7.8/10
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The Good Earth (1937)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 6 August 1937 (USA)
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 »

Directors:

, (uncredited) | 2 more credits »

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

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

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Lotus
...
...
Cuckoo
Soo Yong ...
...
Elder Son
Roland Lui ...
Younger Son
Suzanna Kim ...
Little Fool
Ching Wah Lee ...
...
Cousin
Olaf Hytten ...
William Law ...
Gateman
Mary Wong ...
Little Bride
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Storyline

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 <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 August 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La buena tierra  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,800,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Hays Office--the de facto censorship board in Hollywood--supervised every Hollywood script at the time and insisted on rewrites to remove contentious subject matter. In all, they demanded more than 20 rewrites. See more »

Goofs

During the drought some black vultures are seen on a roof. These are American birds which do not live in China. See more »

Quotes

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

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 »

Connections

Featured in Northward, Ho! (1940) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Classic story given distinguished screen treatment and cast to perfection
27 June 2001 | by (Clifton, Virginia) – See all my reviews

Pearl Buck's story of the ups and downs of a Chinese peasant family is adapted for the screen in a stately and dignified manner. Extreme respect is paid to the characters, who are given ample screen time to mature and develop. The roles are filled by actors who are able to get inside their characters without ever giving the impression that they are `performing,' and their performances are all the richer for it.

The story begins on the wedding day of Wang Lung (Paul Muni), a kind and gentle farmer. His wife, O-Lan (Luise Rainer), bears his sons and quietly encourages him to pursue his dreams, no matter what sacrifices they entail from her. The family lives through a famine and finally achieves prosperity and success. However, with success comes greed and corruption, and soon Wang is buying large plots of land and the Great Hall at which O-Lan was a servant. Eventually, he takes a second wife and breaks ties with all who were once close to him. It takes a tragedy for him to see the error of his ways.

All the while O-Lan stands behind him, supporting every decision he makes in her own tranquil way. Rainer's Oscar winning portrayal, like O-Lan herself, is the glue that holds the story together. Muni, often prone to hamminess in his work, shows restraint here and contributes a beautiful, multifaceted performance. The cinematography, which also received an Oscar, is excellent, as are the special effects. A sequence which involves locusts, invading the crops by the million, is nothing short of unforgettable. It is storytelling in the grandest sense of the word, with strong characterizations, high production values, and an engrossing story which more than justifies `The Good Earth's status as a classic.


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