The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
January 31, 2023 9:21 AM - Subscribe

The Joad clan 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 (Henry Fonda) -- 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.

Also starring Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin, Dorris Bowdon, Russell Simpson, O. Z. Whitehead, John Qualen, Eddie Quillan, Zeffie Tilbury, Frank Sully, Frank Darien, Darryl Hickman, Shirley Mills.

Directed by John Ford. Screenplay by Nunnally Johnson. Based on the novel by John Steinbeck. Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, Nunnally Johnson. Cinematography by Gregg Toland. Music by Alfred Newman.

100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently available for digital rental in the US. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Still relevant.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:30 AM on January 31, 2023 [2 favorites]

The beginning of TGoW blew me away the first time I saw it. The movie did an excellent job of creating atmosphere: Tom roaming around a desolate and oppressive OK countryside.
posted by Stuka at 10:08 AM on January 31, 2023 [1 favorite]

There's a scene the night before the family heads out West, where Ma Joad is going through some of her things and deciding what to bring with her. Jane Darwell doesn't say a word; she simply looks each item over, reading the old letters and smiling faintly at the memories or wiping a way a stray tear, and then either putting it in her pocket or throwing it into the fire in the wood stove. The postcards - into the fire. A couple letters - the fire. Another letter - that one goes in the pocket. A cheap dog figurine - pocket. Some wooden knickknack - fire. The last thing to get a look is a pair of earrings; she studies them, then holds them up in front of her ears and looks at her reflection, not really looking at the earrings so much as she's looking at her own sad face, now gone older than however old she was when she wore the earrings. After a very sad stare, the earrings go into the pocket for later.

...she doesn't say a word, but that's the scene where Jane Darwell earned her Oscar for this role.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:00 AM on January 31, 2023 [6 favorites]

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