#187: The Grapes Of Wrath (1940)

When and how did I watch this?

November 17th, 2015, on YouTube.

Had I seen this film already?

Nope.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

My wife had read the book long ago. I guess I skipped it somehow, but I’d read several Steinbeck works myself. I suppose I knew exactly how this was going to turn out.

What do I know about it now?

It’s a long and dusty tale rife with open doors of opportunity, followed by those doors being slammed shut. Suffering isn’t exactly cinematic, but the director appeared to make it quite apparent that the road in this time period and geographic location was seemingly endless. I was quietly hoping to see a big duster plow over some of the housing or vehicles, but alas, the movie instead opted for the harshly realistic, which I guess is the better approach.

What are some themes in the film?

Dust bowl, perseverance, consequence, morality, opportunity, futility.

Did this affect me personally?

Being I’d never read the book, yes. It was a “live” representation of a situation that was all too real, portrayed accurately by Steinbeck and brought to life in the film..

Why is this ranked #187?

It’s dark, it’s real, and it’s a book 90% of high schoolers have read.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She did.

Would I watch it again?

Yeah, probably. It’d be like watching The Pianist a second time: difficult to deal with, but nonetheless intriguing.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

I think it’s something that needs to be appreciated before approaching it.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

I think so. It’s not gripping or tense or magical or anything. It’s life; people live and die, things come up and opportunity escapes us, and we have to deal with what’s been given to us. And this film portrays this sentiment precisely.

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