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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)
4,207 ( 33)
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 thousands who have read the book will know why WE WILL NOT SELL ANY CHILDREN TICKETS to see this picture! 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

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Ford was considered an odd choice for director as he was a staunch conservative who would here be tackling a fairly political subject - the treatment of the Okies. Ford surprised his critics by delivering probably his most sensitive film. See more »


Tom Joad's semi-retarded brother, Noah, vanishes after the swimming-in-the-river sequence. In the book, Noah believes he's a burden on the family and runs away. In the film, no explanation is given for his disappearance. See more »


Casy: I wouldn't pray just for a old man that's dead, 'cause he's all right. If I was to pray, I'd pray for folks that's alive and don't know which way to turn.
See more »


Referenced in Spin City: The Burgers of Wrath (2000) See more »


Red River Valley
Played during the opening credits and often in the score
Sung by Henry Fonda at the dance
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

My experience of living the movie, its so true to life
28 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie is so real..at least to this person, who lived these things that happened in the movie. I will tell a short version of my personal life to let you know how it affected me from my own experience of growing up in the Thirties

I think their must have been more then one car because ours was full of stuff in the back seat, clear up almost to the roof. Frankie, Bill and me (my brothers) all was on top of the stuff in the back seat, had to stay lying down was not enough room to set up. What I remember most about the trip was it was awful hot when we went through Arizona and we had not much water, the water we had was in a canvas bag, hooked to the front bumper to help keep it cool. We did not get much because dad was saving it for the car when the car got to hot. Mom told us to suck on pebbles, and we did. It was a bad time every where. No jobs or anyway to make any money.

We were going to California because their was suppose to be some picking work their, after we got to California we saw miles of potatoes all loose piled up high my guess would be about six feet high, they had put lime or something that looked like lime it was a white powder to keep people from taking them to eat.

We found a place to pick plums that they used to make prunes and we lived in a Quonset hut made of corrugated metal setting on a concrete slab. The public toilets were near were we stayed, Joe and his wife (Family friends)had their own Hut…this was the time that dad & Joe would sell tickets for people to watch them box each other in a ring at the recreation hall on the property. Also they joined a baseball team and played baseball, dad played left field. We got to watch them play for free.

Seems like Frankie and I played together a lot don't think Bill did because he was still a baby his self, Doris and Dorothy (my sisters) was still crawling so Bill could not have been very old at that time. Frank & I would go pick up plums off the ground and we would bring them home, Doris and Dorothy would set in the box and eat them. You can guess what they would look like when mom and dad got home, their was no air condition back then so they would take a hose and squirt water on the tin Quonset hut to try and cool it off some, I know when we went west we looked like those grapes of wrath folks in the movie.

That area was the first time I ever saw a frog walk, it was to hot for them to hop, when they tried to hop their bellies would touch the ground ( gravel) and would burn them, any way that's what we thought at that time. I saw the movie of Grapes of wrath a long time ago, and I remember it so well, I cried most of the time it was on because it reminded me of the hard time we all had back then, I was born in Oklahoma and it was just a terrible time in the late thirties I would love to see the movie again, its to me a history of my family, I am 71 1/2 years old now and still remember it very clearly.

Gene McDaniel

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Why was it called 'The Grapes of Wrath'? Fffianist
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