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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Grapes of Wrath Review

Author: hourmatt326 from United States
8 October 2014

I enjoyed The Grapes of Wrath more then I have enjoyed John Ford's classic western types of movies. I found the story of the family a lot more interesting then I thought I was going to and in this movie you start to care about all the charters involved in the story which makes it a better movie if it can pull that off with a good story. Henry Fonda as Tom gives a great performance and really brings the story forward revolving around him. John Ford as did a great job directing and the film looks great and is really clean which for me makes the watching the movie a lot better. That is why The Grapes of Wrath gets an 8/10.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

classic narrative of the Depression dispossessed, including Exodus, with somewhat optimistic ending

Author: weezeralfalfa from United States
6 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Judging from the large number of reviews of this film, compared to most other well regarded films from this era, this must still be regarded as a classic portrayal of the plight of the rural poor during The Great Depression, dispossessed of their rented or sometimes owned land and home, forced to flee to distant overcrowded greener pastures or cities. Actually, this flight had begun around 1920, after the collapse of agriculture produce prices with the ending of WWI. Although only white Americans are depicted, African Americans were leaving southern states, especially, in large numbers during this period and subsequently. Although the Joads understandably didn't see it that way at that time, population dislocations, due to technological progress or resource exhaustion and resource discoveries is an unfortunate integral part of relatively recent history. This film dramatizes the generally greater adverse effect of such dislocations on the elderly, who have often invested near a lifetime in their dispossessed property and lifestyle, thus are more reluctant to abandon the familiar for a distant unknown, and are more likely to die trying to get there under rather primitive traveling conditions, as dramatized in this film. This particular point is more thoroughly emphasized in the subsequent film "Wild River", in which an elderly woman landowner refuses to leave her lifelong home and plantation, until forced to, even knowing it would soon be drowned by the rising waters behind a new TVA dam. In that case, the woman didn't die of traveling stress. Apparently, she simply willed herself to die, out of depression. She had no desire to start a new life in the TVA-financed alternative property awarded her, in spite of all the immediate and long-term benefits claimed by the TVA rep for the building of that dam.

Instead of looking for work in some city, as many did, the Joads hoped to land some temporary labor jobs in the oversaturated farming lands of CA. They are put off by the primitive living conditions, thuggish guards, lack of work, very low pay, and high cost of basic supplies at the several farms owned privately. Later, they discover the more humane living conditions and friendlier attitude at a federal government-sponsored farm. This is, in effect, a plug for the New Deal projects designed, at least partly, to help alleviate much of the poverty and unemployment. The implication is that well off individuals and companies were only interested in exploiting the downtrodden, not in helping them reestablish decent living conditions. As Tom Joad, Henry Fonda, in articulating his parting ambition to act as a superman, helping the downtrodden, is really articulating some of the general goals of the New Deal and the liberal political agenda. He himself, as an accused murderer on the run and parolee, isn't likely to achieve much of what he claims he wants to do. But well-healed responsive governments could help the downtrodden in their fights against exploiting capitalists. That is the main message. Of course, in reality, this is an oversimplification. By developing new technologies and discovering new resources, private individuals and companies potentially gradually improve the living standards of their workers and consumers, with a degree of competition generally a positive influence.

A few years before, Fonda had starred in "You Only Live Once", in which his character is paroled from a prison term for some youthful robberies, with the help of his acquired girlfriend. But, potential employers are put off by his status as a parolee, hence he can't keep a decent job, then is soon judged guilty of a large bank robbery he had nothing to do with.. Later, he accidentally kills a man during a prison break just before his scheduled execution, engineered by his girlfriend. They are later gunned down in an ambush near the Canadian border. Rather reminiscent of the historical Bonnie and Clyde, of the times. In all, a pessimistic comment on the refusal of society to ignore the past transgressions of people, especially poor people, in giving them a real opportunity to make amends. This film was made during the depths of the depression, whereas the present film, with its more optimistic ending, was made as the US was beginning to pull out of the depression, with the beginnings of producing materials relating to WWII.

Jane Darwell, who plays Ma Joad, played an important role in the prior "Ramona", which also included Russel Simpson(Pa Joad), and John Carridine(Casy, in the present film). The plot of this film has some strong resemblances to that of the present film. but, the victims of forced evacuation of their homes and fields are Christianized California Indians, soon after CA had been wrested by the US from Mexico. Like the Joads, they packed up their minimal belongings and traveled to some unknown destination. Unlike the other, hostile, Americans, Jane's character was friendly and accommodating to these Christianized Indians. Near the end, she gives a lengthy encouraging speech, with a gist similar to her optimistic speech at the end of the present film. Thus, Jane's character is presented as sort of equivalent to the federally-sponsored farm in the present film. In contrast to the present film, "Ramona" was filmed in 3-strip Technicolor. B&W was probably a better choice for the present film.

Another relevant film: "Sullivan's Travels"('41) explores the largely urban dispossessed during The Depression, and their prejudicial treatment by the legal and penal systems.....Of course, Ford soon followed the present film with the plight-of the-mining community tear jerker "How Green Was My Valley". Ford liked to champion the underdog, and the discriminated minorities, of which he, as an Irish Catholic, was one.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Average family during the Great Depression endures many hardships

Author: shinc-030
30 September 2014

So much for a story about fruit, The Grapes of Wrath is way much more than that! This film may start off quiet and dull, but it leads to a much more action-packed plot! Although different from the original book, the film still does include the major points and the overall themes of the story. The Grapes of Wrath is a story about a poverty stricken family, the Joads, who migrate from their home in Oklahoma to California in search of work and a better life. The main antagonist is poverty which is enhanced in the black and white color settings of the movie. Because it is in only black or white, it is clearly felt and shown the desperation and lack of hope the Joads have. On the entire journey towards California, the family endures every possible trial they could have faced. They lose family members to death and abandonment, suffer from "persecution", poverty and hunger, and have a constant breakdown from their run-down truck. However, their determination, along with Ma Joad's eventual leadership, demonstrates one of the major lessons that strength can be found in numbers and with each other. Henry Fonda, who plays Tom Joad, the protagonist-a man recently released from prison, portrays Tom the way that Tom is supposed to be received. He acts as a caring, yet strong-willed and sometimes reckless youth- which is then shown in Fonda's vibrant facial expressions and motions. All of the actors portray their roles with an enthusiasm that is then proved in the accurate representation of the characters. Although many times, there is a small form of hope throughout the book, viewers never expect that The Grapes of Wrath will have a happy ending. The film did not include the intercalary chapters from the book but enough foreshadowing is presented allowing us to know that it is a moral story with no satisfying end. Overall, this film is mind captivating forcing readers to think about life in many aspects, and reconsider decisions made. It teaches important values and how to have faith in times of hardships.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Such a beautiful, moving masterpiece

Author: I_Love_Jason_Sudeikis
8 July 2014

Wow! I don't know how to truly describe this masterpiece. It is one of those truly timeless films that will stay with you forever. Story of a family - the Joad family - trying to make it during the Depression. I don't really want to say anything to give anything away because this movie is just THAT GOOD. Henry Fonda - a personal hero of mine - plays Tom Joad and his performance should have garnered him a Best Actor Oscar. The cinematography and locations in film is all beautiful to the eye. I know this review is saying much other than the plot, but I am telling whoever reads this to PLEASE SEE IT. If you love classic films and good perfect movies in general, you will not want to miss this. I really need to read John Steinback's book.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A powerful classic!

Author: evant299 from Metropolis
1 July 2014

This movie is a powerful film. It focuses on a families journey to California in search of work during the great depression era. The movie gives an inside look at the horrible living conditions these people had to deal with. Henry Fonda gives a truly powerful performance as the ex Prisoner Tom Joad who reunites with his family to accompany them on their journey to California. This is a classic movie that won 2 awards in the 1940 Academy awards. Any film buff should watch this. It is definitely one of the best movies of all time without a doubt. Even if the plot doesn't interest you, it is still worth seeing for henry Fondas powerful. performance.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Well Deserved Place In The Library Of Congress

Author: Lachlan J McDougall
15 May 2014

Based on the landmark novel by John Steinbeck, John Ford's film adaptation of The Grapes Of Wrath has become almost as large a cultural force as its inspiration. It was selected as one of the first twenty- five films to be archived in the Library Of Congress as a significant cultural artifact and, in my opinion, this was done with very good reasons.

The story of the Joad family making the trek from Oklahoma through to California in search of work during the American depression will be familiar to many people, and as such I will not talk at length about the film's plot. What I will discuss, however, is the deftness with which this material is handled by Ford.

Gritty and realistic the photography and direction of the movie is one of the high points of cinema history. Nothing appears by accident, but nothing is drawn too obviously to the audiences attention. Tom Joad (wonderfully played by Henry Fonda) lighting hand-rolled cigarette in a moment of quiet contemplation, ex-preacher Casy's (John Carradine) nervous twitching as he tries to find his role in the world, and the Joad kids' (Darryl Hickman and Shirley Mills) resigned playing as their stomachs softly growl: all of this is shown with such a lack of overt stylisation that they become some of the most touching and heart- wrenching images to be displayed outside of a documentary.

The attention to detail too is great to witness. The actors wear no make-up as they play their parts in an effort for realism and the car that takes them on their trying journey is the same Hudson "Super Six" Sedan described by Steinbeck. Nothing feels staged or overly Hollywood, but rather it all comes across so naturally that one can almost smell the miasma of dirt and sweat that surrounds this unhappy lot.

I think, however, that some of the biting realism of this film have been lost over the years, or at least relegated to being somewhat of a quaint charm. I mean, Steinbeck's novel is taught in many schools and people have become very familiar with the story over the many years since it was written, and this is be no means a bad thing (in fact it makes me happy to think that Steinbeck is still so well respected and widely read), but it does mean that someone sitting down to watch The Grapes Of Wrath for the first time is unlikely to have anything similar to the reaction that audiences had at the time.

The socialist undertones and dissection of the pain caused by a capitalist system left to its own devices now come as part of the package when one hears the title The Grapes Of Wrath, no longer will one be surprised, shocked, and reduced to tears of righteous indignation when these images are presented to them. The discussion of 'pinks' and 'reds' are not so immediate to a modern audience as to make them bristle with deep-rooted political allegiances, but rather they pass the modern viewer by completely or serve only as some historical curiosity of a bygone time.

I suppose that it is better that the conditions of Steinbeck's book and Ford's film do not persist to the current day, but it is still somewhat of a shame that these reactions have been lost, and that a full visceral understanding of the film is almost unattainable today. But still the film must be viewed as a triumph and a masterpiece which does and will remain relevant now and for a long time to come.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A sad time

Author: joem294 from United States
9 May 2014

The film that takes you into the eyes of the family that has lost everything and is trying to create a new life. This is a film that I found does have good cinematography; not just that it is in black and white but it is just used a lot better.

The story itself is just a sad story of a family that is just trying to get a life of their own and really anything they do just doesn't work for them. There is so much doubt in the film and on top of that doubt they are poor. Moving to California for a new life wasn't exactly working, but the film does show that family was the one thing they still had.

I myself just saw this as a very sad story as others are but this is a first for me that a film with this kind of story doesn't give me an exact ending or make me think everything will be happy in the end.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Stark Reminder

Author: Connor Salisbury ( from New York, United States
9 May 2014

The Grapes of Wrath (1940), directed by John Ford is a dramatic film about the depression; and is based off of John Steinbeck's novel. The Joad family are in search for a better life, and head towards California. This film is very dramatic, and showcases the Great Depression and its many struggles. It shows people living in deplorable conditions and the set pieces are great. The film does a good job at showing the environment, which was the Midwestern United States. The camera shots by John Ford are amazing and capture the scope and the feel of the scenes. This story is such a good one, that when presented with the opportunity, you should watch it if you haven't already. Overall, I give The Grapes of Wrath(1940) an 8 out of 10.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Historically Reflective and a good work for the early 40's

Author: Chris042711 from United States
23 April 2014

The grapes of wrath is more than just an entertainment piece. The film reflects the real world struggles of the Great Depression and specifically the devastating effects of the dust bowl. The movie begins innocently enough with a man asking for a ride. We later find out this man has just been released from jail and is on probation. He comes home to an empty house and the news his family has lost his land and thus their source of income and survival and from here the family makes their journey across the county suffering many hardships along the way.

Being released just a year after the Great Depression officially ended in 1939 many movie goers related to this film like nothing they had ever seen. It stands today as a reminder of the struggles that we as a nation have overcome and the strength of the average American family.

Besides its historical significance the film was also a major success for the style of the early 1940's. It combined studio setting with location setting which was typical of the time. It was also directed by Ford which resulted in much of his style which included many long and medium range shots. The use of light was typical for the time, which met it was used to determine between good and bad characters and to set the mood of the over all scenes in the film. One example of this includes a scene where the corrupt cops beat and kill a friend of the family. in this scene it is the lack of light that makes it typical for the time period. Overall it is a very well made film and a good movie with historical significance and a good plot that was only enhanced by John Fords unique directing style.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

ehh alright

Author: ewright228 from United States
2 April 2014

I found this movie to be quite dry in many parts and also very repetitive. The acting on the other hand was superb and it made me want to keep watching the movie instead of changing to something else. I have viewed two other John Ford films with this being my least favorite with "The Man who Shot Liberty Valence" taking the cake. The acting by Tommy was outstanding and really was intriguing the entire film. To me the character that stood out the most was the mama. She portrayed the lady of the house very well with all the cooking and the cleaning and caring for the family. It was only right that she got rewarded at the end. This film was an alright film but I don't think I would watch it again for fun. In my opinion not one of Ford's best films.

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