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The Grapes of Wrath
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Well Deserved Place In The Library Of Congress

10/10
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

8/10
Author: Connor Salisbury (connorsalisbury18@gmail.com) 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

8/10
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

7/10
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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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A stunning tribute to the Great Depression

8/10
Author: ctladybird from United States
31 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A film that uses interesting composition and framing, silhouettes, and outstanding performances by its actors has earned a place among the classics. From the start we are given a taste of foreshadowing. The "no Riders allowed" sticker on the truck, the out of work preacher. That is a taste of what this family is in for. Further foreshadowing includes the son coming back from prison for homicide. I first decided to watch this film because of the Mumford and sons song "Dust Bowl Dance" that is a homage to the book, which I would also like to read. Fantastic movie with a great cast and haunting history. I really cannot get over the quality of this film.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A family struggles during the time of the Great Depression

9/10
Author: Dollardave86 from United States
31 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow I tell you I really enjoyed this movie from start to finish. The film shows a family from Oklohoma as well as many others who lost their land to the bank. As a result the family packed up their run down truck, and headed west to California to find work. During the voyage some of the elders from the family passed away. The film showed the difficulties that people experienced during the Great Depression, as you saw other families in camps waiting for a place to go next. The look of the movie was out standing, it gave you a good idea what the middle and west of America looked like. The people struggled to find shelter to live and money to eat, but they didn't give up. The whole time that I watched the movie, I was wondering if they're truck was going to make it the whole way to California.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Overall Good

7/10
Author: launsbachc from New York, United States
26 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to note that the characterization in this film is very good. It is as if you can really hear and see the pain each character is experiencing. For example when Tom first meets Casy the viewer can easily identify that he has drawn drastically far from his former beliefs and life as a preacher. Henry Fonda (Tom) does a phenomenal job of portraying the sort of rough around the edges but good hearted type. Most of his significant plot developing actions consist of him perhaps doing the "wrong thing" but for the right reason for instance when he hits the sheriff. Because the film is centered around depression era Midwest farmers it may be difficult to connect with on a personal level. That said, one thing any whole hearted person can relate to in this film is the love and dedication we have for our families, how important it is, and how it truly reveals itself in times of hardship. To me that was the overwhelming social significance of the film. In the end when Tom is forced to skip town because of the sheriff he tells his mother he plans to fight for injustice. Although it is definitely sad I feel as if Tom gains fulfillment from using his edge and aggression to combat unfairness. Weather it was Casy's attacker or the Sheriff it was clear Tom did what he did for the right reasons and felt good about it despite the consequences. Symbolically as we see Tom off to seek his fulfillment it appears his family may be fortunate enough to seek theirs too as they hear of work north of the camp.

Overall touching film and I enjoyed it. On a side note I think their truck may have been the inspiration for The Hollywood Hillbillies.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

great

8/10
Author: csharrow1994 from United States
25 March 2014

Having read and loved the book, I was a little apprehensive about watching this. I didn't want it to not meet my expectations. However, it went above and beyond them. The movie really painted a clear picture of everything the book was trying to say. The adaptation from book to film was a work of art in itself. It has such a powerful social message that is really hit home through the way it is directed and the way the actors worked together. Also, I felt that the cinematographer of the film did a wonderful job at capturing the fields and open skies of Oklahoma. The Grapes of Wrath is one of the most realistic and captivating films that I have seen and definitely left me in awe, and thinking about the issues it presented.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Family Values at Their Best

7/10
Author: rivardoman
24 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

John Ford examines the plight of families at the (cusp) of the great depression. The story is centered around the family of protagonist Tom Jobe. Tom is reunited with his family after serving a four year prison sentence for killing a guy in a dance hall. Ford has such a fluid style of film making. The viewer becomes a part of the family as they pack into their old truck and head west to California. I find that Ford uses a lot of visual metaphors to convey his ideas. For instance, when a families house is demolished, ford pans down to the shadows of the family cast over the tracks of the tractor. Symbolizing the destruction of their whole life. With each day the situation seems to get worse as the sun goes down, but each day brings a new hope as the sun comes over the horizon. The film makers fully understood the effects of lighting, that's part of what makes Fords films so great.

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