jennie Hardesty
- Jean Willes (No Time for Sergeants) … Anna Sage
- Joyce Taylor (Twice Told Tales) … Anne Hardesty
- Victor Millan … Mario
- Parley Baer (Two on a Guillotine) … Harry Dakins
- Fay Roope (The Atomic Kid) … Dwight McCutcheon
- Ed Prentiss … U.S. Marshal
- Robert Gist … Medicine Salesman
- Buzz Martin … Mike Hardesty
- Ken Mayer … Casket Salesman
- Paul Genge … Whitey – Espionage Agent
[Updated January 16, 2023]