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Directed by John Ford

United States 1940 129 mins. In English

Ford’s classic humanist masterpiece, an adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel, stars Henry Fonda in one of his most memorable roles as the laborer Tom Joad, who undergoes an ideological awakening during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Initially released from prison and set adrift, Joad returns to his Oklahoma family farm only to see it flattened in the Dust Bowl. The Joad family, with Tom in the lead, sets out toward California in search of opportunity—but several experiences, many unjust and bound up with larger labor disputes, serve as a catalyst for dissatisfaction with life where individuals just scrape by to subsist. The Grapes of Wrath, shot in shimmering black-and-white by famed cinematographer Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane) and one of many masterpieces helmed by Ford in the 1940s, is a film “founded in real experience and feeling. The story, which seems to be about the resiliency and courage of ‘the people,’ is built on a foundation of fear: fear of losing jobs, land, self-respect. To those who had felt that fear, who had gone hungry or been homeless, it would never become dated. And its sense of injustice, I believe, is still relevant.”—Roger Ebert.

Genres: Drama

Appears in: 2018 on Celluloid

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.