Actually, most iPods can play MP4 files. While it is possible you have an iPod model that doesn't support MP4, there may be other factors getting between you and portable movie viewing.
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iPods that Play MP4
Most of the new iPods can play MP4 files. The exception being any model of the screen-free iPod shuffle and the newest iteration of the iPod Nano. The third, fourth and fifth generation of the iPod Nano were capable MP4 players. The iPod classic has had video playback since 2006, additionally all models of the iPod Touch can play MP4 files.
MP4 is a container format; it only specifies how the audio and video are packaged. So if a media-player specifies that it can play an MP4 file, it just means that it can open the container that the audio and video are inside. However, once the MP4 container is opened, the iPod still has to decode the media within.
There are a myriad of video formats and codecs, and of course iPods can't play them all. You can use iTunes 6 and above to make your MP4 playable on your iPod. Import the video into the iTunes library, then use the "Advanced" tab to "Create an iPod or iPhone Version."
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