THE GRAPES OF WRATH

(1940)
With Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Russell Simpson, Charles Grapewin, Doris Bowden
Directed by John Ford
Black and White
Reviewed by JL and JB
The Grapes of Wrath

     John Steinbeck's tragic dust bowl epic receives a powerful screen adaptation that many regard as John Ford's greatest film.  It's both a riveting and haunting work of cinematic art, as well as a better history lesson on the Great Depression than any textbook could provide.  Henry Fonda delivers one of the great performances in film history, crawling inside Tom Joad's skin and projecting the character from the soul outward.  Neither as allegorical nor as relentlessly depressing as Steinbeck's novel, THE GRAPES OF WRATH is nevertheless one of the few film adaptations of classic literature that doesn't disappoint fans of the book.  - JL


     If you can find a more "American" movie than John Steinbeck's greatest novel directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, I'd like to know about it. Although it takes some liberty with the book - Steinbeck's final paragraph was absolutely unfilmable in 1940 - THE GRAPES OF WRATH is still one of the premiere film adaptations of a classic novel, on a par with Hal Roach's glorious OF MICE AND MEN of the previous year.  - JB

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