8.0/10
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90 user 34 critic

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

PG | | Drama, Romance | March 1945 (USA)
Trailer
2:15 | Trailer
Encouraged by her idealistic if luckless father, a bright and imaginative young woman comes of age in a Brooklyn tenement during the early 1900s.

Director:

Elia Kazan

Writers:

Tess Slesinger (screen play), Frank Davis (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dorothy McGuire ... Katie Nolan
Joan Blondell ... Aunt Sissy
James Dunn ... Johnny Nolan
Lloyd Nolan ... Officer McShane
James Gleason ... McGarrity
Ted Donaldson ... Neeley Nolan
Peggy Ann Garner ... Francie
Ruth Nelson ... Miss McDonough
John Alexander ... Steve Edwards
B.S. Pully B.S. Pully ... Christmas Tree Vendor
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

A Great and Haunting Book Pours Its "Heart" Out on the Screen! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the June 1945 issue of Screenland Magazine costume designer Bonnie Cashin, in her column "Notes from a Designer's Diary" comments "If the average American girl could be the heroine of her own life story, and dress accordingly! This thought struck me more forcibly than it ever had before while I was fitting Dorothy McGuire for the part of Katie in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Most of the girls want to look a little glamorous on screen (and off) whether the story calls for rags or riches. Not Dorothy. A stickler for characterization, she stood for hours in her old rags and ravels, suggesting a patch here, a droop there, deliberately deglamorizing herself in order to make sure that not a single bright thread should give the lie to Katie's threadbare life. Dorothy was playing a heroine of poverty and she dressed accordingly. So should we all, in the parts we play, in make believe, or in life. Joan Blondell didn't complain, either, when as Aunt Sissy, she had to wear the sort of ugly-period-of-1914 clothes, the high-topped shoes, the blousy blouses, the too-tight corset. "Oh, Bonnie," little Peggy Ann Garner said to me when we were making Francie's clothes, "oh, Bonnie, every picture they put me in I have to wear poor girls' clothes. Can't I have one good dress?" So we gave her the white graduation dress and the red roses and Peggy Ann accepted poverty and trouped through the picture, patiently ironing her one faded cotton (and she did iron it) and well content. See more »

Goofs

When the girl is ironing, she never gets a hot iron off the stove; back then, said irons had to be heated from some heat source, usually the stove top. One was used while another was being heated, and then the person would switch when the one ironing got too cool to press the wrinkles out. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Katie Nolan: This'll be the last of them now, Francie.
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Connections

Featured in 20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fidelis)
(ca 1743) (uncredited)
Written by John Francis Wade (Latin lyrics by Frederick Oakeley)
Performed by a chorus
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User Reviews

A Charming Family Story
27 October 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This charming family story has much to offer. The story has a wealth of worthwhile, thoughtful material, plus some good lighter moments, and the production is on-target, not stinting on anything but never drowning out the substance of the story. Several of the cast members give particularly good performances, and most of them are also well-matched with their roles.

Much of the story centers on a couple of interesting relationships. In both cases they are well-acted, and in both cases the relationships suggest a number of themes worth thinking about. Having these two relationships so well-defined and memorably portrayed raises the movie well above the level of a mere sentimental family story.

The relationship between Francie and her father probably makes the movie, and it is wonderfully acted by James Dunn as the somewhat unsteady but thoroughly endearing father, and Peggy Ann Garner (in one of the finest child performances you will see) as the loyal, intelligent daughter.

Dorothy McGuire plays the important but thankless role of Katie, the stern, dour, yet sincere mother, the kind of role that few actresses can handle well. Katie's relationship with her sister (Joan Blondell) is another of the strengths of the movie. Blondell's flamboyant but sensitive portrayal of Sissy wins all the scenes that she is in, yet McGuire is also essential to making them work and to bringing out the themes implied.

The adaptation to the screen is pretty well-conceived. Naturally, much of the depth is going to be lost when you distill a worthwhile novel into a two-hour movie, but the screenplay highlights some very good material, and if it encourages anyone to read the book, so much the better.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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