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The Good Earth (1937)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  6 August 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 3,351 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 21 critic

The story of a farmer in China: a story of humility and bravery. His father gives Wang Lung a freed slave as wife. By diligence and frugality the two manage to enlarge their property. But ... See full summary »


, (uncredited) , 2 more credits »


(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Good Earth (1937)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Tilly Losch ...
Jessie Ralph ...
Soo Yong ...
Elder Son
Roland Lui ...
Younger Son
Suzanna Kim ...
Little Fool
Ching Wah Lee ...
Harold Huber ...
Olaf Hytten ...
William Law ...
Mary Wong ...
Little Bride


The story of a farmer in China: a story of humility and bravery. His father gives Wang Lung a freed slave as wife. By diligence and frugality the two manage to enlarge their property. But then a famine forces them to leave their land and live in the town. However it turns out to be a blessing in disguise for them... Written by Tom Zoerner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

farmer | famine | slave | money | city | See All (253) »


China . . . . Land of unrest . . . tomorrow they may Starve !


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 August 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La buena tierra  »

Box Office


$2,800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Because the Sino-Japanese war was in progress, the Chinese government threatened not to approve the movie if any Japanese actors were cast in any role. See more »


During one scene, Wang Lung beats his son for being with his second wife. As the son crawls away, it is obvious he was protected by wearing a thick pad on his back. See more »


Aunt: When a farmer buys silk robes and washes his whole body every day, there's a woman. That's sure !
Uncle: But a rich man may have two wives but the wife must cling to her husband. That is as it should be.
Aunt: That's right. A woman is allowed but one mistake.
Uncle: Of course. Now then, it is said: you may see a teapot with four teacups, but did you ever see a teacup with four teapots ?
Aunt: It is also said: do you ever see two spoons in the same bowl that do not knock against each other ?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The type-style used appears to be lettering hammered into brass. Even the style of the letters seems to be from china or Asia. Note the style on "N" and "O". See more »


Featured in The Slanted Screen (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Blockbuster That Retains Its Magic
5 April 2003 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

Sure, 65 years have passed since Thalberg's last production was filmed. But fellow IMDB members, come on, this movie is surely one of the masterpieces of the 30's! It is a 10.

This was the first movie I saw at New York's Museum of Modern Art, around 1970 (I was a teenager). Expensive looking yet with scenes of such poverty, masterfully photographed, often thrilling, and always engaging, to me it was MGM movie-making at its best. What did audiences feel when they glimpsed a locust attack, the person by person destruction of a mansion, the horrific poverty and then the splendor of wealth.

Last week, those watching the Academy Awards had a glimpse of the "senior" Oscar winner in attendance, Luise Rainer. How grand to see an actress who arguably delivered one of the most masterful, haunting performances in history electing to return for a celebration.

Ok, so she should not have won the year before (Great Ziegfeld), but don't blame Luise. Talkies were only a decade old when this was released, and her dialogue limited. But as Olan, her use of visual and vocal is memorable.

Large scale and touching, what more could a movie lover want!

32 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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