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The Grapes of Wrath


Overview - John Ford's memorable screen version of John Steinbeck's epic novel of the Great Depression--often regarded as the director's best film--stars Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. After having served a brief prison sentence for manslaughter, Joad arrives at his family's Oklahoma farm only to find it abandoned.  Read more...

 

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Overview

John Ford's memorable screen version of John Steinbeck's epic novel of the Great Depression--often regarded as the director's best film--stars Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. After having served a brief prison sentence for manslaughter, Joad arrives at his family's Oklahoma farm only to find it abandoned. Muley (John Qualen), a neighbor now nearly mad with grief, tells Tom of the drought that has transformed the farmland of Oklahoma into a desert and of the preying land agents who have plowed under the shacks of the sharecroppers. Joined by former hellfire preacher Casy (John Carradine), Tom finds his extended family, including Pa (Charles Grapewin) and his indomitable Ma (Jane Darwell), packing their ramshackle truck to seek work in the fields of California. As the family treks across the country, their dissolution begins with the deaths of Tom's grandparents at close intervals. When they arrive in California, the Joads find only an abundance of poverty-stricken migrants like themselves and little in the way of potential work. Yet, ever resilient, they maintain their dignity, hoping for the best. Among the talented cast, Fonda does perhaps the best work of his career, as does Qualen in the film's most haunting sequence. Director of photography Gregg Toland captures the suffering and the weathered, luminous nobility of the Joads and the other uprooted, drifting families, creating striking images equal to the best work of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans. In a stirring film that stands as a microcosm of the depression experience of millions, Ford gives poverty a human face in a way that was rare then and even rarer in the decades to follow as Hollywood films with a sense of class consciousness dwindled like a species nearing extinction.

Awards:
1940 - Academy Awards - Best Supporting Actress Winner
1940 - Academy Awards - Best Director Winner

Cast List

Nunnally Johnson - American Screenwriter/Director
Russell Simpson - American Character Actor
John Qualen - Character Actor
Henry Fonda - Oscar winning actor, ON GOLDEN POND
Heny Jaynes Fonda - Oscar winning actor, ON GOLDEN POND
Jane Darwell - Oscar winning actress, THE GRAPES OF WRATH
Eddie Quillan - American Comic Actor
Darryl F. Zanuck - Studio Head, Producer, Source Writer, Director
Darryl Francis Zanuck - Studio Head, Producer, Source Writer, Director
Mark-Lee Kirk - Art Director/Production Designer
Doris Bowden
Charley Grapewin - American Character Actor, THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
Charles Grapewin - American Character Actor, THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
Alfred Newman - Composer/Conductor/D.1970
O.Z. Whitehead
John Ford - American Director, THE SEARCHERS (1956)
Sean Aloysius O'Feeney - American Director, THE SEARCHERS (1956)
John Steinbeck - American Author
John Ernst Steinbeck - American Author
Thomas Little
Richard Day
Robert Simpson
Gwen Wakeling - Costume Designer
Gregg Toland - Legendary Cinematographer
John Carradine - American actor, BLUEBEARD (1944)
John Peter Richmond - American actor, BLUEBEARD (1944)
Richmond Reed Carradine - American actor, BLUEBEARD (1944)
Zeffie Tilbury - American Character Actress
Grant Mitchell - American Actor

 
Details
  • Color Format: B&W
  • UPC: 024543482642
  • Rating: Not Rated

Related Categories:
Movies > Dramas

Related Keywords:
Classic
Family Interaction
Tear Jerker
Social Issues
Recommended
Poverty
Essential Cinema

 
Movie Reviews

More Details

Synopsis:
Based on John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1939 novel, the story follows an Oklahoma family's escape from the dust bowl to join the migration to California's fruit harvest.

Notes:
THE GRAPES OF WRATH was an original selection to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1989.

Reviews:
"It's gorgeous, jaw-dropping work, rivaling Toland's deep-focus artistry in CITIZEN KANE." - 04/09/2004 Entertainment Weekly, p.70


"As son Tom Joad, Henry Fonda gave the screen performance of his career." - 04/09/2004 USA Today, p.10E


"[T]he director's most artistic work..." - 05/01/2005 Uncut, p.144


Ranked #17 in Uncut's Best DVDs Of 2005 -- "One of Ford's most beautiful films, and Fonda's performance is an essay in layered minimalism..." - 01/01/2006 Uncut, p.84-85


"The message is boldly displayed....The movie was based on John Steinbecks' novel arguably the most effective social document of the 1930s..." - 03/31/2002 Chicago Sun-Times

 
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