Sunday, January 29, 2012


Classics Revisited Book Group (Posting 10)

The Grapes of Wrath directed by John Ford
The Grapes of Wrath written by John Steinbeck

This seems to be a case where the book and the movie are held in equally high esteem. The film is ranked #21 in the American Film Institute top 1001 list and the book is in the top ten of the Modern Library’s list of top English language novels of the century.

I’m guessing that more school age students over the last few decades have read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men than The Grapes of Wrath because it is shorter and probably easier to grasp. But I think Steinbeck’s tale of the Oakies traveling West during the depression looking for a pot o’ gold or at least a roof over their heads is a highly worthy journey to take even if it might take you a little longer to get there.

Book or Movie? Even though I’m picking the book over the movie this time, you got to at least see the scene where Henry (should have won the Oscar that year) Fonda gives his speech to his Ma before heading down that Golden Highway.

I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be ever'-where - wherever you can look. Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad - I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready. An' when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise, and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too.

I can hear Woody Guthrie singing in the background now.


  1. This is one of our selections that I didn't expect to like but did. It's one of my favorite books now. I did also enjoy the movie and thought they did a fine job of portraying the Joad family. But that speech by Henry Fonda--it gave me chills.

  2. I love the idea of your website! I'm too a devoted reader and a film lover and combining the two has always been my little passion (although there are books I never want to see the adaptations of). When it comes to Steinbeck, I agree with you- not many people choose to read Grapes of Wrath and I also agree with your choice of the book over the film (although the film is stunning).

  3. Thanks, Amelie

    I recently watched Strangers on a Train (again) after reading the original book (if you consider listening to a book on CD as reading) with a totally different take on it this time.