The Grapes of Wrath (1940) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Grapes of Wrath1940

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)



Critic Consensus: A potent drama that is as socially important today as when it was made, The Grapes of Wrath is affecting, moving, and deservedly considered an American classic.

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Movie Info

Adapted from John Steinbeck's novel, this classic drama shows how the Great Depression affects one American family. Evicted from their Oklahoma farm homes, the Joads head West to seek work, but two die during the journey. In California, the family's deterioration continues as they live in poverty in migrant camps.

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Henry Fonda
as Tom Joad
Jane Darwell
as Ma Joad
Dorris Bowdon
as Rosaharn
Doris Bowden
as Rosasharn
Charley Grapewin
as Grandpa Joad
John Qualen
as Muley Graves
Eddie Quillen
as Connie Rivers
Eddie Quillan
as Connie Rivers
Zeffie Tilbury
as Grandma Joad
Frank Darien
as Uncle John
Darryl Hickman
as Winfield Joad
Shirley Mills
as Ruth Joad
Ward Bond
as Policeman
Frank Faylen
as Tim Wallace
Joe Sawyer
as Accountant
Hollis Jewell
as Muley's Son
Selmer Jackson
as Inspector
Eddy Waller
as Proprietor
Cliff Clark
as Townsman
Irving Bacon
as Conductor
Jack Pennick
as Committeeman
Walter McGrail
as Gang Leader
Tom Tyler
as Sheriff
Robert "Buddy" Shaw
as Gas Station Attendant
Ralph Dunn
as Deputy
Ted Oliver
as State Policeman
Gloria Roy
as Waitress
Erville Alderson
as Arkansas Storekeeper
Harry Strang
as Fred the Truck Driver
Inez Palange
as Woman in Camp
Louis Mason
as Man in Camp
Harry Tenbrook
as Deputy/Troublemaker
Walter Miller
as New Mexico Border Guard
William Haade
as Deputy Driver
Selmar Jackson
as Inspector
Peggy Ryan
as Hungry Girl
Wally Albright
as Boy Who Ate
Mae Marsh
as Floyd's Wife
Francis Ford
as (unconfirmed) (uncredited)
Shirley "Muggsy" Coates
as Girl in Migrant Camp
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News & Interviews for The Grapes of Wrath

Critic Reviews for The Grapes of Wrath

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (11)

Movies will probably go on improving and broadening themselves; but in any event, The Grapes of Wrath is the most mature picture story that has ever been made, in feeling, in purpose, and in the use of the medium.

August 29, 2012 | Full Review…

Classic John Steinbeck adaptation is still powerful.

December 28, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The Grapes of Wrath is flawed, but it captures that shiver of panic that grips anyone for whom the money for the next meal is unknown.

November 22, 2010 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Ford's admirers have rightly tended to play this down in favor of his later and more personal westerns, but there's much to admire here in Gregg Toland's sun-beaten photography and Henry Fonda's meticulous performance.

April 27, 2009

The Grapes of Wrath is possibly the best picture ever made from a so-so book.

April 27, 2009 | Full Review…

It is an absorbing, tense melodrama, starkly realistic, and loaded with social and political fireworks.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Grapes of Wrath


Ford and Johnson were able to transpose Steinbeck's masterpiece into a splendid film that preserves the book's essence (even with a different, upbeat ending) without infringing the infamous rules of the Hays Code, yet it also feels a bit rushed and lacking in sufficient information (e.g., Noah vanishing without explanation).

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

It can be a bit slow and some scenes are unnecessary, but this is usually the case with all films this old. On the other hand, it's well made and at times very powerful. I especially love the end when Tom Joad makes an important decision with his life. Some scenes are suspenseful (well, 1940s suspenseful) and the characters are interesting for the most part. Probably John Ford's best film.

Eric Shankle
Eric Shankle

Super Reviewer


An amazing film. Just as relevant today.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

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