The film was an unexpected box office success. According to Variety, he earned $3.9 million in rent in the United States in 1948.  I`ve seen a lot of people describe this film as “a play of time” and a great film, but irrelevant in our time. But this film has lessons that any new generation should learn. The lessons taught in this film can be applied to other forms of prejudice such as sexism, racism and homophobia, among others. Even today, our society is full of “nice” people who hate bigotry and intolerance, but who stand idly by when they get there directly. If you watch this movie, it could change everything. The film was controversial in its day, as was a similar film on the same theme, Crossfire, released the same year (while this film was originally a story of homophobia, which was later turned into anti-Semitism). Gentleman`s Agreement not only won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director, but was also one of Fox`s most successful films in 1947. However, the political nature of the film angered the House Un-American Activities Committee, with Elia Kazan, Darryl Zanuck, John Garfield and Anne Revere all called to testify before the committee.
Revere refused to testify, and although Garfield appeared, he refused to “give names.” Both were placed on the red channels of the Hollywood blacklist. Garfield remained on the blacklist for a year, was again called to testify against his wife and died of a heart attack at the age of 39 before his second hearing. The film mentions three real people known for their bigotry: Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo, who advocated the return to Africa of all African Americans; Mississippi MP John Rankin, who called columnist Walter Winchell a “little kike” in the hallway of the house; and the leader of the Christian nationalist crusade Gerald Smith, who sued the film Twentieth Century-Fox Corp. to prevent the film from being screened in Tulsa. He lost the case, but Smith sued Fox for $1,000,000 through the court system, which ultimately dismissed it in 1951. Gentleman`s Agreement is the kind of film that contains the usual drama of a Zanuck movie, but the subject is what makes the film so pioneering. Gentleman`s Agreement was generally well received by the influential New York Times critic, Bosley Crowther. Crowther stated that “every point about the prejudices that Miss Hobson had to make in her book was made with superior illustration and more graphic demonstration in the film, so that the momentum of her moral indignation is not only broadened, but is strengthened.” But Crowther also said the film shared the novel`s failures by “narrowly limiting explorations at the social and professional level of the upper class, to which it is immediately exposed.” He also said that the main character`s shock at the scale of anti-Semitism lacked credibility: “It`s an extraordinarily naïve role in careful analysis.”  Philip Schuyler Green, a widowed journalist, comes from California to New York with his son Tommy and his mother to work for Smith`s Weekly, a leading national magazine. John Minify, the publisher, wants Phil to write a series about anti-Semitism, but Phil is lukewarm about commissioning. At one party, Phil Minify`s niece meets Kathy Lacy, a divorcee to whom Phil is attracted, and Kathy reminds her uncle that she proposed the series some time ago.