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The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  15 March 1940 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 53,767 users  
Reviews: 289 user | 71 critic

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

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(screen play), (based on the novel by)
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Top 250 #191 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Dorris Bowdon ...
Rosasharn
Russell Simpson ...
O.Z. Whitehead ...
Al
...
Eddie Quillan ...
Zeffie Tilbury ...
Grandma
Frank Sully ...
Frank Darien ...
...
Winfield
Shirley Mills ...
Ruthie
Roger Imhof ...
Thomas
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The thousands who have read the book will know why WE WILL NOT SELL ANY CHILDREN TICKETS to see this picture! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Highway 66  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Production began only four weeks after John Ford finished work on Drums Along the Mohawk (1939). Because of this, most of the pre-production work was done for him ahead of time, including the hiring of Gregg Toland as cinematographer, who along with art directors Richard Day and Mark-Lee Kirk planned much of the look of the film based on a vast array of research photos and documents. See more »

Goofs

The same shot, from slightly different angles, of the Joads' truck crossing the desert at night is used twice, showing a single large cactus in the foreground and three sets of lights in a row on a mountain in the distance. See more »

Quotes

Tom Joad: If there was a law, they was workin' with maybe we could take it, but it ain't the law. They're workin' away our spirits, tryin' to make us cringe and crawl, takin' away our decency.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Visions of Light (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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.


18 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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