A mentally disabled giant and his level headed guardian find work at a sadistic cowboy's ranch in depression era America.


Lewis Milestone


John Steinbeck (by), Eugene Solow (screen play)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Burgess Meredith ... George Milton
Betty Field ... Mae Jackson
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Lennie Small
Charles Bickford ... Slim
Roman Bohnen ... Candy
Bob Steele ... Curley Jackson
Noah Beery Jr. ... Whit
Oscar O'Shea ... Jackson
Granville Bates ... Carlson
Leigh Whipper Leigh Whipper ... Crooks
Helen Lynd ... Susie


George Milton and Lennie Small are migrant workers in the 1930s Depression. Lennie is mentally disabled and George looks after him. While working as hands on a Western ranch, they dream of owning their own ranch and the opportunity may be available. Their current ranch is owned by a sadistic man who has a flirtatious wife. Written by dstern1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Strange schemes of happiness, shaped by an even stranger pair...a dream they fought a world of men to bring within their grasp...and then came Mae...yearning for the thing that is every woman's birthright...INNOCENTLY...in one blinding flash...she shattered their lifelong dream of joy! (Print Ad- Philadelphia Inquirer, ((Philadelphia, Penna.)) 10 January 1940) See more »


Adventure | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This film was first telecast in Los Angeles Sunday 11 July 1948 on KTLA (Channel 5), in Chicago Monday 6 December 1948 on WGN (Channel 9), in New York City Monday 1 February 1949 on WPIX (Channel 11), in Philadelphia Tuessday 5 July 1949 on WCAU (Channel 10), and in Cincinnati Monday 12 September 1949 on WCPO (Channel 7), as part of their series of three dozen Hal Roach feature film productions, originally theatrically released between 1931 and 1943, and now being syndicated for television broadcast by Regal Television Pictures. See more »


George and Lennie eat canned beans. The beans are heated before they open the cans, and they hold the cans barehanded. See more »


Candy: Seems to me like Curly's worse since he got married. Like he's sittin' on an ant hill.
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Crazy Credits

The movie begins before the credits are shown. George and Lennie are fleeing a mob. They board a boxcar on a moving train, and as they close the door of the boxcar we see the main title already written on the door of the boxcar. See more »


Spoofed in Red Hot Rangers (1947) See more »

User Reviews

Steinbeck's classic invisioned perfectly; flawless Chaney
16 April 2003 | by george.schmidtSee all my reviews

OF MICE AND MEN (1939) **** Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney Jr. embody John Steinbeck's tragic migrant workers George and Lennie during The Great Depression facing all the hard work and hard knocks life offers in their pursuit of The American Dream of `livin' off the fatta the lan' and wind up on a ranch with its share of down on their luck characters all enclaved to certain destinies and a heavy fall for our protagonists. Chaney (in his second icon role, the latter would be as the accursed Larry Talbott aka The WolfMan) personifies the gentle souled giant with a dim bulb who obeys his best friend George like a loyal dog and as his brother's keeper, Meredith allows his scrappiness a warmth underneath. Lennie Smalls would be endlessly used as a punchline in Looney Tunes toons to come (`which way did he go George!') and the film would be updated twice - one a tv movie with Robert Blake and Randy Quaid and a theatrical 90s version with Gary Sinise and John Malkovich. This classic was also produced by famed studio maven Hal Roach.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

12 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Of Mice and Men See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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