Grapes of Wrath

Grapes of Wrath

4.5 8
Director: John Ford

Cast: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine


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The adaptation of Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of dirt-poor Dust Bowl migrants by 4-time Oscar-winning director John Ford starred Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, who opens the movie returning to his Oklahoma home after serving jail time for manslaughter. En route, Tom meets family friend Casey (John Carradine), a former preacher who warns… See more details below

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The adaptation of Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of dirt-poor Dust Bowl migrants by 4-time Oscar-winning director John Ford starred Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, who opens the movie returning to his Oklahoma home after serving jail time for manslaughter. En route, Tom meets family friend Casey (John Carradine), a former preacher who warns Tom that dust storms, crop failures, and new agricultural methods have financially decimated the once prosperous Oklahoma farmland. Upon returning to his family farm, Tom is greeted by his mother (Oscar-winner Jane Darwell), who tells him that the family is packing up for the "promised land" of California. Warned that they shouldn't expect a warm welcome in California--they've already seen the caravan of dispirited farmers, heading back home after striking out at finding work--the Joads push on all the same. Their first stop is a wretched migrant camp, full of starving children and surrounded by armed guards. Further down the road, the Joads drive into an idyllic government camp, with clean lodging, indoor plumbing, and a self-governing clientele. When Tom ultimately bids goodbye to his mother, who asks him where he'll go, he delivers the film's most famous speech: "I'll be all around...Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat...Whenever there's a cop beating a guy, I'll be there...And when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build. I'll be there too."

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
It's rare for cinematic adaptations of classic novels to attain the same status as their sources, but John Ford's 1940 version of The Grapes of Wrath is every bit as meritorious as John Steinbeck's novel about displaced dirt farmers making their way to California during the darkest days of the Great Depression. Some of Steinbeck's most memorable bits -- including the novel's startling but poignant ending -- are softened or eliminated for the movie, but overall Ford captures the book's essence with remarkable skill and sensitivity. Henry Fonda, in one of his best-remembered roles, plays the scion of an Oklahoma family, the Joads, forced off their land by extended droughts and desperate economic conditions. Like so many others seduced by the promise of employment in California, the so-called "land of milk and honey," they pack their meager belongings into a ramshackle car and head west. Their odyssey exposes the Joads to all sorts of people -- some of them willing to exploit the downtrodden Okies, and others equally willing to lend a hand to fellow Americans down on their luck. Fonda's gradual transformation from mild-mannered farm boy to committed political activist culminates in a memorable curtain speech that's only one of the highlights of a masterful job of acting; indeed, his Tom Joad is among the most vividly drawn characters in Hollywood history. Supporting player Jane Darwell won an Oscar for her turn as the strong-willed matriarch of the Joad clan, and Charlie Grapewin, Russell Simpson, John Carradine, John Qualen, and Eddie Quillan also turn in top-drawer performances. Yet Ford's directorial contributions go far beyond steering the actors: He stages sequences and frames shots with sublime attention to detail. The saga of the Joads is tragic in many ways, but this movie doesn't wallow in the mire -- instead, it celebrates the uniquely American qualities of self-sufficiency and perseverance. And it offers, from the viewpoint of milepost 1940, the promise of social change that, ironically, is not yet complete.
All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath is arguably the director's greatest movie, and the rare Hollywood film superior to its literary source (a view shared by the novel's author, John Steinbeck). Indeed, it is the movie that sums up the impact of the Great Depression, at least on rural America, better than any other film of its time (and there were hundreds that tried, by everyone from Frank Capra to Preston Sturges). From the opening shot of Tom Joad's return to the ruined land where he grew up, the movie is a study of people whose dreams and hopes wither away like the drought-stricken crops. Yet Ford managed to make a movie that wasn't utterly pessimistic, despite its story and setting: the performers and script availed him of indomitable characters, convincingly portrayed, with the result that even the most cynical viewers were persuaded of Ford's artistic vision. Henry Fonda, who'd been an up-and-coming leading man, solidified his image as an upright hero with an almost mystical bent in his portrayal of Tom Joad; Jane Darwell became the archetypal rural matriarch; and even the bit players, such as Ward Bond and Grant Mitchell, got relatively rare opportunities to play against their usual types as beneficent characters. The movie became a strange case of fiction transcending fact, as Ford's images (photographed by the great cinematographer Gregg Toland) became more representative of the period than most documentary photography. Countless filmmakers have quoted from The Grapes of Wrath (there's a very funny audio-visual reference in Close Encounters of the Third Kind), and Ford himself never made a more compelling social statement despite several attempts (The Sun Shines Bright, Sergeant Rutledge, and others) over the next 20 years.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
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Special Features

Audio commentary by film historian Joseph McBride and Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw; U.K. prologue; Darryl F. Zanuck: 20th Century Filmmaker as seen on Biography on the A&E Network; Restoration comparison; Original theatrical trailer; Still gallery; Fox Movietone News: 1934 - Worst Drought in Many Years Hits Middle West, Midwest Drought Distress Becomes National Disaster, Outlaws; 1941 - Roosevelt Lauds Motion Pictures at Academy Fete

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Henry Fonda Tom Joad
Jane Darwell Ma Joad
John Carradine Casey
Charles Grapewin Grandpa Joad
Doris Bowden Rosasham
John Qualen Muley Graves
Russell Simpson Pa Joad
O.Z. Whitehead Al
Eddie Quillan Connie Rivers
Zeffie Tilbury Gramma
Frank Sully Noah
Frank Darien Uncle John
Darryl Hickman Winfield Joad
Shirley Mills Ruth Joad
Roger Imhof Thomas
Grant Mitchell Caretaker
Charles D. Brown Wilkie
John Arledge Davis
Wally Albright Boy Who Ate
Erville Alderson Arkansas Storekeeper
Arthur Aylesworth Father
Irving Bacon Conductor
Trevor Bardette Jule
Ward Bond Policeman
George Breakston Boy
Cliff Clark Townsman
Shirley "Muggsy" Coates Actor
Harry Cording Actor
Ralph Dunn Deputy
Thornton Edwards Motor Cop
Frank Faylen Tim Wallace
Pat Flaherty Actor
James Flavin Guard
Francis Ford Actor
Paul Guilfoyle Floyd
William Haade Deputy Driver
Ben Hall Actor
Herbert Heywood Actor
Robert E. Homans Spencer
David Hilary Hughes Frank
Selmar Jackson Inspector
Hollis Jewell Muley's Son
Rex Lease Cop
Mae Marsh Floyd's Wife
Louis Mason Man in Camp
Walter McGrail Gang Leader
Kitty McHugh Mae
Charles B. Middleton Leader
Walter Miller New Mexico Border Guard
Adrian Morris Agent
Frank O'Connor Actor
George O'Hara Clerk
Ted Oliver State Policeman
Inez Palange Woman in Camp
William Pawley Bill
Gaylord "Steve" Pendleton Actor
Steve Pendleton Attendant
Jack Pennick Camp helper
Dick Rich Actor
Gloria Roy Waitress
Peggy Ryan Hungry Girl
Joe Sawyer Accountant
Joseph Sauer Accountant
Robert "Buddy" Shaw Gas Station Attendant
Lee Shumway Actor
Georgia Simmons Woman
Harry Strang Fred the Truck Driver
Paul Sutton Actor
Charles Tannen Joe
Harry Tenbrook Deputy/Troublemaker
Harry Tyler Bert
Tom Tyler Sheriff
Eddy Waller Proprietor
Norman Willis Joe

Technical Credits
John Ford Director
Richard Day Art Director
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
Nunnally Johnson Screenwriter
Mark-Lee Kirk Art Director
George Leverett Sound/Sound Designer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Alfred Newman Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Edward O'Fearna Asst. Director
Robert L. Simpson Editor
John Steinbeck Source Author
Gregg Toland Cinematographer
Gwen Wakeling Costumes/Costume Designer
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1, Side A -- The Ford at Fox Collection: The Grapes of Wrath - Feature
1. Main Titles [1:04]
2. Hitchin' a Ride [3:14]
3. Losing the Cell [5:27]
4. Emptiness [3:36]
5. Muley's Story [7:02]
6. Hidin' Out [2:11]
7. California Promise [3:16]
8. Joad Reunion [2:21]
9. Letting Go [2:30]
10. "I Belong Here!" [5:13]
11. Don't Look Back [5:07]
12. Employment Equation [5:22]
13. A Ten Cent Loaf [4:05]
14. California Border [4:24]
15. Driving Through the Desert [5:20]
16. Beautiful Valley [2:09]
17. A Fair Share [6:32]
18. Business Practices [4:27]
19. No More Okies [4:12]
20. A Job [6:57]
21. Uprising [7:46]
22. "Nothing to Trust" [4:40]
23. Gone for Good [2:17]
24. A Stroke of Luck [5:19]
25. Word of Warning [2:40]
26. Dance Night [3:49]
27. The Red River Valley [3:02]
28. On the Trail [3:28]
29. "I'll Be Everywhere" [5:00]
30. Good-bye [1:13]
31. "Twenty Days Work" [1:53]
32. "We're the People That Live" [3:01]

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