90 Days of Oscar Nominees #87 – The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

In my attempt to have a more prolific repertoire of Oscar Nominated Films, I have taken it upon myself to watch 90 new Best Picture Nominees that I’ve never seen before between 5 Dec 2017 and The 90th Annual Oscars on 4 Mar 2018.

Here is my 87th review of the 90 chosen Films…

“I wouldn’t pray just for a old man that’s dead, ’cause he’s all right. If I was to pray, I’d pray for folks that’s alive and don’t know which way to turn.” – Casy

Number of Times Seen – 2 (27 Jul 2009 and 1 Mar 2018)

Brief Synopsis – After being released from prison on parole for manslaughter, a young farmer returns to his family home in rural Oklahoma to find that his family is being evicted and must find work out West.

My Take on it – This is a film that is based on a novel that I had to read in High School.

I hated the book because it went into so much detail about everything happening that it felt monotonous which led to me dozing off many many times.

This film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel does so much right and it gives us a really interesting story that is able to reflect for us what was actually happening during that time.

I’m still not sure if it’s more impressive that they could get it so accurate a few years after the events of the story or the fact that even after nearly 80 years, this is still seen as one of the very best depictions of life during the Depression for Migrant workers.

The cast is excellent with Henry Fonda truly shining in the lead role.

He is helped along with a great supporting cast but the one that stands out among them is Jane Darwell,  playing Fonda’s mother, who actually was able to win an Oscar that year for Best Supporting Actress.

Director John Ford knew how to create the perfect atmosphere for this film and was a master at trying to keep things as realistic as possible as the story follows the Joad family as they travel across the US trying to find a way to support their family.

Ford was able to win his 2nd (of 4) Best Director Oscar for this film.

Bottom Line – Excellent film that shows the true difficulties of families during the Depression who faced even more hardship when they moved along to “supposedly” better situations. Fonda is superb in the title role and is helped by some great supporting performances, most notably Jane Darwell as his mother. Ford knew how to create the right atmosphere for such a film and kept things feeling as realistic as possible as we follow the Joad family’s journey across the country.  Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – 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. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)


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To see my reviews of Oscar Winning Performances check out this link

To see my reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here (now complete)

Here is a link to my movie index A-Z

7 thoughts on “90 Days of Oscar Nominees #87 – The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

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  5. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actress – Oscars 1940 | MovieRob

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