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The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

 -  Drama  -  15 March 1940 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 46,174 users  
Reviews: 262 user | 83 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 #181 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Grandpa
Dorris Bowdon ...
Rosasharn
Russell Simpson ...
O.Z. Whitehead ...
Al
...
Eddie Quillan ...
Zeffie Tilbury ...
Grandma
Frank Sully ...
Frank Darien ...
...
Winfield
Shirley Mills ...
Ruth Joad
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 most discussed book in years - now comes to the screen to become the most discussed picture in ages 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

While filming the Joads' car traveling down the highway, John Ford wanted to add a shot showing the large number of caravans heading west, so the film's business manager stopped actual cars making the trek and paid the drivers five dollars to escort the Joads' jalopy for the cameras. See more »

Goofs

As Tom walks across the dance floor after saying goodbye to his mother his shadow goes to his left. When the point of view changes, the shadows are perpendicular to this, coming from behind his mother. See more »

Quotes

Tom Joad: I been thinking about us, too, about our people living like pigs and good rich land layin' fallow. Or maybe one guy with a million acres and a hundred thousand farmers starvin'. And I been wonderin' if all our folks got together and yelled...
Ma Joad: Oh, Tommy, they'd drag you out and cut you down just like they done to Casy.
Tom Joad: They'd drag me anyways. Sooner or later they'd get me for one thing if not for another. Until then...
Ma Joad: Tommy, you're not aimin' to kill nobody.
Tom Joad: No, Ma, not that. That ain't it. ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Frasier: Where There's Smoke, There's Fired (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played on guitar and Sung by Eddie Quillan
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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