The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
A review by Shlomoh Sherman
June 7, 2018

Read about The Grapes of Wrath On the Internet Movie Data Base

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Director: John Ford
Writers: Nunnally Johnson (screen play), John Steinbeck (based on the novel by)
Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine
Plot Summary: A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering
the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.
Plot Keywords: great depression - capitalism - company housing - corrupt cop - national film registry
Taglines: The most discussed book in years - now comes to the screen to become the most discussed picture in ages
Genres: Drama - History
Certificate: See below
Parents Guide: See below
Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: March 15, 1940 (USA)
Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA, Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico,
following the route that the "Okies" had taken West, Needles, Daggett and Tehachapi, California
Box Office:
Budget:$800,000 (estimated)
Company Credits:
Production Co: Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Technical Specs:
Runtime: 129 min - 108 min (cut)
Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Color: Black and White
Awards: See below


I have not read any of John Steinbeck's books but I have seen at least two films based on his writings, namely, OF MICE AND MEN and THE GRAPES OF WRATH.

Grapes of Wrath was released in 1940, 3 years after I was born. Of course, everyone who is familiar with the film [or the book], knows that the major theme of the work is the Great Depression and its demoralizing affects on the poor people of America, most notably those Americans living in what became known as the "Dust Bowl".

The Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; the drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.

The Dust Bowl, an area of Oklahoma, Kansas, and northern Texas affected by severe soil erosion,caused by windstorms, in the early 1930s, which obliged many people to move.
- Google

Of course, at three years of age, I could not have seen the film upon its release but I saw it later at least twice. But even having seen the movie more than once, I had no recollection of it other than the ending scene in which Jane Darwell utters the iconic speech:

"They can't wipe us out; they can't lick us. We'll go on forever, Pa, 'cause we're the people."

I 've known that THE GRAPES OF WRATH is one of the great productions to come out of Hollywood, memorable as in the category of CITIZEN KANE, my favorite film.
As mentioned below, it is ranked as the 23rd Greatest Movies of All Time by The American Film Institute, and ranked number 7 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time.

I do remember that when I was 3 years old, my family was on Welfare, then called Home Relief. So in a very real way, we were also feeling the effects of the Great Depression. I could always very well identify with the Joad family, of course, with cultural differences. The Joads are are a southern hillbilly family. My family were immigrant Eastern European Ashkenazic Jews, with all the usual intellectual implications associated with the description.

The story has a simple plot, well summarized by Jwelch5742 in his own IMDB review:

The Joad clan, introduced to the world in John Steinbeck's iconic novel, 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 -- 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.

John Ford's direction is superb and the cimematography of Gregg Toland, known for his innovative use of lighting and techniques such as deep focus, provides the film with the emotive force of the dark dispair and depression of the era. Toland, by the way, also was the cinematographer for THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES and CITIZEN KANE. The article at says that: Some film historians believe Citizen Kane's visual brilliance was due primarily to the contributions of Toland, not director Orson Welles.

The acting talents of the stars, Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell and John Carradine, bring the character of the "Okies" to life.

If you have not seen The Grapes of Wrath, treat yourself to this classic. You can borrow it from your public library. If you have seen it, treat yourself to a second showing of Steinbeck's magnificent story.


Until recently, until informed by my friend, Dietz, I was not aware that The Grapes Of Wrath had created a politically heated controversy.

Apparently, this film aroused the ire of many of the politically conservative in this country. When Steinbeck shows the poor Oakies objecting to working conditions in the transit camps and trying to establish unions, he was accused of being a Red. Steinbeck may have sympathized with the plight of the Dust Bowl migrants but he was far from being a Communist. The truth is that Steinbeck did not like to discuss his political opinions.

Censorship was an important part of the Red Scare and containment of communism in the United States. The film and music industries were especially censored, as well as literature. Writers, screenwriters, directors, etc. were often investigated and blacklisted due to claims of their alleged communist beliefs. Educational literature and literature in college curricula were especially targeted under McCarthyism due to the fear that communism will be taught to students. As a result, many famous works were censored during the 1950s, including Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Civil Disobedience (Thoreau) by Henry David Thoreau, and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

Steinbeck made his first trip to the Soviet Union in 1947 as a journalist. Even before the trip, the pro-worker sentiments of his novels had attracted government suspicion. He was under surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation starting in the early 1940s, though apparently the bureau was not all that discreet. "Do you suppose you could ask Edgar's boys to stop stepping on my heels? They think I am an enemy alien. It is getting tiresome." Steinbeck wrote to Attorney General Francis Biddle in 1942. 5 His trip to Russia confirmed many people's suspicions that Steinbeck was a socialist. But while Steinbeck's work and travels brought him into frequent contact with labor organizers, strikers, and communists, he was not a card-carrying member of the Communist Party, Socialist Party, or any other particular camp. Steinbeck was no revolutionary. In his later years, his friendship with President Lyndon B. Johnson and his largely pro-war reporting on Vietnam drew criticism from liberals and leftists.

Like George Orwell, John Steinbeck was an urban liberal activist with small-town conservative roots. As a Stanford student following World War I, he witnessed America’s Big Red Scare, when hysteria about Bolsheviks, blacks, and labor unions created what Frederick Lewis Allen called a “reign of terror” by the federal government and local vigilante groups. When Red-Scare tactics were employed against Steinbeck following The Grapes of Wrath, the writer complained to the Roosevelt administration, incurring the wrath of J. Edgar Hoover, director of Roosevelt’s newly named Federal Bureau of Investigation. In post-World War II America, Steinbeck’s celebrated liberalism remained part of the public image of California’s famous pro-democracy writer.

A wonderfully written thesis on the subject of exploitation of the working classes as described by Steinbeck -
Dickinson College Dickinson Scholar Student Honors Theses By Emily Mae Stokes - Year Student Honors Theses 5-22-2011
Steinbeck's Subversive Cultural Capital: The Grapes of Wrath and the Problematic Canonization of the Lower Classes

can be found at


The Battle Hymn of the Great Depression
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, was published on this day in 1939. Steinbeck’s story, which follows the struggling Joad family out of the Dust Bowl to California, took its title from Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” — which begins, as Jeff Goldberg noted in 2012, with “the most famous 12 words ever published in the pages of The Atlantic”:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored!
Published in November 1862, the poem was an abolitionist battle cry, summing up the best causes that spurred the Union to civil war. As Jeff wrote, the line about the grapes of wrath “promises vengeance against the enemies of freedom”:
To Howe, wrath is a force not just of vengeance but of purity and certainty. It propels “His truth” and “righteous sentence”: “a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel,” and proclaimed by “the trumpet that shall never call retreat.” What’s more, that moral certainty comes with “a glory … that transfigures you and me.”
But the transformations of wrath in Steinbeck’s novel are darker, and more ambivalent.
The novel is deeply concerned with fertility, what the earth and people can produce, which makes the grapes of wrath an apt metaphor for an anger that’s fed and cultivated by hardship and hurt. Here is how Steinbeck describes the cultivation of grapes:
Grape blossoms shed their tiny petals and the hard little beads become green buttons, and the buttons grow heavy. … The year is heavy with produce. And men are proud, for of their knowledge they can make the year heavy. They have transformed the world with their knowledge.
All growth is transformation, but for the farmers of The Grapes of Wrath, sharecroppers and landowners alike, the power to grow is closely coupled with their sense of self. Which makes it doubly painful when the abundant fruits of their labor are destroyed in order to drive prices up:
The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quicklime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is a failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people, the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.
Here the grapes of wrath become part of a system of perversion, an agriculture that produces violence and decay instead of fruit. There’s death where life should have been: the corn choked by dust; the soil stripped of nitrogen; and the stillborn baby of Rosasharn, the Joads’ eldest daughter, dead in the womb from malnutrition. When the family can’t bear to bury it, they send the body downriver in an apple box, to “go down in the street an’ rot an’ tell ’em that way” what great human wrong has been done.
Meanwhile, wrath works its own transformations on the people, bringing deep divisions between the hungry migrant workers and people in the towns:
They splashed out … to beg for food, to cringe and beg for food, to beg for relief, to try to steal, to lie. And under the begging, and under the cringing, a hopeless anger began to smolder. And in the little town's pity for the sodden men changed to anger, and anger at the hungry people changed to fear of them. ...
The women watched the men, watched to see whether the break had come at last. And where a number of men gathered together, the fear went from their faces, and anger took its place. And the women sighed with relief, for they knew it was all right—the break had not yet come, and the break would never come as long as fear could turn to wrath.
Wrath is a symptom of fear and a symbol of endurance, but it isn’t always righteous; it’s simply all that’s left. After all, decay and death are difficult to kill.
I’m rereading The Grapes of Wrath for the first time in several years. It strikes home in this U.S. election cycle, when wrath is animating both ends of the political spectrum. This country is angry at banks and at government, at insiders and immigrants, at entitled young people and complacent old people and people on both ends of a policeman’s gun. Bernie delivers his fiery gospel, Trump sounds forth his unretreating trumpet, and both are celebrated for their ability to “tell it like it is,” which in practice is the ability to feel wrath and show it.
It’s hard to say whether the Joads and their cohort, if voting today, would rally behind the Democratic outsider or the Republican one. On the one hand, the Okies and Arkies of Steinbeck’s novel support a socialist vision of shared resources, of all folks helping other folks; they have deep, tragic, tangible grievances with big business, and they’re getting ready to unionize. But on the other hand, they share traditions connected to Trump’s rise: the tendency “to stress sharply differentiated gender roles, to prize aggressiveness, and to disdain weakness,” as my colleague Yoni puts it, and to match “strong familial loyalty … with a clannish suspicion of outsiders.”
Most of all, they are men who have lost what’s theirs and want it back. Ma Joad’s cry—“They was the time when we was on the lan.’ We had a boundary then” — has parallels to Trump’s wall and his righteous slogan, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”
But even that is a call for transformation, similar to Bernie’s call for political revolution, and the call to make men free. Wrath can be, and is, a force behind change, and that may be the task ahead: to make our wrath bear wholesome fruit.

Battle Hymn of the Republic: What do Those Words Mean?
by Rich Deem
"He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored," where "He" refers back to the Lord. It seems to be a reference to wine making, except for the "wrath" part. The reference is actually another reference to the second coming of Jesus in judgment:
So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. (Revelation 14:19)
The "wrath" refers to God's anger against those who hate God and worship the false god - the antichrist. The imagery of grapes being trampled comes first from the [Hebrew Scriptures], and also from the New Testament book of Revelation. The choice of wine is probably due to its color, which resembles that of blood.
The Battle Hymn of the Republic was a very popular patriotic song, beginning when it was first written in 1862. Recently, it has fallen out of use (except in churches during Independence Day, Fourth of July, celebrations), probably because of its Christian religious content. However, its lyrics provide rich Christian symbolism of the triumph of Jesus over His enemies. Although Julia Ward Howe's (the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic) intent in writing the lyrics may have been to imply that the North (the "Lord's army") was executing judgment on the South, similar to Lord executing judgment against sinners, it still remains as a rousing Christian anthem.

Isaiah 63 - God’s Day of Vengeance and Redemption
New International Version (NIV)

1 Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.”
2 Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress?
3 “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing.
4 It was for me the day of vengeance; the year for me to redeem had come.
5 I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm achieved salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me.
6 I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.”

As is usual lately, I conclude my reviews with excerpts from a reviewer on The Internet Movie Database [IMDB]

This is from 29055's January 5, 1999 review -

A marvelous production of Steinbeck's epic.
Henry Fonda's portrayal of Tom Joad captures perfectly the humanity and compassion of the Steinbeck character, an ex-con who breaks his parole conditions by joining his family in their epic journey across the southern US to a "better life" in California.
This is not the usual Hollywood fare. Tragedy and betrayal beset the Joad family from the outset. But it is nonetheless an uplifting movie. Spirit, compassion and tenderness mark them out. Fonda's role is particularly understated, and we see, as in Steinbeck's masterly epic, the maternally robust figure of Ma holding the family together.
The performances all round are wonderful, and Ford's direction and sense of space under the big sky of the Midwest is breathtaking.

KUDOS TO Henry Fonda as Tom Joad; this magnificent actor went on, after Grapes of Wrath, to an illustrious career; father of actors Jane and Peter Fonda, I remember him best for his roles in films I have seen, including, On Golden Pond, The Boston Strangler, Battle of the Bulge, How the West Was Won, The Longest Day, 1962 Advise & Consent, 12 Angry Men, The Wrong Man, The Return of Frank James, The Story of Alexander Graham Bell
KUDOS TO Jane Darwell as Ma Joad; this talented actress has appeared in mnay films and TV shows but I cannot remember seeing her; her filmography includes - Brewster's Millions , Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Back Street, Poor Little Rich Girl, Jesse James [along with Henry Fonda], Gone with the Wind, The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Ox-Bow Incident, The Great Gildersleeve, Stage Door Canteen, The Lemon Drop Kid, My Friend Flicka [TV Series], The Last Hurrah, Wagon Train [TV Series], Mary Poppins
KUDOS TO John Carradine as Jim Casy; this native of Poughkeepsie, New York has appeared as a character actor in too many films to mention all; mostly known for his appearences in Universal's horror movies, his amazing filmography includes - The Black Cat, Bride of Frankenstein, Thank You, Mr. Moto, Jesse James [along with Henry Fonda], The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Return of Frank James [along with Henry Fonda], Revenge of the Zombies, Return of the Ape Man, The Mummy's Ghost, Bluebeard, Suspense [TV Series], The Egyptian, My Friend Flicka, The Ten Commandments, Around the World in 80 Days, The Last Hurrah [along with Jane Darwell], The Alfred Hitchcock Hour [TV Series], Blood of Dracula's Castle, The Vampires, Peggy Sue Got Married

Beulah Bondi was tested for the role of Ma Joad Bondi, believing that she had the part, reportedly bought an old jalopy and moved to Bakersfield (CA) to live among the migrant workers in order to research the role. Bondi was reportedly extremely disappointed at losing the role.
Henry Fonda, still struggling to became a big Hollywood star, tried to avoid being a contract player for 20th Century-Fox because he wanted the ability to independently choose his own projects (an increasing number of stars at the time were trying to gain such independence). But when the much-coveted part of Tom Joad was offered to him, Fonda hesitantly gave in and signed a contract to work with the studio for seven years because he knew it would be the role of a lifetime
Prior to filming, producer Darryl F. Zanuck sent undercover investigators out to the migrant camps to see if John Steinbeck had been exaggerating about the squalor and unfair treatment meted out there. He was horrified to discover that, if anything, Steinbeck had actually downplayed what went on in the camps.
John Steinbeck loved the movie and said that Henry Fonda as Tom Joad made him "believe my own words".
Henry Fonda kept the hat he wore in the movie for the rest of his life, until before he passed away in 1982 he gave it to his old friend Jane Withers.
Although John Carradine hated John Ford's bullying style of direction, he nevertheless made eleven films with him over a period of 28 years. Ford was particularly keen on Carradine's unusual look.
The pro-union stance of the film led to both John Steinbeck and John Ford being investigated by Congress during the McCarthy "Red Scare" era for alleged pro-Communist leanings.
Slightly more than halfway through the film, when the Joads pull over to fix a tire, Ma sits on the front fender while Tom crawls under the car. You can just barely hear him say, "Ma, get the hell off (the fender)," which would have been against language codes for films in the era.
Banks and the large farming corporations that controlled most California farms were not keen on the original novel (it was banned in some states and in several counties in California, and the book was not carried in the municipal library of author John Steinbeck's home town of Salinas, California, until the 1990s) and were even less thrilled that a film was being made of it. The Associated Farmers of California called for a boycott of all 20th Century-Fox films, and Steinbeck himself received death threats.
In the book, John Steinbeck had the character of Casy parodying the song "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" by singing "Yes sir, that's my Savior/Jesus is my Savior/Jesus is my Savior now." The Motion Picture Production Code then in effect forbade use of the words "God" and "Jesus" except when used "reverently", so the script resorted to having him hum: "Mm-mmm, mmm, my Savior".
Producer Darryl F. Zanuck knew that Henry Fonda was desperate for the part of Tom Joad, so he let it be known that he was going to offer the part to Tyrone Power. Fonda pleaded with Zanuck for the part, and in order to get it Zanuck talked him into signing an eight-picture deal with 20th Century-Fox.
Although the script conformed to the provisions of the Production Code, a number of potential "problems" had to be addressed. The list of suggested alterations or eliminations included a warning "not to characterize Muley as insane", the rewording of "certain of the lines which have reference to Rosasharn's pregnancy" (in the book, Tom teases Rosasharn and Connie with the line, "Well, I see you been busy"; in the film this is changed to, "Well, I see I'm gonna be an uncle soon"), the removal of a "toilet gag about Grandma" (early in the family's journey Rosasharn leads her out of a gas-station washroom, explaining, "She went to sleep in there"), the elimination of "specific mention of Tulare County [California]" and a request not to identify a town as "Pixley" (a town in Tulare County, CA, notorious for its ill treatment of migrant workers). It was also suggested that the film not show "Tom killing the deputy in self-defense".
John Ford was considered an odd choice for director as he was a staunch conservative who would here be tackling a fairly political subject - the treatment of the Okies. Ford surprised his critics by delivering probably his most sensitive film.
John Ford's chief source of irritation was his inability to embarrass or upset John Carradine. According to Dorris Bowdon, Carradine had a huge ego, considered himself a great actor, and was impervious to whatever Ford threw at him, although their antagonism often produced perfect moments of performance and character.
John Ford unmercifully chewed out Frank Darien for overemoting in the scene where Ma is preparing a simple stew for the family in front of a crowd of starving children in the migrant camp. By the time Ford had finished his tirade, Darien was completely drained, which proved to be exactly the take Ford wanted for the scene.
With the death of Shirley Mills (Ruthie) on March 31, 2010, Darryl Hickman (Winfield) is the last surviving cast member of the film.
Far from being a leftist with an interest in social problems, John Ford decided to focus on the story purely through the Joad family as characters. "I was sympathetic to people like the Joads, and contributed a lot of money to them, but I was not interested in Grapes as a social study."
2007: The American Film Institute ranked this as the #23 Greatest Movie of All Time.
The joke that the truck driver at the diner is telling gets cut off (told to "cheese it") and is never finished. Steinbeck has the full version in the book: Little kid comes in late ta school. Teacher says, "Why ya late?" Kid says, "Had a take a heifer down-get 'er bred." Teacher says, "Couldn't your ol' man do it?" Kid says, "Sure he could, but not as good as the bull."
Reportedly, carloads of people actually making the trek to California were paid five dollars apiece to be filmed along with the Joad truck as part of the film's fictional caravan of migrants.
A sequel was in the works at Fox the year after the film's release. It was tentatively named after the first film's fake working title, "Highway 66".
2006: Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time.
Won John Ford his second consecutive Oscar, thus making him the first director to win back to back Oscars.
Louise Dresser was also considered for the part of Ma Joad.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
The film was banned by Josef Stalin in the Soviet Union because it showed that even the poorest Americans could afford cars.
Jane Darwell's Oscar winning performance in this film is her only Academy Award nomination.
The novel's original ending was far too controversial to be even considered for a film in 1940. It involved Rose-of-Sharon Rivers (Dorris Bowdon) giving birth to a stillborn baby and then offering her milk-filled breasts to a starving man, dying in a barn.
When Darryl F. Zanuck suggested to John Ford that, to create an upbeat ending, he use Ma Joad's "we're the people" monologue for a closing scene, Ford told Zanuck to direct it himself - which he did.
International distributions (e.g. UK) have a short ~30 second prologue at the beginning to explain the historical context to the story to touch on the socio-economic problems in the US which arose during the Great Depression and the concurrent Dust Bowl.

Gasoline Attendant: You and me got sense. Them Okies got no sense and no feeling. They ain't human. Human being wouldn't live the way they do. Human being couldn't stand to be so miserable.
[Iconic last lines]
Ma Joad: Rich fellas come up an' they die, an' their kids ain't no good an' they die out. But we keep a'comin'. We're the people that live. They can't wipe us out; they can't lick us. We'll go on forever, Pa, 'cause we're the people.

Red River Valley (uncredited) Traditional Played during the opening credits and often in the score Sung by Henry Fonda at the dance
A Tisket, A Tasket (uncredited) Traditional Background music during the first scene
Going Down the Road Feeling Bad (uncredited) Traditional Played on guitar and Sung by Eddie Quillan
She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain (uncredited) Traditional Played as dance music


Argentina:13 Australia:PG (DVD rating) Australia:G (original rating) Brazil:12 Canada:PG (Manitoba) Canada:G (Nova Scotia/Quebec) Canada:PG (video rating) Finland:K-12 (2014, TV rating) Finland:K-16 (1941) Germany:12 (DVD rating) Philippines:PG-13 (MTRCB, video rating) Portugal:M/12 (re-release) Singapore:PG (video rating) South Korea:12 Soviet Union:(Banned) Sweden:15 United Kingdom:A (original rating) United Kingdom:PG (video rating) United States:Not Rated United States:Passed (National Board of Review) United States:Approved (pca #5789) West Germany:12 (f)

On two occasions men's bare shoulders are briefly seen: once while in the water, and once while sleeping. Neither is sexualized

A man is clubbed in the head; he dies (the scene is at night and not bloody). Tom is hit over the head and survives he collapes in the doorway of his motel room with his family. The next morning the wound on his right cheek is seen breifly.

The word 'jackassin' is used

Some scenes with cigerette smoking.

A truck is stopped by an angry crowd holding planks.
The Joads, including Tom, have to avoid being caught by the local sherriffs. They try to hide the crimes that they committed and accuse somebody else.
Starvation is a constant theme.

Spoilers - The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.
Grampa Joad dies of a heart attack.
Granma Joad dies but we don't know how.
A woman is shot by a sherrif while the other men are trying to control the police. Casy tells them that he hit the sherrif that made him 'talk back'.


Academy Awards, USA 1941
Oscar Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Jane Darwell
Best Director - John Ford
Oscar Best Picture
Best Actor in a Leading Role - Henry Fonda
Best Writing, Screenplay - Nunnally Johnson
Best Sound, Recording - Edmund H. Hansen (20th Century-Fox SSD)
Best Film Editing - Robert L. Simpson

Blue Ribbon Awards 1963
Blue Ribbon Award Best Foreign Language Film - John Ford

National Board of Review, USA 1940
NBR Award - Best Film, Top Ten Films
Best Acting - Jane Darwell

National Film Preservation Board, USA 1989
National Film Registry

New York Film Critics Circle Awards 1940
NYFCC Award Best Film

Online Film & Television Association 2000
OFTA Film Hall of Fame Motion Picture

Read about The Grapes of Wrath On the Internet Movie Data Base

Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Fonda ... Tom Joad
Jane Darwell ... Ma Joad
John Carradine ... Jim Casy
Charley Grapewin ... Grandpa
Dorris Bowdon ... Rosasharn
Russell Simpson ... Pa Joad
O.Z. Whitehead ... Al
John Qualen ... Muley Bates
Eddie Quillan ... Connie
Zeffie Tilbury ... Grandma
Frank Sully ... Noah
Frank Darien ... Uncle John
Darryl Hickman ... Winfield
Shirley Mills ... Ruthie
Roger Imhof ... Thomas

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