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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:

A perfect adaption of literary genius

Author: JRamos3 from United States
9 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Where to even begin? I watched this film for a history of cinema class, and I have to say that all of the films I have viewed of late, this one is by far the best to date. All the performances are stellar, obviously to include Henry Fonda's Oscar nominated performance as the films main character, Tom Joad. While I have never read Steinbeck's novel of the same title, after viewing this film i will certainly put it on my to do list. This film seems, almost effortlessly, to perfectly capture and showcase the harsh conditions of the 1930's during the dust-bowl. Many aspects of this film were extremely well done and worth mentioning. The outstanding performances of the actors aside, the scenery, story telling, and overall misc-en-sene of the film is great. At no point did this film fail to keep my interest, as the characters in the story, although clearly in no way similar to my personal life's story, are truly relate able to the audience. As a viewer, you feel for the plight of the Joad family on their endless journey just to find work and some small semblance of creature comfort. Additionally, the harsh and severe treatment that the travelers as a whole experience at the hands of both law enforcement and local farm security made me nothing short of incensed. To be sure, during the scene in which Tom's friend is killed on the river, I found myself almost in shock, for I did not in any way see that action on the horizon. However, I think it , the killing and general treatment of the migrants that is, stands as a testament to what life must have truly been like at that dark time in American history. Furthermore, the fact that such blatantly gross abuse of power was allowed to persist speaks volumes to the wanton disregard that so many must have had for those that were unemployed. This is truly sad when you think about it; Most of the families that were traveling hundreds upon hundreds of miles at the cost of even further famine and illness only wanted work and some food to eat, and were met with admonishment and disregard. That is truly appalling. But I digress. The Grapes of Wrath is an excellent film that in its time served as a call to action for all those who wished to take a stand against the abuse and mistreatment of others. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and would recommend it to others wishing to glean some knowledge about a oft-forgot time in American History.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Masterful and indispensable chronic

Author: psagray from Spain
23 June 2011

"Tom Joad" (Henry Fonda) returns home after serving time in prison, but the illusion of seeing his family turns into frustration at how evicted from their land. Fleeing poverty, embark on a journey full of hardships in the hope of finding an opportunity in California, the promised land.

Great Ford film, that leads to film a Steinbeck novel. There are no great heroes who changed the world, because they exist in the novel (or in reality) so this film so close and we see today.

The only real and unchanging is the suffering people. And Ford is right to address the full hard, making films of sentiment, and not as syrupy finish. That's why a work becomes formally Marxist (novel) characters, then yes, alienated, in a film humanist, which reaches around the world, with people who despite all the grief, have not yet lost their humanity and dignity of people. So do not try to change anything. They just want to be happy and live in peace.

Can not be displayed more hardship and misery of the American depression. Because although it was easier and more comfortable to cry in Ford used the characters, the option to show only the courage and dignity with which these wretched of the earth will blow after fitting gives the film a halo epic. And although the words spoken by mythical "Tom" (Henry Fonda) and his mother (Jane Darwell) do nothing but emphasize deep rather than the film itself and distilled by itself.

So "The Grapes of Wrath" is a masterpiece of life. Only by addressing the issue and how it does this is mandatory viewing. It's directed by John Ford, as always, excellent. The "icing on the cake" is Henry Fonda in one of the best work of his career.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great movie

Author: rtherock915 from United States
20 October 2010

I have nothing but praise for this film. It is near perfection. Beautiful cinematography. Amazing acting. Powerful story about survival. Henry Fonda delivers what might be his best performance as Tom Joad a man struggling to get by but who eventually realizes that he is meant for greater things and that there's more to life than just helping yourself. The film is masterfully directed by John Ford and beautifully shot by cinematographer Gregg Toland. The outdoor shots are grand and bleak at the same time, bringing about a feeling of the insignificance of man compared to nature and the grand scheme of things. The lighting will go from very dark and depressing showing the characters in deep moments of suffering only for it to be broken by brightly lit moments where all seems well in the world. See this movie, that is all i have to say. Words almost fail to describe just how great this movie is

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A masterfully engaging and moving a-bomb of hardship.

Author: ( from Clifton Park, New York
15 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An enormously powerful and moving narrative of the hardships and perseverance of one poor farming family during the great depression, this film beautifully blends expert cinematography and moving dialogue. The Joad's struggle is hauntingly foreshadowed at the beginning in the Joad's abandoned house, where a mood of tragedy is established. Throughout the film, use of deep contrast and shadow is appropriately used to emphasize moments of despair and sullenness, the preacher often comes in and out of shadow and plays a key role in Tom Joad's development. I found the mother to be exceptionally engaging, owning most of the emotional power and meaning in the dialogue. While the film is mainly a constant bludgeoning of sadness, and it feels as though the Joad's will never be at peace, there are moments of relief. The grandpa serves a dose of comic relief, and the government run housing camp is the only place happiness seems to exist. Over the course of the film you begin to feel connected to the Joads, and start thinking like them. As the Joad's enter the displaced farmers' camp, you feel a sense of apprehension along with Tom, and you find yourself waiting for the next injustice to present itself. You then grow attached to this haven, and feel accomplished when the police scheme against it is thwarted. The beautiful photography, top tier dialogue, and moving story all blend to produce an engaging style typical of great movies; a category in which this film rightly fits.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This ain't a masterpiece but this is the best

Author: yuva raj from India
12 August 2010


I am from India and just thought the whole world is/was rich except India. Westerners gamble, Middle east means luxury and summers are snowfall everywhere except India. I was wrong. I was terribly wrong. Hunger can cross boundaries, language, caste and creed. This movie isn't any technical gimmick, even may not be faithful adaptation of the novel but its just fine. When whole world thinks Hollywood is just rolling cars, naked breasts, some sex and violence then and there comes few movies to slap us right in the heart and say "you ain't seen nothing yet".

Coming to the movie it may be sad, cliché and depressing but believe me folks this was shot in 1940 and as a close tracker of 30's and 40's world movies this was a fresh movie at that time and movies like this (pursuit of happiness)can put European movies to shame (no exaggeration). If I had a chance to remake this movie I can do it in universal language (silence). Its gripping, honest and shattering.

This ain't a movie to watch with a pop corn and a coke. It demands more than that (your heart). Skip it if you are looking for an entertainer. Otherwise it's the best and better.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Don't be turned off by Steinbeck, this is classic American cinema

Author: Movie_Muse_Reviews from IL, USA
20 July 2010

Any John Steinbeck title-turned-film tends to scare away contemporary viewers with thoughts of two-plus hours of depressing country drama, but we often forget how radical Steinbeck was for his time, particularly with his Depression-era Dust Bowl novel "The Grapes of Wrath." With an adaptation by one of Hollywood's first great directors (and greatest frontier/Western director) in John Ford, this film is anything but a classic adapted for the screen just for the sake of it.

Starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, "The Grapes of Wrath" centers on Joad, recently paroled after killing a man in self-defense, and his large family (including parents, grandparents, uncle, sister, brother, etc.) traveling out to California after being forced out of their Oklahoma home in search of work. This one flame of a new life out west, however, slowly begins to flicker away as they find out more and more that they're one of thousands competing for the same few hundred low-wage contractor jobs.

The realization creeps up on the characters and even ourselves. A whopping 70 years later, if you come to the film without putting your history cap on, you'll almost be convinced the Joads have a shot. Screenwriter Nunnally Johnson hinges much of the film's movement on moments of realization, creating a growing shadow. Ford gives each scene a chance to sink in with his lingering closing shots that slowly fade to black. These are ancient foreshadow techniques, but Ford reminds us why they're timeless.

The building tension keeps "Wrath" from festering too long in thoughts about good and evil and what actions make a man one or the other, which was sort of radical thinking for the Depression era. The former preacher Casy (John Carradine) who lives like a hobo and claims he no longer has the spirit because he cannot determine automatically what is right or wrong anymore was more progressive than we realize. Occasionally the script will go back on itself or insert somewhat needless moments of pause for Ma Joad (Oscar winner Jane Darwell) to sermonize about Steinbeck's themes, but audiences probably needed to be hit over the head with this stuff in 1940; it is a different philosophy, that's for sure.

Tom Joad's famous speech to Ma as he leaves his family to go off and fight the cause ("wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there ... ") is one of the earliest American "one person can make a difference fighting for what he/she believes in" speeches on camera. Since 1940 we've had so many more examples of real life people who have stood up for a cause and fought injustice. "The Grapes of Wrath" might seem unoriginal in that thought, but in American history, it's hardly the case. And most certainly, that message will never become irrelevant in spite of hope that it one day might be.

~Steven C

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Epic Story of Struggle

Author: pinkpanther1164 from United States
8 May 2010

The film The Grapes of Wrath from 1940, is based off a John Steinbeck novel. The plot takes place during the height of the great depression when families were struggling. Tom Joad is a recently released prisoner who was trying to find his way back home to his family. When he arrives at his home, it looks abandoned. This film was made in black and white, but the camera was amazing at showing more drama and emotion. He slowly walks up to the door wondering if its really empty or if they're just hiding. Upon entering his assumptions were correct, except for Muley. Joad finds out that everybody was traveling from Oklahoma to California to try to find some work and a better life. During the depression film had no other choice, but to reflect the realities of the world. People didn't want to see happiness on the screen when their lives were a constant battle. Joad and Muley take off on foot to hopefully meet up with their family. Eventually they do, and the world family seems to have meaning again. it doesn't matter what challenges they were facing, they knew the strength that they could get from each other. If someone was still hungry, but their was no food left to be eaten, someone would share what they had left. the Joad family continued across country on their journey finding random jobs and housing, but surviving. This was an epic story that wasn't based on any family in particular, but on the sad truths that our country once had to encounter. This family has a way of making their viewers appreciate what they have like no film can do today. This is a film that will stand strong as time continues to carry on.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

What happens when people trifle with nature.

Author: PWNYCNY from United States
16 February 2010

A revisiting of this movie merely confirms what is already established as fact: that this movie is great. It's grim story about people struggling to survive. That these conditions existed in the United States is a disgrace. To be thrown off the land is bad enough, but then to be humiliated compounds the injustice. The story is told in the form of semi-documentary which gives it further authenticity. The movie is about land. People own it, farm it, exploit it, divide it, fight for it, defend it, plow it, drive over it, drive through it. The people are transiting; the land stays. Tom Joad enters and Tom Joad exits; he is a metaphor for the transitory nature of existence. The only thing stable is the land. Ma Joad is trying to keep the family together but it's a losing battle. Only the will to survive gets them through. This movie is an incredibly powerful story, strongly acted, and told with candor.

The Grapes of Wrath is director John Ford's homage to nature and a warning to all - that nature, in the form of rough terrain, inclement weather and immense distances, can be lethal to humans. In this movie the land is more than just mere scenery, more than just a back drop for a story, more than just a passing reference, it is an integral player, indeed it is the story itself. Briefly, the movie is about a family, the Joads of Oklahoma, who, after being evicted from their farm during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, become homeless and, in quest of work and a more secure place to live, embark on a long journey through prairie and desert to California. For them, California is the proverbial land of milk and honey and holds for them a promise of a new and better life, much like the ancient Hebrews may have felt when they left Egypt in quest for their promised land. As the Joads travel west in the their broken-down jalopy they are dwarfed by the sheer immensity of the landscape. The movie features several panoramic vistas of the rugged western landscape, prairie and desert, geographical barriers that the Joads must surmount to reach their goal and places where they can die. For the land is not friendly and benign; instead it is a source of contention and a cause for grief, such as that visited upon the Joads as they lose their homes and possessions and are forced to migrate in order to survive. The Joads' vulnerability is further reinforced by the distances they must travel and the stress caused by the move itself. Two members of the family die while on the road and another disappears; nothing is close by. Driving many miles means having to deal with the possibility of their truck breaking down en route and becoming stuck in the middle of nowhere. And like the land itself, the people encountered by the Joads on their journey are surly and begrudging at best. The message is unmistakable. Nature can crush us at any time and must be respected for what it is, an all-encompassing, awesome, stark entity that is both life giving and deadly, especially when ignored, as the Joads learned as the "wind" destroyed their lives, perhaps as a pay back for the way the land was abused. And when the Joads finally arrive in California, reality quickly sets in and with it comes more trouble and disappointment, all of this having to do with the land, which again poses a threat to the Joads' survival. The story ends with Tom Joad, who is in trouble with the law, shown trekking across the land and the rest of family again on the move as they continue to seek work. The foreboding mood that permeates this movie is further enhanced by the black-and-white photography that further brings out the stark emptiness and vastness of the land. This movie is a dramatic statement that warns the audience that human kind must be cognizant of the whims of nature for nature is something that cannot be ignored or trifled with. In the 1930s people did not treat the land with respect and the land responded in kind. That the Joads got caught up with that is the stuff for a dramatic story but nature itself is beyond our ability to control as so aptly shown in this movie. We build dams and they inevitably fail. We build dikes to keep out the ocean yet we still have floods. We build huge ships that sink. We build airplanes and rockets that crash. We build mighty bridges and buildings and they collapse. And in Grapes of Wrath, we farm the land and the soil turns into dust. And THAT is the story.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sad, indelible, relevant and moving...

Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
4 November 2009

This film of John Steinbeck's classic novel falls into the rare category of: must be watched by everyone. Everyone will come away with the stark impression of the Great Depression in America, the tragic lives led by families of this era, and the tenant farmer/slave wage and plantation mentality which still thrives (in more covert form) in the U.S today.

Henry Fonda as Tom Joad returns to his family in Oklahoma to learn that they are being thrown off their land by a corporation; no work existed in the area, and flyer's proclaiming livable wages for peach pickers in California ostensibly represent a future for the Joad family. They pack up Mother (Jane Darwell, wonderful performance), grandma, grandpa and assorted children including Rose of Sharon who becomes pregnant en route to California.The vehicle they drive thousands of miles is a dilapidated jalopy, and they live a hardscrabble life, stopping at a gas station and barely able to afford a day old loaf of bread. The scene where grandpa buys the two children peppermint candy is particularly sad, the waitress charges him less as she realizes the family is dirt poor. Another telling scene is when Tom (Fonda) stops at a gas station and two arrogant gas station attendants survey his situation, saying. ..." those Okies just aren't human, living like they do"... the rejection of middle class America of these peoples plight is rancid and prevalent.It still exists today.

Eventually the Joads get to a labor camp where they are treated like criminals and live in sub-human conditions. The DP captures the stark images of starving sad children begging mother (Darwell) for food, any food. They are all starving.

Eventually the Joads drive on to find another camp, run by the department of agriculture, which at least provides clean water, bathrooms and food. Grandma dies when they finally reach California soil, the promised land.

Henry Fonda is frankly flawless in this performance, depicting a young man attempting to make a life, but having no resources, no societal support.

A truly perfect film, worth several viewings as you realize there are still impoverished people in America living this way, whether in the foothills of Appalachia, or the sugar cane fields of South Florida. 10/10.

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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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