The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath

John Ford (1940)

A Certificate
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Our Score
In this magnificent adaptation of John Steinbeck's Depression-era novel, Henry Fonda plays the farmer who leads his family from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to the promised land of California. The scene in which their home is bulldozed is heart-rending and their fate as migrant workers has lasting power. But the film also has some weaknesses, notably a corny religious symbolism in place of Steinbeck's raw politics. When studio boss Darryl F Zanuck was persuading Steinbeck to endorse a happy ending, Zanuck was called away to deal with an even more urgent matter. "The Grapes of Wrath," said Steinbeck, "is unimportant compared to Shirley Temple's tooth." It's beautifully photographed by Gregg Toland, but the Oscars went to director John Ford and Jane Darwell, who's unforgettable as Ma Joad.


When their livelihood is ruined by prolonged drought during the Great Depression, a family of destitute tenant farmers is forced to leave the dust bowl of Oklahoma and undertake a gruelling journey to California in a desperate search for work. John Ford's drama, based on John Steinbeck's novel and starring Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell and John Carradine.

Cast & Crew

Tom Joad Henry Fonda
Ma Joad Jane Darwell
Casey John Carradine
Grandpa Joad Charley Grapewin
Rosaharn Dorris Bowdon
Pa Joad Russell Simpson
Al O Z Whitehead
Muley John Qualen
Connie Eddie Quillan
Grandma Joad Zeffie Tilbury
Noah Frank Sully
Uncle John Frank Darien
Winfield Darryl Hickman
Ruth Joad Shirley Mills
Guardian Grant Mitchell
Policeman Ward Bond
Director John Ford
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Co. LtdAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray