A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn1945

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Photos

Movie Info

Based on the novel by Betty Smith, this film relates the trials and tribulations of a turn-of-the-century Brooklyn tenement family. The story is told from the point of view of daughter Peggy Ann Garner, a clear-eyed realist who nonetheless would like to believe in her pie-in-the-sky father, whom she loves,


Peggy Ann Garner
as Francie Nolan
James Dunn
as Johnny Nolan
Lloyd Nolan
as McShane
Joan Blondell
as Aunt Sissy
Ted Donaldson
as Neely Nolan
James Gleason
as McGarrity
Ruth Nelson
as Miss McDonough
John Alexander
as Steve Edwards
B.S. Pully
as Christmas Tree Vendor
Ferike Boros
as Grandma Rommely
Charles Halton
as Mr. Barker
Robert Tait
as Street Singer
George Melford
as Mr. Spencer
Mae Marsh
as Tynmore sister
Al Bridge
as Cheap Charlie
Edna Jackson
as Tynmore Sister
Vincent Graeff
as Henny Gaddis
Susan Lester
as Flossie Gaddis
John Berkes
as Mr. Crackenbox
Lillian Bronson
as Librarian
Alec Craig
as Werner
Alan Bridge
as Cheap Charlie
Virginia Brissac
as Miss Tilford
Art Smith
as Ice Man
Erskine Sanford
as Undertaker
Al Eben
as Union Representative
Harry Seymour
as Floorwalker
Nicholas Ray
as Bakery Clerk
Norman Field
as Principals of School
George Meader
as Principals of School
View All

Critic Reviews for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (5)

Faithful adaptation of classic family story.

December 21, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

A sober and reasonably truthful story of life among the lowly.

December 5, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Where Tree is frequently slow, it is offset by the story's significance and pointed up notably by the direction of Elia Kazan.

November 1, 2007 | Full Review…

Elia Kazan has directed this picture, his first, with an easy naturalness that has brought out all the tone of real experience in a vastly affecting film.

May 20, 2003 | Full Review…

This family has a great deal of love but a lot of difficulty showing it.

April 13, 2002 | Rating: A-
Top Critic

It reflects the early sobriety of Kazan's style, but its melodrama about poverty and family nucleus seems to me inconsistent and unemotional. [Full review in Spanish]

November 24, 2021 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Flying under the radar, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a great Kazan film. Putting aside the snitch tendencies off the screen, the tale of the family in a Brooklyn tenement is particularly dark in a tremendous way.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Director Elia Kazan gives us his adaptation of the Betty Smith novel about a young girl coming-of-age in 1900s Brooklyn. Living with an alcoholic father and a workaholic mother, she and her tough little brother try to survive the rough times in their little apartment home. The father is a singing waiter and dreams of one day making it big in show business. To his daughter, he's larger-than-life character, a charming prince or movie star. The mother is more pragmatic or cynical, or maybe just tired of the hard life, and finds his antics less amusing. The daughter is naturally inquisitive, she attempts to read every book in the library in alphabetical order. It's only natural she's extraordinarily bored at the substandard and overcrowded school she attends. She wants nothing more than to attend the school where the children of higher incomed families go. The father makes it the one wish of hers he can fullfill and somehow manages to get her in. She means to rise above her status in life and make something great of herself. She wants to be a writer. The teacher at her new school encourages her, but warns her not to be a pipe-dreamer, as "they never do anyone any good" (ironically, her father is one of the biggest pipe-dreamers ever, and she fails to see this). The little girl is like a tree growing in Brooklyn, a thing of radiant beauty pushing it's way up through the sidewalk. Where so many darkened minds exist in illiteracy and poverty, she intends to grow up with her imagination intact and in pursuit of the intellectual, despite her surroundings. But when her surroundings are a family as loving and supportive as hers, she almost can't help but succeed. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a wonderfully expressed film, full of the sorrow and joy of timeless adolescence.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

A family living in poverty with a realist mother and a dreamer dad. Touching father/daughter scenes full of their optimism despite their circumstances are well-executed due to the talents of Dunn and Garner. This movie definitely requires a box of tissues.

nefnie lee
nefnie lee

Super Reviewer

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