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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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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Human beings wouldn't stand to live that way.

9/10
Author: bobsgrock from United States
12 August 2009

Forget the politics behind the stories of Steinbeck or the politics of films of Ford. What truly lies at the center of this classic American film is not a socialistic message but rather a universal message; one that says that all people suffer in one way or another and it is the defiance and resistance that separates us from anyone else and our ability to choose not to take this lying down.

The story is well-known: the Joad family is forced off their Oklahoma farm along with thousands of other Dust Bowl victims and decide to move to California in search of jobs and wages. Along the way they encounter kindness, hatred, peace and anger. There are times when the tribulations they face in California are more difficult than trying to survive in the Midwest, but push on they do led by the recently-paroled Tom, played quietly and most effectively by the great Henry Fonda. Jane Darwell won an Oscar for her role as the mother who also does her best to try and keep the fit together despite serious situations that could force them apart. Every other role is well-cast and adds a rich realistic tone to this movie that only makes you feel even more for these people who are just trying to get by each day, hoping for some sort of break or providence as a sign.

I can see how this was such a politically-charged story but I don't think Ford intended that to be the priority of the film. Rather, I think it can all be summed up in the words of the two gas attendants early in the film. One says he thinks Okies have no feelings because no human would live like they do. Really, he was complimenting them as they believed the same way and this whole movie is about them attempting to rise above that which they were previously part of and become part of something better or at least more substantial. All this because they're the people.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Grapes of Wrath was a terrific movie and Henry Fonda was outstanding!

10/10
Author: Mary Peters from United States
24 March 2006

Henry Fonda should have received the Best Actor Academy Award for Grapes of Wrath. He was outstanding. Instead they waited until late in his life and gave it to him for On Golden Pond. What was the academy thinking? Grapes of Wrath was one of the best movies I have ever seen. It shows just how bad the depression years were. It makes you think about how lucky we are to have as much as we have when they were deprived of what little they had. They did the same thing with John Wayne and Paul Newman. Skipped over them all of their lives and finally gave them Oscars for True Grit and The Color of Money. Sympathy Oscars don't cut it. Great performances should be honored as such and not overlooked. I realize that everyone cannot receive an Oscar. I love the People's Choice Awards. That means something. At least the people, who buy the tickets, get to vote for their favorites. Maybe the "academy" should take a lesson from the regular folks. At least we are fair with our voting.

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12 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

The most important word you'll ever hear : Family !!!

8/10
Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
6 October 2003

Wow...this movie is just WOW !! I've been wanting to see it for such a long time but I never got the chance. Now, I finally did and it even goes beyond my highest expectations... I was prepared to see some class-A drama but everything what this family goes through is even worse than I thought. This famous movie milestone goes about the Joad family. They have to leave everything they own in Oklahoma behind. Them and several other poor families are attracted by California because there is supposed to be work and a place to live. The long trip is filled with misery and when they finally get in California, it seems that they've been deceived once more. There's almost no food and 8 hungry mouths to fill.

It's impossible not to get touched by the Joad family. All the characters are so sad but at the same time so brave. They don't give up and keep fighting...you just have to encourage them while watching this film. The Grapes of Wrath really makes you feel happy you live in this era and in this part of the world. You know stories like this really happened in the old days and they still do in some parts of the world. This kind of film is excellent to make you realize you have nothing to complain about.

The dramatic highlights in this motion picture are countless : The flashbacks about how families are driven away from their homes, the grandfather's "funeral" , the mother and son conversation near the end... All these scenes and several other ones are indicators of great drama and brilliant cinema. The Grapes of Wrath received several prices and nominations and it deserved every single one of them. Every element in it is flawless. Henry Fonda's portrayal of Tom Joad is one of the most intriguing characters ever shown of the screen. He's absolutely brilliant.

The highest possible recommendation isn't yet high enough to describe The Grapes of Wrath...If you ever have the chance: SEE IT !

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Author: jsaunders8 from United States
18 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a great film. During High School I read the book, but this film caught my interest so much more.

The Great Depression took a toll on so many parts of the nation. Many businesses and factories saw a drop in production, weather conditions weren't the best and many farmers in the mid-western states suffered with droughts. As you watch the film you understand how greedy banks were and what they put farmers through. To me, the banks showed no sympathy or compassion towards individuals during the depression. So many families were forced to give up their land and uproot loved ones, so they could travel west in hopes of a better future.

This was a very dramatic film. The casting was good. I didn't know that this was another film directed by John Ford.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

We headin' out to Californee!

10/10
Author: john-hogan23 from Albany, New York
3 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In what has to be one of the greatest adaptations of a novel ever, we follow the Joad family, and more specifically their ex-con son with a heart of gold made infinitely likable due to an outstanding performance by Henry Fonda. This is the kind of film you just don't ever want to end. Nunnally Johnson does an incredible job making John Steinbeck's words ready for the screen and John Ford never fails to do justice to the narrative. When a character performs a longer dialog, you can tell you're seeing it with the same impact readers felt reading it. When Tom Joad walks across a lonesome road under the dim blue sky of an early morning you just have to imagine Steinbeck was proud of the people who worked so hard to bring his work to a new medium.

The story of the Joad family is a rough one. It begins with Tom fresh out of prison for what is described as self defense. It seems hopeful, but this is the last good fortune he'll see for a long while. Upon finding his family displaced and staying with an uncle, he learns that they've been removed from the farm where the Joad family had been sharecropping for decades. Their seemly only hope is a sizable journey towards California, so they load up a 'jalopy' far past its breaking point to set out on a trail ripe with misery in hopes of rebuilding. You start out rooting for the Joads, how could you not? But the film subjects them to a myriad of misfortunes along the way. Your hope turns to pity quickly, but you can't help but appreciate how much you admire their courage. It's remarkable how much I came to feel for the Joads. Tom is an outstanding protagonist, and you're with him till the very end.

A film with a story this great would do fine without being technically impressive and pleasant to look at, but those aspects are wonderfully done too. The film looks incredibly crisp. I didn't manage to forget it was black and white, but I couldn't take my mind off how great it looked. You can see every mark on a person's face, every detail in Tom's scar, and California's ugly brown hills and beautiful green pastures are both presented just as they are to this day.

I genuinely loved this movie. It had such an emotional impact. It was hard seeing the Joad family suffer, and it was such a relief to see them finally catch a break. Tom Joad was such a great character that by the end of the film he actually felt like a brother. The film really makes you feel like a Joad yourself, looking back at the family's history. I've been lucky enough to see Cannery Row on a few occasions, and I've seen with my own eyes the fields that the migrant workers of the time would have gone to in search of work. It gave the film a great impact. I'm glad I took the time to watch something so well done that I enjoyed so much.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

classic example of John Ford's work

5/10
Author: Nicole Emmons from United States
7 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Grapes of Wrath is a book to movie adaption. John Ford is famous for his westerns and his beautiful extremely wide angled shots of the western landscape. Ford infuses his love for wide angled shots in Grapes of Wrath and shows off the barren landscape of the dust bowl during the Great Depression. Ford's use of these wide shots gives the viewer a great idea into depth of field and is very easy to make the viewer feel like they are part of the scene. Character development is on point, we as an audience can become attached to these characters because we understand what they are going through. John Ford was the best director to capture the Joad family's journey across desert from Oklahoma to California in search of a better life.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Little Pieces of One Big Soul

10/10
Author: utgard14 from USA
31 December 2013

The Grapes of Wrath is one of the two films I can thank for my love of classic movies. When I was a kid I had enjoyed a few older films. Mostly stuff like The Wizard of Oz and It's a Wonderful Life that I had been weaned on from an early age. But, like most kids, I was far more into the movies of my time. I viewed most older movies, especially black & white ones, with a degree of contempt. However, that changed when I was fourteen. That summer I checked out two older movies on VHS from my local library. I had heard a lot about one of these movies being called "the greatest movie of all time" and the other I knew was based on a book that fourteen year-old me just wasn't about to voluntarily read (although I did read it years later). So I took them both home and watched them back to back, glued to the screen the whole time. The two films were Citizen Kane and The Grapes of Wrath and I was in love with classic movies from that point on. Interestingly enough, both films had legendary cinematographer Gregg Toland working on them.

The Grapes of Wrath is a beautiful, haunting masterpiece from director John Ford, who deservedly won an Oscar. Nunnally Johnson's script brings John Steinbeck's novel to life but gives it a more optimistic finish. The cast is extraordinary, with Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell giving exemplary performances. It's a classic film in every sense of the word. To say I recommend it wouldn't be strong enough. This is just one of those films you HAVE to see.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The stark reality of the 1930's brought to the screen by John Ford

10/10
Author: RogerCampbell from United States
22 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you have never seen John Ford's classic film The Grapes of Wrath it's highly recommended that you do so at least once in your lifetime. The Grapes of Wrath is more than just a good old fashioned movie; it's a lesson in American history. Many of us have probably heard a grandparent or older family member talk of "The Dust Bowl" days, "The Depression Era" and of banks foreclosing on farms during the 1930's. Director John Ford brilliantly captures all this in The Grapes of Wrath as it follows one Oklahoma family through all these hardships as they migrate from their foreclosed farm to California in hopes of finding work in a depressed economy. Superb acting by Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell and John Carradine bring raw emotion to a well written script based on the novel by John Steinbeck. Both the novel and the movie were extremely controversial during their initial period of release. The novel was actually banned in several states because of its true depiction of the life of strife that many families encountered while living in migrant worker camps in California. This is a great must see movie for the whole family.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Just a taste of Steinbeck - flawed, but great enough

9/10
Author: Artimidor Federkiel from Austria
21 August 2012

John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" undoubtedly ranks among the greatest works of American realist literature. It stands as a testament of the Great Depression era where tenant farmers of the dust bowls suffer under drought, then are brutally dispossessed and driven from their Oklahoma homes, forced to find their luck elsewhere. In the end all they have is themselves, as the trip to find the blessed land California demands a heavy toll, is accompanied by tragedies and setbacks and the outlook is bleak in the face of the greed that exploits honest workers to make a buck. John Ford tries the impossible - to go for an authentic rendition of the multilayered, detail packed, all around magnificently written Steinbeck material, and definitely succeeds in delivering an indispensable heart-wrenching film portraying the never ending struggle of the Joads. Any direct comparison between book and film however is moot, enjoy both for what they are. On board in this road movie of the existential kind are Henry Fonda as an ex-convict, John Carradine as a disillusioned preacher and the Oscar winning Jane Darwell as Ma Joad, all first-rate acting with strong support of an array of bit players who help the crude reality take shape. Highly recommendable! There are downsides, though. For one the two hours of screen time can barely correspond to the epic proportions of the novel. However, the entry is still much more complete than Kazan's adaption of Steinbeck's other epic drama "East of Eden", starring Jimmy Dean, which only shows a fraction of the story. The one real liability however is the diluted ending which was tucked on as a concession to the mass audience while Steinbeck's epic hits you with full force. Well, if you want the real thing, read the book. With the film you get a pretty good taste of it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The people who live.

9/10
Author: Al_The_Strange from United States
4 July 2012

Maybe not the most thrilling movie ever made, but it's hard not to get caught up in it. You just can't help but to feel for the plight of the main characters, and follow them intently as they continuously journey onward searching for hope and prosperity. In a rather grim fashion, the characters are forced to confront disappointment, and ultimately persecution and hardship at every turn.

This classic John Steinbeck story is perhaps as relevant now as it was back in the 30s; it serves to criticize the ideals of the American dream, and it proves quite effective as it documents the migration of displaced farmers and workers across the nation. The story is a journey that pushes the characters to extremes, and provides a fairly hellish view of the dustbowl in general. It's driven by a constant pattern, in which the characters come close to finding what they're looking for, and then having it snatched away from them. It's pretty bleak, but the characters remain endearing, especially with their endless conviction and motivation.

On film, the story is immortalized with excellent photography and editing. The acting is swell: Henry Fonda, John Carradine, and heck, just about everybody inhabit their characters quite well. The writing is superb. This production is loaded with good, real-looking sets, props, costumes, and locales. The music used is fitting.

Recommended! 4.5/5 (Entertainment: Good | Story: Perfect | Film: Very Good)

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