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Title: Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Director: John Ford

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Synopsis: After serving four years in prison for killing a man, Tom Joad returns to the family farm in Oklahoma. Along his way, he meets Casy, an elderly preacher who has lost his faith. The pair find the farm deserted; Tom’s share’s cropping family is gone. Tom is reunited with his grandparents at his uncle’s farm, only having to leave the farm the next day. The family pack up their things and head to California in search of work. His Grandpa dies of a stroke shortly after leaving, and the family buries him along the side of the road. They are warned that in California there is little work. His Grandma dies just before the California border is reached by the family. They reach a camp and find a sheriff who offers work. The sheriff shot an innocent person by accident. The family is leaving the camp and arriving at a farm where workers are needed. Tom is cautious. A barbed-wire fence with plenty of armed guards surrounds the farm. Tom takes a walk after dinner and meets Casy in a camp outside the farm. Casy is leading a labor strike against the farm. Casy is killed by thugs. The family leaves again and heads North. The sheriff arrives in pursuit of Tom at the camp. Tom promises to his mother that wherever he finds it, he will fight injustice and leave. She fears she’s never going to see him again. The family is learning about jobs and heading north, and his mother is looking forward to their future.

Your Analysis: While the film’s portrayal of the good guys versus the bad guys is idealistic, John Ford’s ability to capture the circumstances that prevailed during this time makes this film an overwhelming success in terms of historical precision. Ford had the advantage of being able to use an established environment to portray the images that many of the people experienced by making the film to serve as a documentary in a way. Ford may disregard the labor organization, but he reflects a different point of view, one that is more spiritual than political.

Your Reactions: I have never seen this film before but did read it for a high school assignment. From what I can remember the movie has a lot of similarities to the book. Overall, I enjoyed this film. The film has a great plot deriving from primary and secondary sources. The conflict in the plot adds texture to the film and conveys the struggle people dealt with during the period. I think the reason I enjoyed the film a lot is due to the theme of struggle and bravery portrayed in the film. I could relate to the film on a personal level due to the struggle and hardship I have endured throughout my life. In summary, this was a great film and I will watch it in the future.

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Essay on Tom from ‘Grapes of Wrath’.
(2024, May 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 18, 2024, from

“Essay on Tom from ‘Grapes of Wrath’.” Edubirdie, 16 May 2024,

Essay on Tom from ‘Grapes of Wrath’. [online].
Available at: <> [Accessed 18 May 2024].

Essay on Tom from ‘Grapes of Wrath’ [Internet]. Edubirdie.
2024 May 16 [cited 2024 May 18].
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