In Dubious Battle

6.11 h 53 min2017R
An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s.
James Franco
Nat WolffJames FrancoVincent D'Onofrio
English [CC]
Audio languages

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Supporting actors
Selena Gomez
Momentum Pictures
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Foul languagesexual contentsmokingviolence
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3.9 out of 5 stars

163 global ratings

  1. 50% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 13% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 8% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 10% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

BuxxReviewed in the United States on February 29, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Missed the Point Entirely
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I had great hopes for this picture in the first half, but they were shattered like a cheap watch as the plot digressed from Steinbeck's original material. Steinbeck's ending was POWERFUL, much like his "Of Mice and Men" and I even began to believe that perhaps James Jones borrowed some from Steinbeck for "From Here to Eternity". I cannot recommend this picture, it is a bastardization of the original work. Why, oh why, can't Hollywood make a decent picture anymore?
17 people found this helpful
Ron BlachmanReviewed in the United States on January 11, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Terrible design and terrible continuity and a betrayal of Steinbeck's intentions
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First there is Steinbeck's original purpose in "In dubious Battle". Steinbeck like Hemingway, Dos Passos and a lot of other lefties and semi-lefties was, indeed quite sympathetic to workers and the dispossessed but THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED WITH THE COMMUNISTS AND, FOR THE MOST PART THE IWW. They came by this disdain observing American labor struggles and especially in the Spanish Civil War. What they hated is almost turned backwards in this movie. For Steinbeck and the others the reds were agents provocateurs provoking violence against labor and liberals in the hope of provoking revolution. They were cowards, too baiting liberal (i.e. republican and democratic) forces into traps, into slaughter while pretending to be their allies. The reds provked battles then and let their official enemies and their supposed friends to slaughter one another leaving a clearer opportunity for the reds to try to seize power. For all Steinbeck's sympathies (which I tend to share) he was a genuine liberal and detested collectivism and Communists. That is why he titled the short work "In DUBIOUS Battle" Dubious as in fake, not what it seemed to be, not really for it's supposed beneficiaries.
Beyond that are ridiculous errors in staging and continuity. It is supposed to be apple harvest in the northwest. That is in the fall. Yet the fields are tall with fresh young grass (Timothy I believe). Deciduous trees are leafing out with fresh, young green leaves, there are no deciduous trees losing leaves or showing fall colors; in fact several scenes show flower buds on tree branches. It is obviously spring. Did they glue the apples on the trees? As to continuity, someone walks into a tent dressed one way then exits, his or her garb is suddenly, conspicuously different. This also happens with background and some crowd scenes. This is a simple matter of craftsmanship which should be much better in a production that seemed to have a reasonably generous budget. Continuity this bad is so jarring that it distracts from the movie. I'll add that the performances are not really good except for Sam Shepard's and Robert Duvall's. Selena Gomez is a beautiful girl - too beautiful for this role and too girl - she looks like a very pretty, sexy twelve year old and I felt kind of icky seeing her cast in this role.
14 people found this helpful
kimbra mooreReviewed in the United States on February 16, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
continual use of profanity particularly damning our Father God. .
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This could have been a profound movie however the constant use of the LORDS name in vain was uncalled for . . . stopped watching after half way due to almost every scene using this and progressively getting worse. . . the writers did not need all this to portray emotions. . . extremely poor dialogue choices and not needed to convey story line. . . CAUTION: EXTREME USE OF LORDS NAME IN VAIN
12 people found this helpful
gavalosReviewed in the United States on May 6, 2017
3.0 out of 5 stars
One of my favorite short stories
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I was very hopeful when this popped up in my Amazon choices. This movies is based on one of my favorite Steinbeck short stories... a gritty tale of early labor movement.. if you don't know it, you should read it.
However, the movie was a slow moving attempt that lacked the real power and drama of the written story. Also, I hate to give away the end, but a deviation due to apparent "star power" sealed my opinion. It's okay and watchable, but misses the mark from the storytelling standpoint. The cinematography is actually quite good, dialogue is decent and the acting is earnest.. Overall though, it just never got there.
11 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on January 18, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Captured the message in Steinbecks books on laborers.
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I grew up on Steinbeck country and have read pretty much everything he wrote... and a lot that has been written about him. This movie wanders a bit from his book, but captures the essence and what I know of his early days working with migrant workers. He wrote about marginalized people being exploited and repressed by landowners in a bunch of his books. I don't believe he thought that state of affairs was in any way, shape or form OK. Steinbeck was clearly pro union in his writings. His books on that period were clearly showing the need for the workers to organize to change things... and showing the cost of that movement. This movie captures that. Those strikes and protests led to some critical "rights" that we take for granted nowadays... a minimum wage... 40 hr work week... safe working conditions. That said, I thought it was a very good movie in it's own right. Great acting by a talented cast. They gave very convincing performances and I ended up feeling connected to the characters. Highly recommend.
One person found this helpful
SATYAGRAHAReviewed in the United States on January 31, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Power of Self-Sacrifice vs. Violence
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In times of economic depression, folks become galvanized by the sheer impossibility of surviving, if they do not rise to the occasion, somehow. The challenge is: collective non-violent resistance [e.g. Gandhi]... such as boycotts and/or general strikes & hacks, versus violence/thuggery (favoring sociopaths/psychopaths rising to the top, on both sides). The movie contrasts collateral damage from operating out of anger/hatred, vs. love & "truth-force." I was reminded, as Pete Seeger sang "Which Side Are You On" during the credits, about the Kentucky coal mining wars. Excellent film on them was made by Barbara Kopple ["Harlan County, USA": a "Top 25" Documentary]! Also: "Matewan" [Sayles].
One person found this helpful
Russell SReviewed in the United States on March 23, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
I never knew this period in history
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Set in California in the 1930's in apple country this is the story of the laborers trying to make a fair wage. But as always the landowners have all the power so along come Nat Wolff and James Franco as the movies and shakers of trying to get a union set up. The story is one I never know and it is an interesting one and i am certain there are a ton of fictional bits in it but i am also sure that some is true. James and Nat are phenomenal and even Vincent D'onofrio is good (not a fan) as for the rest of the cast.....excellent. Even though the ending is rather predictable it is a good movie with good performances. Watch it and enjoy it, for a bit of American History.
2 people found this helpful
RFSReviewed in the United States on August 9, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Justice from struggle
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Thoughtful study of the individual vs The Cause; capital vs labor; sacrifice of some of the oppressed by the "good" guys vs grinding into bits of the oppressed by the bad guys; propaganda; long term gains vs short term sacrifice; manipulation; gradual loss of soul. What a cast! excellent acting, setting comes across as sufficiently grimy, i'm sure reality was much worse; characters have depth, acting great, writing great; we live in a fallen world -Thy Kingdom Come, asap
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