Best when it focuses on the father-son relationship
Despite the title, the film is much more about the concept of what it is to be a man as well as the importance of this father-son relationship. In essence, the locusts are just a plot device in order to facilitate growth and change between these two.
Donny Fletcher (Ron Howard) is coming home from WWII in disgrace. Something happened to him and he was discharged from the Navy...though exactly what that was is something you'll need to learn through the course of the film. What is obvious is that his father, Amos (Ben Johnson) is a hard and unforgiving man...and Donny is a disgrace in his eyes. Amos' idea of manliness is just sucking it up and doing what a man has to do and the WHY Donny was discharged is unimportant to him...the boy is simply a coward and a failure. But, by the end of the film and with the coming menace of the locusts, the two get a chance to work out their issues together.
Whenever the film brings in the locusts, the story sags and is clearly at its best with the men. Johnson, in particular, is marvelous as the hard-as-nails father. Howard is also nice and it's a decent made for TV film. My only real gripe is that the finale seemed very obvious and predictable...though not enough to make the film one to skip.
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