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The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936)

This documentary is about what happened to the Great Plains of the United States when a combination of farming practices and environmental factors led to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Director:

Pare Lorentz

Writer:

Pare Lorentz
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Thomas Chalmers Thomas Chalmers ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bam White Bam White ... Farmer
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Storyline

This documentary is about what happened to the Great Plains of the United States when a combination of farming practices and environmental factors led to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

America's Prize-Winning Story Of The Plains. See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Pflug See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Three of the four cameramen (all but Paul Ivano) who worked on this film were fired by director/writer Pare Lorentz. Basically, they considered him too verbally script-oriented and not sufficiently visually oriented. One of these cameramen was Paul Strand, who went on to become one of America's most honored still photographers. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: The plowman followed the herder - and the pioneer came to the plains. Make way for the plowman.
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Crazy Credits

The film's opening prologue: This is a record of land . . . of soil, rather than people -- a story of the Great Plains: the 400,000,000 acres of wind-swept grass lands that spread up from the Texas panhandle to Canada . . . A high, treeless continent, without rivers, without streams . . . A country of high winds, and sun . . . and of little rain . . . By 1880 we had cleared the Indian, and with him, the buffalo, from the Great Plains, and established the last frontier . . . A half million square miles of natural range . . . This is the picturization of what we did with it. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Donald Brittain: Filmmaker (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Reveille
Traditional
Played as part of the score when WWI breaks out
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User Reviews

Powerful...
26 January 2007 | by dday229See all my reviews

The reviewer above doesn't know much about what happened in the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. By all means watch this film and listen very closely. You can almost hear the chainsaws in the Amazon from here...

This film is a priceless collection of imagery that documents what happened to that region of the country. A region that has never fully recovered from the damage humans did to it.

It is a stark look at what degenerated into a self inflicted hell, which was by no means entirely the fault of the farmers. They simply didn't know what they were doing until it was too late. As usual, the one man who stood up and tried to point out what had occurred was decried as a crank.

Thank goodness Roosevelt commissioned this film or we would have precious few moving images of the desolation that resulted.

(Also recommend: The Worst Hard Time. The untold story of those who survived the Great American Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan.)


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