In Dubious Battle


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In Dubious Battle
Release Date:
17th February 2017
110 min
MPAA Rating:
James Franco
John Steinbeck, Matt Rager
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p


In the California apple country, nine hundred 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, the strike is founded on his tragic idealism-on the "courage never to submit or yield." Published in 1936, In Dubious Battle is considered the first major work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck.


Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 24%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 48%
IMDb Rating 6.4


Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Ornlu Wolfjarl 21st February, 2017

Which side are you on?

One of the best novels by Steinbeck is translated to a powerful film. The struggle of workers to gain labour rights and the birth of unions in the USA. James Franco has the right credentials to become an amazing director. The film portrays brilliantly the kaleidoscope of feelings of a group of people asking nothing more than to be treated fairly from the people who own everything. This is something the book focuses on, and this adaptation doesn't just present a story, but it carries accurately what Steinbeck tried to portray: The initial fears and hesitations that hold people back from coming together, then the anger and hope that brings them together, the self-doubt as the fight reveals to be a protracted one, and the final push through the desperation and dread to overcome the obstacles. It's time people remembered that in this life, unfortunately, nothing is given. It is earned with hard-fought battles and sacrifice. This film is a real gem, not just because it's executed well, but more importantly because it has something important to say, something that all should stop, listen and give it some thought. Bravo James Franco and everyone else involved in this. You have the guts to stand up and take on a beast that few film-makers ever try to wrestle with.

Reviewed by subxerogravity 21st February, 2017

Another James Franco movie of the week.

I've seen that James Franco is in at least one movie in theaters every week. For the most part he places himself in the movie so that the movie would get more promotion like a theatrical release (Or so I believe). This time was different as he directed and stared in this playing a major role as a unionizer, or rather the processor to this in 1933, which seems to be a Cold-hearted con man who just wants to make all workers get a fair shake. Plus the movie has a pretty big name cast with Vincent D'Onofrio Robert Duvall Bryan Cranston with a small role and Selma Gomez of all people trying to put some substance on her resume. Plus Franco did a good job at directing himself. It's a small movie with a very big cast, about a great story that still registers with people today.

Reviewed by kjmacbryde 13th October, 2016

A tale of one episode in the revolutionary struggle.

The central character of "In Dubious Battle" is a young, dispossessed man called Jim who, having been sacked from his job at a department store in LA, makes the decision to join the (communist) Party. The Party sends him into the field with a veteran communist called Mac. Their first outing is into the countryside of California to augment the migrant workers struggling for a living existence picking fruit. Once they arrive they befriend and gain the trust of the workers' leader, London, by coming to the aid his daughter whilst she is in labour. Discontent amongst the migrants is high and that discontent soon breaks out in the form of a strike with the demand for a living wage. Although barely more than a kid, Jim rises to be the man that steers the strike in the ruthless direction necessary to counter the brutality and devious tactics of the fruit growers association. Of particular interest to me is how Jim is lead, not only by his intelligence, but also by what can only be described as the Spirit. The strike inevitably fails and the workers are crushed by the superior forces of the state and capital but through their cooperative actions valuable lessons and memories are gained for the workers' movement.