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The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Approved | | Drama, History | 15 March 1940 (USA)
2:24 | Trailer

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A poor Midwest family is forced off of their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.



(screen play), (based on the novel by)
4,098 ( 109)
Top Rated Movies #202 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Zeffie Tilbury ...
Frank Sully ...
Frank Darien ...
Shirley Mills ...
Roger Imhof ...


Tom Joad returns to his home after a jail sentence to find his family kicked out of their farm due to foreclosure. He catches up with them on his Uncles farm, and joins them the next day as they head for California and a new life... Hopefully. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The most discussed book in years - now comes to the screen to become the most discussed picture in ages See more »


Drama | History


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Highway 66  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Ford banned all makeup and perfume from the set on the grounds that it was not in keeping with the tone of the picture. See more »


One of the cars (License plate 263 with the silver bed springs sticking out the back) evacuating the Department of Agriculture camp site leaves the camp twice, once before the Joads pack up and once after. See more »


Uncle John: He is telling the truth... the truth for him.
See more »


Referenced in Grace Under Fire: Grace of Wrath (1997) See more »


A Tisket, A Tasket
Background music during the first scene
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Fine Cast & Production
26 October 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This classic adaptation of "The Grapes of Wrath" features a fine cast as well as a skillful production headed by director John Ford. Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell are well-remembered for their roles, which are among the defining roles in their careers. The only limitations that it has come from the original novel, with its heartfelt but sometimes contrived story.

Besides Fonda and Darwell, the supporting cast features plenty of good supporting players, including Charley Grapewin and John Carradine. All of them make their characters come alive believably. They also fit together well and complement one another's performances, which accentuates the themes involved in the struggles of the Joad family.

For all that the Steinbeck novel is so revered, and for all that his story is an often compelling depiction of its characters, with whom many in the era could identify, it would have been better if it had not been so heavy-handed. Even given that the times were bad, more balance in the characters outside of the family, and in the Joads' experiences, would have made it an even better story. Certainly, this is barely even noticeable when compared with the stories in many present-day movies and novels, which often dispense with any attempts at plausibility.

And that does not stop this adaptation from being a worthwhile and often moving film. Ford clearly appreciated the potential in the material, and he and the cast work together to make each character count, and to give meaning to each scene.

21 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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