AFI: The Grapes of Wrath

Over the years I’ve been trying to watch all of the films on the American Film Institute’s top 100 films, using the 10th Anniversary Edition to work with. After today, I now have only 19 films left. (Perhaps when I’m done with those I’ll start on their Heroes and Villians list).

Yesterday I watched The Grapes of Wrath, and this afternoon I watched All About Eve.

The Grapes of Wrath
Directed By: John Ford
Starring: Henry Fonda

The Grapes of Wrath is one of those great American classics that manages to get on most of the big lists. With that in mind, I was expecting a minor let-down because of all the great things I’d heard about it. Yesterday I had one of those rare experiences watching a film where all of my expectations were met and exceeded.

I found myself mesmerized by the people in the story; I wanted them to succeed. The Grapes of Wrath is a depressing film, which I knew coming in, but I was surprised by the little instances within the film where kindness was shown. In a film peopled by crooked cops and harsh times, it was refreshing to see these acts of kindness and integrity.

The lighting in the film was also superb. In the opening scene where Tom is in his old house at night it really looks like it’s at night. And in another scene, where he has a candle at night, it looks  real. I know The Grapes of Wrath is the text-book example of natural lighting, but there’s a reason for that. 🙂

And without spoiling anything, I love how the film ended.

I’ll review All About Eve later.

How many films from AFI’s list have you seen?


4 Responses

  1. I’ve seen all but 21

  2. I watched Grapes of Wrath a couple of months back and loved it, a nice classic adaptation that didn’t take too much away from the book.

    I especially loved it’s scenes in California, they replicated the despair and horror so well in faux documentary style. Glad there are other fans out there.

  3. Yeah, this is a great film, isn’t it? Full of my favorites, both in front of and behind the camera. I’d like to especially point out cinematographer Gregg Toland, who did his best work here until Citizen Kane (after which he was unnecessary for Welles, since he taught him everything he knew) and Jane Darwell, Ma Joad, who won an Oscar for her efforts and is a hell of an actor.

    I’ve got 21 films left on the original AFI list and 9 new ones I haven’t seen on the Tenth Anniversary List. But that doesn’t count Titanic, which I intend to be the only film from my Film Ignorance List that I don’t watch.

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