IMDb > Of Mice and Men (1939)
Of Mice and Men
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Of Mice and Men (1939) More at IMDbPro »

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7.8/10   4,653 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
John Steinbeck (by)
Eugene Solow (screen play)
View company contact information for Of Mice and Men on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 January 1940 (USA) See more »
Unbridled "realism!" defying every tradition of the screen ! See more »
Two itinerant migrant workers, one mentally disabled and the other his carer, take jobs as ranch hands during the Great Depression to fulfill their shared dream of owning their own ranch. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins See more »
(29 articles)
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User Reviews:
One of the best from Hollywood's greatest year See more (59 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Burgess Meredith ... George Milton

Betty Field ... Mae Jackson

Lon Chaney Jr. ... Lennie Small

Charles Bickford ... Slim

Roman Bohnen ... Candy

Bob Steele ... Curley Jackson

Noah Beery Jr. ... Whit
Oscar O'Shea ... Jackson

Granville Bates ... Carlson
Leigh Whipper ... Crooks

Helen Lynd ... Susie
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Silver Tip Baker ... Old Hand (uncredited)

John Beach ... Ranch Hand (uncredited)
Baldwin Cooke ... Ranch Hand (uncredited)
Whitney De Rahm ... Ranch Hand (uncredited)
Eddie Dunn ... Bus Driver (uncredited)
Henriette Kay ... Girl (uncredited)
Jack Lawrence ... Ranch Hand (uncredited)

Howard M. Mitchell ... Sheriff (uncredited)

Barbara Pepper ... Second Girl (uncredited)
Carl Pitti ... Ranch Hand (uncredited)
Charles Watt ... Ranch Hand (uncredited)

Directed by
Lewis Milestone 
Writing credits
John Steinbeck (by)

Eugene Solow (screen play)

Produced by
Lewis Milestone .... producer
Frank Ross .... associate producer
Original Music by
Aaron Copland (musical score by)
Cinematography by
Norbert Brodine (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Bert Jordan (edited by)
Art Direction by
Nicolai Remisoff 
Makeup Department
Ernie Young .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nate Watt .... assistant director
Art Department
William Stevens .... interior decorations (as W.L. Stevens)
Joseph MacDonald .... property master (uncredited)
Sound Department
William Randall .... sound recordist
Elmer Raguse .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Roy Seawright .... photographic effects
Rex Rossi .... stunt double: Bob Steele (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Wallace Chewning .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Tom Evans .... still photographer (uncredited)
Vic Jones .... gaffer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Harry Black .... wardrobe supervisor
Music Department
Irvin Talbot .... conductor
George Bassman .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Sam Harris .... from the stage play produced by (as Sam H. Harris)
George S. Kaufman .... from the play staged by
Hal Roach .... presenter
Budd Boetticher .... horse wrangler: second unit (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
106 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono | Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Argentina:13 | Finland:K-16 | Sweden:15 | UK:PG (DVD rating) | UK:A (1940) | USA:Approved (PCA #5797)

Did You Know?

One of the first films to have a pre-credits opening sequence.See more »
Revealing mistakes: George and Lennie eat canned beans. The beans are heated before they open the cans, and they hold the cans barehanded.See more »
George Milton:[to Slim as they are washing up] It ain't so funny about me and Lennie travelin' together. We growed up together. At first I made fun of Lennie. I use to play jokes on him 'cause he was too dumb to take care of himself. He was too dumb to even know when jokes was being played on him. You know, it made me seem smart alongside of 'em.See more »
Movie Connections:
References A Chump at Oxford (1940)See more »


How does the movie end?
How are we to interpret the ending?
How do the girls at the bar introduce themselves?
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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
One of the best from Hollywood's greatest year, 10 March 2008
Author: JimB-4 from United States

Just saw this again. It's been one of my five or six favorite films since I was a teenager, but I hadn't seen it in years.

Wow. It really holds up. And looking at it through the eyes of someone who's been acting for thirty-odd years rather than the eyes of a teenager really makes a difference. There's some really fine work in this movie. I've never quite believed Burgess Meredith did (or could do) a day of hard labor like bucking barley in his life, and it's very tempting to think of what someone else might have done with the part. (Lewis Milestone tried to borrow first James Cagney and then Humphrey Bogart for the part. Neither would have been terribly convincing as guys who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, and I have a hard time thinking of Bogart in the role. Cagney would have been very interesting, even if not quite right.)

This time through, I paid close attention to the acting work of people I'd never given much thought to in that regard, as far as this movie goes. Charles Bickford is really good, and Betty Field is superb. The movie was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture (of 1939!!), but none of the actors was nominated. Of course it was a tough year, one of the toughest ever. But in another year, I suspect Lon Chaney Jr. would have been nominated for the performance of his career. His performance has been so imitated over the years that it might not seem so special nowadays, but I tried to find something to critique about it and I simply can't. He's believable and heartbreaking without seeming, to my eyes, the least bit forced. But the standouts are Leigh Whipper and particularly Roman Bohnen, who play Crooks and Candy, respectively. Whipper had played Crooks on Broadway and his experience with the role shows. Crooks's forthrightness about the burdens of being the only black man in a white community are a little startling for 1939, as is his disdain for the whites who enter his "sanctuary" uninvited. Bohnen is just remarkable, one of the most heart-wrenchingly touching performances I've ever seen. (Not surprisingly, he gave another such performance as Dana Andrews's father in THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES.)

Aaron Copland's music and scoring were both nominated for Oscars. Copland only composed six feature film scores (the others: OUR TOWN, THE NORTH STAR, THE RED PONY, THE HEIRESS, and SOMETHING WILD). OF MICE AND MEN was his first. Every score of his I've heard is a masterpiece, and it's hard to say which is "best." Suffice it to say that his first is a contender, and one of the best film scores ever written.

Although based on Steinbeck's novel, the film owes much to the play Steinbeck also wrote. Lewis Milestone manages to avoid any sense of being stage-bound, though his wide-open-spaces shots are quite limited. I was really impressed by his staging. There's one really nice shot of Meredith and Bickford talking in a barn. As Meredith leaves, the camera pulls back, keeping both actors in frame, until the entire interior of the barn is revealed and shown to be huge, much larger than it had felt. It's a simple shot made by a clear master.

I'm not a great fan of Gary Sinise's remake, particularly as to how the ending was handled. The one great advantage Sinise had was color. There are shots in the 1939 version where I could imagine the color and where I felt robbed by its absence. It's not a black-and-white film that particularly exults in its black-and-whiteness. Had it had a larger budget, perhaps it could have been made in color, which would have served it very well. But all in all, I'm thrilled that this favorite of mine for decades holds up and actually exceeds my fond memories.

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