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The Grapes of Wrath
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Grapes of Wrath More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The grapes of wrath

Author: orangehead225 from Clifton Park, NY
21 October 2009

OK so this was kind of a long movie. It was sad. Some of the things I noticed in this movie were, how they kind of flashed backwards which is something I haven't seen in one of our movies. I liked the shot with the 3 shadows of the men standing there after they were told to get off there land. I thought that was a nice and different camera move. Some other things I saw during this movie is when they lit the candle in the house to see if anyone was there there was still a back light. where was that coming from? another thing was the sound. When the wind storm was rolling in it was extremely loud and if you looked around not everything was moving from these terrible winds. another thing was I liked the fact that they used a montage effect of all the signs when they were traveling from Oklahoma to California. The last thing i notice is when the family reached the Colorado river and they all got out to look at the beautiful sight, there voiced sounded as if there were on a set and not in an open area. over all I did like the movie but it was sad Megan

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Grapes of Wrath

Author: simplesimon419 from United States
20 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a sad movie, but with very powerful imagery. I was dreading this movie because I knew how depressing the book was, although I read it long ago. I was going to watch it in two stages, but once I started watching it, I could not stop until it was over it was so compelling. Some of the characters were a bit flat, with the exception of Tom Joad and the preacher. I cannot believe John Carradine as the preacher was the same actor who played the gambler in Stagecoach. Both very amazing performances. I liked this movie better than Citizen Kane, much better. The scenery, lighting, and cinematography really pulled you in to the story. The views of the skyline and vastness during their journey added to the entire feeling of the film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Grapes of Wrath review

Author: baddman316 from United States
13 October 2009

The grapes of wrath is so realistic and breath taking, it will leave you in a world of emotions. it is the story of the Joad family, who are kicked off their land in Oklahoma because of drought and poverty. Since there wasn't a lot of variation on the black and white cinematography in 1940's, the lack of color increases the emotions of wholeness,poverty and emptiness due to the family's foreclosure and forcing them to move. The Grapes of Wrath is merely not a cutting edge sit at the end of your seat film, but it is a realistic portrayal of the suffering that so many people and families experienced during the Great Depression. The performance by the actors and the work of the production company couldn't be more on its mark. the experience is not only powerful and moving but also educational.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A moving story of the effects of Poverty and another warning from history

Author: John Schofield from England
9 August 2009

This film although made almost seventy years ago is as relevant today as it was then. It depicts a family struggling to survive the effects of a depression and trying to do the right thing in spite of enormous suffering and degradation. You could make a similar film today and probably film it anywhere in the world. There were millions starving in the world both in 1940 and now almost 2010 and without sounding too pessimistic I cannot see an end to this situation. I am not interested in politics mainly because politicians worldwide generally are not interested in changing anything for the better. Thats not to say that I don't hope for a better future but I think it unlikely that my dream of no poverty will ever come true. The situation is the same as it always was and has been the same for centuries and millions have died as a result. That is not just my particular opinion that is a fact. If you are down you will rarely get any help and indeed you are more likely to be taken advantage of because there is always someone that has the power and the lack of empathy to do that. This film graphically sets out what can happen should you and your family find yourself in a similar position. I would recommend anyone watch this film as another timeless classic. To me 'The grapes of wrath' is another warning from history, it seems we collectively are not listening.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A really well made heavy handed drama.

Author: Boba_Fett1138 from Groningen, The Netherlands
30 September 2008

You know, some movies are just made as pure drama's. They are purely made to bring emotions to the screen and their heavy handed. You just know that from start till finish there will be nothing to enjoy about the movie and it is going to be as serious as it can get. "The Grapes of Wrath" is such a drama, so if you don't like heavy, serious drama's, this just ain't the movie for you to watch.

Because the movie is so incredibly heavy handed and self righteous, this perhaps isn't the masterpiece everybody telling you it is but there is no denying that the movie is really well made and also features some great acting performances. But because it's such an extreme drama it often feels forced as well and causes the movie to be a long watch, even though it really isn't a that long movie. It's just a movie with a real slow pace and yes I would definitely call it boring in parts, even though lots of (dramatic) things are happening within this movie. It really isn't the most exciting movie to watch and therefore also not really a very effective one. Even though I could appreciate the movie for what it was, it just didn't ever grabbed me with its emotions, story or characters, no matter how very well it all got done.

But no, I obviously didn't hated this movie, on the contrary really. Seriously, how can you hate such a well crafted movie like this? Even though this movie got released in the early '40's it still has a real typical '30's look and feeling over it. The '30's really used to be the era of some of the best and most effective drama movies.

It's a movie that obviously got well directed, by John Ford, who loved to make real 'American' movies. His movies always have something proud and patriotic about it but without the flag waving and such. To the main crowd he is perhaps best known for the work he did within the western genre, with movies such as "Stagecoach" and "Rio Grande" under his belt.

It's also a beautiful looking movie with its cinematography and sets and costumes, which really suits the time period the movie got set in.

It has a really great story and amazingly enough things like this really happened back then in America. I didn't knew anything about this piece of history, so I definitely learned something new from it. It's a pretty amazing story and you would have a hard time believing it if you didn't know that things like this really happened in the past. The first halve of the movie is basically a road trip with lots of drama to it obviously, while the rest of the movie also tends to be very dramatic, when the family constantly tries to settle down where ever there is work (and more trouble).

Henry Fonda really plays a great role and he himself also considered it to be the role out of his career. He also received an Oscar nomination for his role. The movie also has an amazing supporting cast, with for instance fine acting performances from Jane Darwell and John Carradine. Darwell even won an Oscar for her part in this movie. It was one of the 2 Oscar's this movie received. The other was for director John Ford. Both deserved their win I would say. The movie got nominated in 5 more categories, including Henry Fonda's nomination.

Perhaps not the masterpiece I was expecting, it was too overdone and heavy handed for that but nevertheless one great movie, that I surely appreciated watching.


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Visually compelling adventure movie

Author: stalker vogler from Xanadu
29 January 2008

Having seen a bunch of Ford movies, The Grapes of Wrath appears even more complex on a visual level than others. Not that Stagecoach or The Searchers aren't compelling visually but they're nothing like this. Largely, we have to thank the talent of Gregg Toland for making everything happen so well. His efforts together with Ford gave us, in the same year, this movie and another close-to-masterpiece visual work unfortunately marred by a weaker script, The Long Voyage Home. In both these movies Ford works with a cast of many and the focus of the story isn't on a particular character, the lead, but on a bunch of characters. Both movies should really be watched as being "about" a group rather than about characters taken separately.

It is very hard, if not impossible to render the subject of a book to the screen and at the same time give as much flesh to the characters as in the lengthy book. What Ford does is to focus on the adventure element, the way a group of people changes as they move along into the unknown, a very mature idea for the time when studios were more concerned with pulling off a movie on account of an actors' stardom. I don't think that TGOW is really about the depression era, if it is interpreted that way it falls quite quickly into cheap liberal propaganda. Most of the movie (and Ford in general) is a simplified version of "the facts" and, as the book itself, not so accurate as many would have us believe. But think of this movie as adventure and you get a different picture. Treating it as pure fiction leads to pure enjoyment. The movie is almost a combination of Western and Noir, it's Stagecoach gone Noir. And this is no wonder since the cinematography of Gregg Toland is by now acknowledged as a great influence on the decade to follow.

The sweeping long shots and the lighting in confined places (the jalopy, the tent, the house at the beginning etc) are extraordinary. In several places light feels almost substantial. What has to be kept in mind is that most of the camera-work serves a very defined visual purpose, it's not there only to impress. One exceptional moment is near the beginning when the tractor destroys the house and you clearly see the shadows of the homeless cut by the tire-tracks of the tractor. The camera follows the path of the destroying machine until it reaches an old rocking chair, the only thing left standing, probably the chair where grandpa used to sit and tell stories. That is a very subtle moment of visual poetry that expresses drama better than a thousand words (Ford is rightly regarded as a master, think at The Searchers, the way it begins and ends and the significance for the whole film)

This is not a fulfilled masterpiece but it remains a landmark nevertheless.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Perfect: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell and John Ford

Author: AndersonWhitbeck from United States
10 December 2007

20th Century Fox and John Ford brought John Steinbeck's classic novel to the screen and created a perfect movie.

Henry Fonda gives one of the truly great performances of any actor in the history of the movies and becomes Tom Joad. Fonda's performances conveyed Integrity and never more appropriate than in this film. I must also praise to high heaven the work of one of Hollywood's fabled character actresses Jane Darwell. Ms. Darwell conveys more emotion in some scenes than some actresses in a lifetime. Desperation, Loneliness, Futility, Darwell encompasses all the great values that make a Mother. Jane Darwell is Mother Courageous. Fonda and Darwell's parting scene is one of the most achingly memorable scenes in film History, if one cannot share their feelings one has to be made of stone. My only critique of the film is its ending.I would have preferred one more to the book than one that the great legendary John Ford delivered.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Quintessential American movie with memorable performances

Author: ambimom from New Jersey, USA
9 July 2007

It is rare when the movie is as good as the novel from which it is adapted, but sometimes the stars align in just the right way and a masterpiece is created. That's this movie. John Ford is remembered for his westerns, but this is his finest work, by far, and he's not alone here. Watching Henry Fonda telling Jane Darwell "I'll be there," gives me goosebumps every time. One of the best actors this country ever produced, this performance is his absolute best in a career filled with memorable performances. Which brings me to John Carradine, the superb character actor. The subtlety of his characterization is so deft, you forget that you're watching a movie. You owe it to yourself to see the finest representation of a soon forgotten art of telling a story in black and white, literally. See this movie. You won't be disappointed!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"That's what makes it ours – living on it and dying on it"

Author: Steffi_P from Ruritania
15 October 2006

For the adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic novel, the obvious choice for director was probably not John Ford, who was at that time best known for historical dramas. However, if the setting was not typical John Ford then its themes of family relationships, community spirit and social outcasts persevering in the face of all adversity certainly were. It was also a task which members of Ford's stock company of actors – Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine and John Qualen – were more than suited to.

Considering it is a contemporary drama shot in black-and-white, the images in Grapes of Wrath are startling, from the opening shot of a distant Henry Fonda approaching a crossroads to Jane Darwell's close-up monologue with which the films closes. The director of photography was Greg Toland, one of the best in the business at the time. Combined with Ford's effortless talent for shot composition the results are among the finest images in black-and-white cinema.

Ford knows exactly when to edit and when to move the camera, usually for maximum emotional impact. In a scene where Ma Joad is burning some personal possessions in preparation to leave the farm, he cuts to a dirty mirror reflection of her. It's hard to explain how but it works perfectly. He also makes far more use of close-ups than is his norm, building up a greater level of intimacy and bringing the emotions to the fore. This occasionally makes the lengthy patches of dialogue seem a little corny, but this is often a problem with motion pictures adapted from novels which few directors have managed to get round successfully.

John Carradine performs in what was probably the best role of his life as the preacher Casey. He's cast completely against type (he usually played sinister villains), but he makes the role his own, creating a character who appears simple on the surface, but is full of down-to-earth wisdom and humanity underneath. There's also a small yet memorable appearance from another Ford regular, John Qualen, who gives a spirited performance as the farmer Muley. In what are some of the best scenes in the film he vents his anger and frustration at being turfed off his land, eventually breaking down until he's nothing but a ghost of his former self.

Despite Ford winning Best Director at the Academy Awards for Grapes of Wrath (one of only two Oscars it received), it's probably more a classic borne out of group effort than the vision of one man. For a start, the plot is sourced from a great novel, itself brilliantly adapted by Nunally Johnson. That is combined with a great cast of actors and of course Greg Toland's cinematography. Ford definitely felt more at home when making a western. Having said that, he was never someone to do a sloppy job, and I'm by no means suggesting his Oscar wasn't deserved, but that's not what makes this a memorable picture.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great classic

Author: nnnn45089191 from Norway
13 July 2006

I was surprised at the depiction of brutality and misery in this great classic.Even more surprised that the director was John Ford.This must be his greatest film.Henry Fonda has gotten much credit for his portrayal of Tom Joad through the years and although he is marvelous, I think he has been better in some of his later films. One of the cinema's greatest supporting performances belongs to Jane Darwell as Ma Joad.She's simply magnificent and deserved the Oscar she got for her portrayal.There are some really harrowing scenes that show the misery of poverty and exploitation by the wealthy class.The stark photography by Gregg Toland underline the bleakness of existence in the great depression.One of the best movies I have seen,both thought-provoking and emotional.

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