The Joad clan, introduced to the world in John Steinbeck's iconic novel, is looking for a better life in California. After their drought-ridden farm is seized by the bank, the family -- led by just-paroled son Tom -- loads up a truck and heads West. On the road, beset by hardships, the Joads meet dozens of other families making the same trek and holding onto the same dream. Once in California, however, the Joads soon realize that the promised land isn't quite what they hoped.Written by
Jane Darwell's Oscar winning performance in this film is her only Academy Award nomination. See more »
Tom Joad's semi-retarded brother, Noah, vanishes after the swimming-in-the-river sequence. In the book, Noah believes he's a burden on the family and runs away. In the film, no explanation is given for his disappearance. See more »
I been thinking about us, too, about our people living like pigs and good rich land layin' fallow. Or maybe one guy with a million acres and a hundred thousand farmers starvin'. And I been wonderin' if all our folks got together and yelled...
Oh, Tommy, they'd drag you out and cut you down just like they done to Casy.
They'd drag me anyways. Sooner or later they'd get me for one thing if not for another. Until then...
Tommy, you're not aimin' to kill nobody.
No, Ma, not that. That ain't it. ...
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International distributions (e.g. UK) have a short ~30 second prologue at the beginning to explain the historical context to the story to touch on the socio-economic problems in the US which arose during the Great Depression and the concurrent Dust Bowl. See more »
Henry Fonda's portrayal of Tom Joad captures perfectly the humanity and compassion of the Steinbeck character, an ex-con who breaks his parole conditions by joining his family in their epic journey across the southern US to a "better life" in California.
This is not the usual Hollywood fare. Tragedy and betrayal beset the Joad family from the outset. But it is nonetheless an uplifting movie. Spirit, compassion and tenderness mark them out. Fonda's role is particularly understated, and we see, as in Steinbeck's masterly epic, the maternally robust figure of Ma holding the family together.
The performances all round are wonderful, and Ford's direction and sense of space under the big sky of the Midwest is breathtaking.
This film is now largely a testament to the time in which it was set, but like the war movies that were soon to follow, a story that needed telling lest we forget.
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