The film is as powerful today as it was at the Award for Best Picture a few years after the end of the Hitler genocide in Europe. 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. 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.”  At the time, Hollywood was rather reluctant to explicitly mention Judaism, and perhaps no less discreet. Perhaps one of the few Hollywood films that preceded the word J was charlie Chaplin`s great dictator in 1940. And the high concept of the film becomes so serious, so misleading and presented with such a lack of self-confidence or preventive cynicism that one cannot help but smile at the dramatic moment when the idea is revealed.
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. The film was an unexpected box office success. According to Variety, he earned $3.9 million in rent in the United States in 1948. In 1947, the Oscar for Best Picture was awarded to Gentleman`s Agreement with Gregory Peck as a campaign reporter on a mission. The awards for Best Director were also awarded to Elia Kazan and Best Supporting Actress to Celeste Holm. At first glance, this sounds like a “publishing film” rather worthy of the 1940s, the kind of film the Academy thought it was honoring. But gentleman`s Agreement is always a captivating, fascinating, somewhat boring, by turns naïve and very sharp film, fascinating for what it puts and omchant.
And Judaism and Judaism are almost completely absent. It is an important (and coherent) part of the film`s liberalism to emphasize that it is humanly impossible to distinguish between the Jew and the non-Jewish. But there is no visible Jewish home, no Jewish culture, no menora, no synagogue. Dave is — important — far from home and trying to find a place to rent. Phil and his fiancée meet a famous Jewish scientist, Fred Liebermann (Sam Jaffe), and he is an exotic European intellectual, like Albert Einstein, who talks about Zionism and the Palestinian homeland.