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In Dubious Battle (2016)

R | | Drama | 17 February 2017 (USA)
An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s.

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(screenplay) (as Matthew Rager), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jim
...
Mac
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...
...
Edie
...
...
Dr. Burton
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Frank the Foreman
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...
Al
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Dan
...
...
Joy
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Julian De Niro ...
Billy
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Storyline

In the California apple country, 900 migratory workers rise up "in dubious battle" against the landowners. The group takes on a life of its own - stronger than its individual members and more frightening. Led by the doomed Jim Nolan (Nat Wolff), the strike is founded on his tragic idealism - on the "courage never to submit or yield." Published in 1936, the novel "In Dubious Battle" is considered the first major work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck.

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Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

17 February 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Batalha Incerta  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)
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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Franco is starring in and directing this film. See more »

Goofs

Scene where Mac brushes his teeth, he's using a 21st century white plastic toothbrush with accordion bend. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jim: [narrating] My pop always told me to watch the scales. Said the world will always find a way to cheat the working man. I met Mac McLeod in 1933, and I witnessed up close the price of real change.
Title Card: At the height of The Great Depression, nearly one quarter of Americans were without jobs.
Bolton: [standing on the back of his truck] Gentlemen, ladies, come in, come in. Listen, please. Hear what I have to say, all right? This price cut pains me as much as it pains you. With the market as volatile ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Half in the Bag: The Disaster Artist (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Which Side Are You On?
Written by Florence Reece
Performed by The Almanac Singers featuring Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Woody Guthrie, and others
Published by Stormking Music (BMI)
By Arrangement of Bicycle Music Company
From the recording entitled "Talking Union and Other Union Songs" (FW05285)
Courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, (p) & © 1955. Used by Permission.
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User Reviews

 
Good modern Steinbeck adaption
29 June 2017 | by See all my reviews

During the Great Depression of the 1930's, two members of a political activist party start work with apple-pickers at a fruit farm and rally the workers to demand better rights.

This was based on a John Steinbeck novel, which I have to admit to not having read. It seems to have been a pretty political work about the labour laws of the day which enabled employers to exploit their workforce by offering extremely low wages. The subject actually seems quite pertinent nowadays considering that we have just gone through another recession with employers being legally allowed to offer workers zero hours contracts. So, the film is a timely reminder that the workforce will unfortunately always have to fight for a fair deal. I thought the film itself was very good, if not necessarily emotionally strong. I didn't feel for the characters as much as I should, as they weren't sketched out quite enough. Having said that, I thought this worked just fine as a message movie. Its subject and time period are pretty unglamorous but it is brought to the screen with authenticity. The film not only looks at the unfairness of the system but also the doubts of those fighting against it. It shows their predicament and illustrated their dilemmas quite well I thought.


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