The Good Earth (1937)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  6 August 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,394 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 »


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(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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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?


Sam Wood directed the "robbing of the big house" sequence, some retakes and other additional footage. See more »


Unexplained sequence of events or possible error in continuity. Toward the beginning of the film, Farmer Wang walks to the Great House to meet his bride, O-Lan. He is carrying a basket. It appears to be empty. As he enters a market, the farmer declines to buy peaches. We don't see him purchase goods or trade for anything. We don't see him filling the basket. However, the next scene shows him at the door of the house with a full basket. Later, he does buy peaches. At this point, however, we're still not made aware how he has money or silver. See more »


O-Lan: When I go back in that house, it will be with my son in my arms. I'll have a red coat on him... and red flower trousers... and a hat with a gilded Buddha and tiger-faced shoes, and I'll go into the kitchen where I spent my days as a slave and into the great hall where the old mistress sits with her pipe, and I'll show myself and my son to all of them.
O-Lan: [Smiles, contented] Hmm.
Wang Lung: Well... Now, I... I haven't heard you speak so many words since you came to this house.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Introduction played with opening credits: The soul of great nation is expressed in the life of its humblest people. In this simple story of a Chinese farmer may be found something of a the soul of china - its humility, its courage, its deep heritage from the past and its vast promise for the future. See more »


Referenced in My Three Sons: The Good Earth (1967) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Wonderful movie, with stellar performances

Let's eliminate any discussion about the use of non-Asian actors playing Asian roles. The movie is 67 years old. In 1937 studio chiefs believed that any actor could/should be able to play any role. Actors were under contracts, and did not always have a choice about what role they played. End of story.

This is a truly great epic story of love, individual rights, class strata, and men/women issues. The centerpiece of the film is two brilliant performances by Luise Rainer and Paul Muni.

Muni plays Wang, a Chinese farmer, who is about to take a wife (Rainer). From the start, he treats her with respect, during a time when women were looked on as little more than hired help. Without giving too much of the movie away, they go through the highs and lows of all relationships, and even though the story may take place in late 19th/early 20th century,the story and much of their feelings, seems credible.

Other than the fact that the movie is about 5-10 minutes longer than it needs to be, and the performances of Charley Grapewin and Walter Connolly are typical 1930's cartoon characters, this is a really wonderful movie that, unfortunately, has become a victim of political correctness.

9 out of 10

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