John Ford directs what many consider to be Henry Fonda’s greatest role. Based on John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prizewinning 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath follows an Oklahoma family’s escape from the Dustbowl to join the migration to California’s fruit harvest. Fonda shines as Tom Joad, a poor farmer who refuses to be beaten down by misfortune and oppression, and Jane Darwell is moving as the loving backbone of the Joad family. An unusually compassionate and socially conscious film, it’s like a series of Dorothea Lange photos from the Depression, full of suffering and dignity.
The great character actress Jane Darwell, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, was the child of a railroad president who claimed to be a direct descendant of President Andrew Jackson.
The original publicity stated “The thousands who have read the book will know why we will not sell any children tickets to see this picture!”
Academy Award Nominations: 7, including Best Picture; Best Actor: Henry Fonda; Best Screenplay.
Cast: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin, Dorris Bowdon, Russell Simpson, Zeffic Tilbury, O. Z. Whitehead, John Oualen, Eddie Quillan, Grant Mitchell
Director: John Ford
Producer: Nunnally Johnson
Original Story: John Steinbeck
Director of Photography: Gregg Toland
Editor: Robert Simpson
Screenwriter: Nunnally Johnson
Production Designer: Mark-Lee Kirk
Costume Designer: Gwen Wakeling
Set Designer: Thomas Little
Art Director: Richard Day
USA / Twentieth Century Fox / 129 minutes / 1940