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The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Trailer
2:24 | Trailer
A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Nunnally Johnson (screen play), John Steinbeck (based on the novel by)
Top Rated Movies #221 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Fonda ... Tom Joad
Jane Darwell ... Ma Joad
John Carradine ... Jim Casy
Charley Grapewin ... Grandpa
Dorris Bowdon ... Rosasharn
Russell Simpson ... Pa Joad
O.Z. Whitehead ... Al
John Qualen ... Muley Bates
Eddie Quillan ... Connie
Zeffie Tilbury ... Grandma
Frank Sully ... Noah
Frank Darien Frank Darien ... Uncle John
Darryl Hickman ... Winfield
Shirley Mills ... Ruthie
Roger Imhof Roger Imhof ... Thomas
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Storyline

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 Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Joads step right out of the pages of the novel that has shocked millions ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 March 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Früchte des Zorns See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$55,000, 31 January 1940
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In the audio commentary on the DVD and blu-ray releases of this film, film historian Joseph McBride states that Henry Fonda's performance in this film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, but lost out to James Stewart's performance in De bronzen godin (1940) (this is true). Stewart, according to McBride, was given the award as compensation for losing the previous year for his performance in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) (which is debatable). McBride then states that Clark Gable won for his performance in Gone with the Wind (1939). This is false, Robert Donat won for his performance in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939). See more »

Goofs

The Joad's truck was actually a converted Hudson touring car. In many scenes, the Hudson Motor Car Company white triangle logo is seen at the top of the radiator. In other scenes, it is missing. The Hudson logo magically vanishes, then reappears during the entire movie. See more »

Quotes

Grandpa Joad: I smell spare ribs. Somebody's been eatin' spare ribs. How come I ain't got none?
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Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Featured in Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Red River Valley
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played during the opening credits and often in the score
Sung by Henry Fonda at the dance
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Triumph in Record Time
18 May 2002 | by RHKLWKSee all my reviews

They say that you should wait 20 or 30 years before attempting to capture an historical event on film. That is why it was remarkable that Oliver Stone was able to capture the "feel" of Viet Nam (in "Platoon") so soon (13 years) after America's withdrawal. Usually, an honest perspective takes more time to develop.

But, when you consider that John Steinbeck and John Ford needed less than ten years to bring the 1932 "dust bowl" to life, you really have to admire their magnificent achievement.

Of course, in 1940, Ford could not film much of the graphic squalor described in the novel. For example, the film cannot show a starving hobo suckling at the breast of a young Rose of Sharon, who has milk to spare following the death of her baby. But, far from degradation, Rose of Sharon's gesture is a reflection of the goodness that resides within her, and that quality is well illustrated in the character development seen on the screen. Tom Joad may be an ex-con, but he is a good man.

One of the commentaries (below) uses this film to rant about the exploitation in today's society. That completely misses the point. Ford, who was as conservative as anyone in Hollywood, even more conservative than John Wayne, used this movie to show that Man can triumph, despite the natural and human barriers that are put in his way.

This is ultimately a movie about hope and the human spirit.


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