The Grapes of Wrath
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This remarkable film version of Steinbeck?s novel was nominated for seven Academy Awards®, including for Best Picture, Actor (Henry Fonda), Film Editing, Sound and Writing. John Ford won the Best Director Oscar® and actress Jane Darwell won Best Actress for her portrayal of Ma Joad, the matriarch of the struggling migrant farmer family. Following a prison term he served for manslaughter, Tom Joad returns to find his family homestead overwhelmed by weather and the greed of the banking industry. With little work potential on the horizon of the Oklahoma dust bowls, the entire family packs up and heads for the promised land ? California. But the arduous trip and harsh living conditions they encounter offer little hope, and family unity proves as daunting a challenge as any other they face.
Ranking No. 21 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest American films, this 1940 classic is a bit dated in its noble sentimentality, but it remains a luminous example of Hollywood classicism from the peerless director of mythic Americana, John Ford. Adapted by Nunnally Johnson from John Steinbeck's classic novel, the film tells a simple story about Oklahoma farmers leaving the depression-era dustbowl for the promised land of California, but it's the story's emotional resonance and theme of human perseverance that makes the movie so richly and timelessly rewarding. It's all about the humble Joad family's cross-country trek to escape the economic devastation of their ruined farmland, beginning when Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) returns from a four-year prison term to discover that his family home is empty. He's reunited with his family just as they're setting out for the westbound journey, and thus begins an odyssey of saddening losses and strengthening hopes. As Ma Joad, Oscar-winner Jane Darwell is the embodiment of one of America's greatest social tragedies and the "Okie" spirit of pressing forward against all odds (as she says, "because we're the people"). A documentary-styled production for which Ford and cinematographer Gregg Toland demanded painstaking authenticity, The Grapes of Wrath is much more than a classy, old-fashioned history lesson. With dialogue and scenes that rank among the most moving and memorable ever filmed, it's a classic among classics--simply put, one of the finest films ever made. --Jeff Shannon
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.75 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.84 Ounces
- Director : John Ford
- Media Format : Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
- Run time : 2 hours and 9 minutes
- Release date : April 6, 2004
- Actors : Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin, Dorris Bowdon
- Dubbed: : French, Spanish
- Subtitles: : English, Spanish
- Producers : Darryl F. Zanuck, Nunnally Johnson
- Language : French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Unqualified, English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
- Studio : 20th Century Fox
- ASIN : B0000DJZ8R
- Writers : John Steinbeck, Nunnally Johnson
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Analysis of Plot Elements
There are so many powerful and moving plot elements in this movie. Early in the story, you can sense elements of personal conflict. One of the scenes that for me exemplified this personal conflict first in the film is the scene at the beginning of the movie when Tom, Jim, and Muley are hiding from the superintendent. The animosity, frustration, and fear are for the superintendent, and vice versa is palpable, and it saturates the scene. But the story centers in the age-old struggle of man vs. environment as the Joads are driven from their home by hard economic times, the drought and changes to the agricultural landscape in Oklahoma. This struggle is the inciting incident which sets in motion the family's travel from Oklahoma to California and sets off our elements of progressive complication, crisis, climax and resolution in this storyline. The progressive difficulty occurs as a series of events unfold as it becomes clear that grandpa Joad is in decline and MA takes the leadership role of the family. It continues through a series of ups and downs throughout their trip as they pass through different states. Some examples that were very powerful to me while watching this film were the dead of grandpa Joad early on in their trip & the scene at the truck stop. The movie clearly depicted the values of life/dead & hate/compassion beautifully. The Grapes of Wrath movie continues as the family arrives at Hooverville to discover appalling migrant conditions. This is followed by Tom and Casy's fight with the policy and Casy's arrest. Then the family is forced to flee and subsequently arrive at Weedpatch camp, but immediately unknown to Tom and his family there is tension between the workers as the people who run the field barely pay enough for people to eat. Things come to a head when Tom unknowingly discovers a group of strikers lead by none other than his friend Casy who was released from Jail. Then we enter the climax when Casy is killed when he was stroked by the police officers, and Tom kills a police officer in return.
The creative elements
The characters are represented in a very human and raw way. The actors' performances were truly stunning. One of the scenes that touched me deeply was when Ma Joad was destroying her pictures and packing on their last night in Oklahoma. Her eyes said it all. Mrs. Darwell was an outstanding actress. Grandpa Joad's performance also added so much emotion to the scene on the family's last day in Oklahoma as he fought and had had to be consoled and put in the truck as a child. Concerning the cinematography, for its time, even though the movie is in black and white, it is surprisingly crisp looking, and you are able to distinguish the scenes well enough.
I usually do not enjoy black and white films. But this film has converted me. I truly enjoyed how the themes of individuals vs. community, meekness vs. wrath and selfishness vs. kindness were portrayed. This movie is in my opinion timeless. It truly represented the struggles of the poor and their desire for their basic needs like food, shelter, and safety to be met. I think that this movie is very sobering in an age of consumerism in which many people just want the latest gadget irrespective of consequences. In conclusion, I would recommend it as a sobering, enjoyable departure of modern Hollywood.
Top reviews from other countries
Although it deviates from the original book and softens it's edges, this still captures the Depression-Era hardship created by the dust bowls and the opportunistic greed of those who exploited the situation; The exodus of the Joad family takes the viewer along route 66 from Oklahoma to California, vividly exposing the plight of Americans who had lost everything; Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell were rightly recognised for their portrayals of Tom and Ma Joad and John Carradine deserves mention for his part as Casy, the ex-preacher who joins the striking workers.
A powerful – and sadly still relevant film – America hasn't changed it's attitudes; safeguards to prevent economic disasters happening again were dismantled by successive Republican presidents; the financial crash of 2007-8 saw millions of American lose their homes as a result - and the same opportunistic greed prevails.
Tom Joad`s final words to his Ma are always with me.
The UK DVD offers a sharp print of the Film and there are optional English subtitles should one require them – there are no extras.