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In Dubious Battle (2016)

R | | Drama | 17 February 2017 (USA)
2:30 | Trailer

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An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s.



(screenplay) (as Matthew Rager), (novel)
3,860 ( 346)
2 wins. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Jim
... Mac
... London
... Lisa
... Edie
... Vera
... Dr. Burton
... Frank the Foreman
... Mr. Anderson
... Al
... Dan
... Bolton
... Joy
... Vinnie
Julian De Niro ... Billy


In the California apple country, 900 migratory workers rise up "in dubious battle" against the landowners. The group takes on a life of its own - stronger than its individual members and more frightening. Led by the doomed Jim Nolan (Nat Wolff), the strike is founded on his tragic idealism - on the "courage never to submit or yield." Published in 1936, the novel "In Dubious Battle" is considered the first major work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

17 February 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Batalha Incerta  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Robert Duvall; and four Oscar nominees: Ed Harris, Sam Shepard, James Franco, and Bryan Cranston. See more »


Scene where Mac brushes his teeth, he's using a 21st century white plastic toothbrush with accordion bend. See more »


[first lines]
Jim: [narrating] My pop always told me to watch the scales. Said the world will always find a way to cheat the working man. I met Mac McLeod in 1933, and I witnessed up close the price of real change.
Title Card: At the height of The Great Depression, nearly one quarter of Americans were without jobs.
Bolton: [standing on the back of his truck] Gentlemen, ladies, come in, come in. Listen, please. Hear what I have to say, all right? This price cut pains me as much as it pains you. With the market as volatile ...
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Referenced in Half in the Bag: The Disaster Artist (2017) See more »


Stepping In, Stepping Out
Written and Performed by Timo Elliston
Published by 16W18 Music (BMI)
By Arrangement with BANG NY
See more »

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User Reviews

Don't expect much from these rich privileged actors portraying poor fruit pickers during the depression era
19 March 2018 | by See all my reviews

I was not surprised to see that a bunch of wealthy privileged actors such as Nat Wolff, James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vincent D'Onofrio, Josh Hutcherson, John Savage and Ed Harris who were attempting to represent the homeless men and women during the depression era as underpaid fruit pickers failed so miserably and were so ineffective in being believed. The result was such a poorly finished film attempting to re-create the imagery and drama of such a classic Oscar winning film as Henry Fonda in the 1940 film The Grapes of Wrath.

I was surprised to see such reputable actors as Robert Duvall and Sam Shepard agreeing to partake in this film project. I would have thought they would have agreed to forfeit their salaries as well as pay out of their own pocket so as not to allow the release of this piece of crap.

Mrs. Shullivan and I were laughing hysterically at the attempt of Selena Gomez in the scene where she is supposedly having a difficult time giving birth until her two heroes show up as half a dozen of her dumbfounded family members stand around helplessly. James Franco steps in as her quasi doctor and catches the newborn popping out of Gomez's birth canal and Nat Wolff who looked simply amazingly stupid holding Selena's hand as she laughingly grunted and groaned through each contraction.

What were the editors thinking saying their film is now complete? I say it was complete as well. A complete piece of third rate junk, not worth releasing to the general public who were never privy to the real hardships faced by millions of homeless men and women trying to eke out a living picking apples before unions and federal laws were initiated and governed the land in the later years.

I give this film a 2 out of 10 rating

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