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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

Encouraged by her idealistic if luckless father, a bright and imaginative young woman comes of age in a Brooklyn tenement during the early 1900s.



(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Ruth Nelson ...
Miss McDonough
Steve Edwards
B.S. Pully ...
Christmas Tree Vendor


In Brooklyn circa 1900, the Nolans manage to enjoy life on pennies despite great poverty and Papa's alcoholism. We come to know these people well through big and little troubles: Aunt Sissy's scandalous succession of "husbands"; the removal of the one tree visible from their tenement; and young Francie's desire to transfer to a better school...if irresponsible Papa can get his act together. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild depiction of mature plot material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 August 1945 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Ein Baum wächst in Brooklyn  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Nicholas Ray came out from New York with Elia Kazan for Kazan's directorial debut. Besides his brief appearance in the cast as a bakery clerk, various sources have Ray working as assistant director and assisting Alfred Newman with the score, but studio records officially list him as dialogue director. See more »


[first lines]
Katie Nolan: This'll be the last of them now, Francie.
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Remade as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1974) See more »


Annie Laurie
(1834) (uncredited)
Music by Lady John Scott
Lyrics by William Douglas
Performed by James Dunn
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Go Forth Into the World and Make Thy Dreams Come True.
10 July 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A youngster (Peggy Ann Garner) in circa 1900 Brooklyn dreams of a suitable education and ultimately a better life. She and her young brother (Ted Donaldson) experience highs and lows as their lives are followed in a documentary-style format that creates a realistic and compassionate view. Poverty is tough in the area though as mother Dorothy McGuire (in arguably her greatest role) and father James Dunn (in one of the finest performances ever captured on film, he deservedly won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1945) have a hard time making ends meet. McGuire has a difficult time seeing the bright things in their lives, while Dunn (a hopeless alcoholic) treats everyone, including strangers on the street, with love, respect and understanding. Dunn sees greatness in Garner, even when most do not, and does his best to see that her hopes do come true. The title is symbolistic as a large tree in front of the family's low-rent apartment is about to be cut down to their dismay. It also refers to the fact that Garner is growing up and showing maturity way beyond her years; she is literally branching out and letting her leaves flourish. First-time director Elia Kazan arguably does the best work of any film-maker who had never completed a feature previously as he just lets Betty Smith's wonderful novel unfold methodically with a deliberate pace, tone and style. The screenplay yielded Oscar nominations for adapters Frank Davis and Tess Sleringer. Dunn, an actor who had a very pedestrian career, showed just how much of a hidden talent he really was. He is the straw that mixes the entire movie into an American classic. Arguably one of the top 10 films of the 1940s and one of the best features of all time. 5 stars out of 5.

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