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The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Passed | | Drama, History | 15 March 1940 (USA)
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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 #226 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 8 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:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 March 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Highway 66 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 The Philadelphia Story (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

[the family is leaving the farm, heading for California]
Al Joad: Ain't you gonna look back, Ma? Give the ol' place a last look?
Ma Joad: We're going' to California, ain't we? All right then let's go to California.
Al Joad: That don't sound like you, Ma. You never was like that before.
Ma Joad: I never had my house pushed over before. Never had my family stuck out on the road. Never had to lose everything I had in life.
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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

Referenced in Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man: Gripes of Wrath (1994) 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 marvellous production of Steinbeck's epic.
5 January 1999 | by 29055See all my reviews

Henry Fonda's portrayal of Tom Joad captures perfectly the humanity and compassion of the Steinbeck character, an ex-con who breaks his parole conditions by joining his family in their epic journey across the southern US to a "better life" in California.

This is not the usual Hollywood fare. Tragedy and betrayal beset the Joad family from the outset. But it is nonetheless an uplifting movie. Spirit, compassion and tenderness mark them out. Fonda's role is particularly understated, and we see, as in Steinbeck's masterly epic, the maternally robust figure of Ma holding the family together.

The performances all round are wonderful, and Ford's direction and sense of space under the big sky of the Midwest is breathtaking.

This film is now largely a testament to the time in which it was set, but like the war movies that were soon to follow, a story that needed telling lest we forget.


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