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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.



(screenplay) (as Matthew Rager), (novel)
2,466 ( 7)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

2 wins. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Burton
Frank the Foreman
Julian De Niro ...


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.

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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  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


None of the elements of the story concerning "corrupt" labor organizers - sawing the ladder so that an old worker would fall, sacrificing Joy's and Mac's life - exist in the original Steinbeck novel. Steinbeck, who witnessed strikes and met many labor organizers in the 1930's depicted these characters as idealists, but in the film adaptation they are presented much less sympathetically, as manipulating and ruthless people. See more »


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


[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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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

The movie plays out as a great companion to The Grapes Of Wrath, this one just had a little more action. I do recommend.
24 March 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"If you don't make trouble then nothing's gonna change." Jim (Wolf) is growing up in the depression and is tired and angry at the way his family and those he knows are being treated. Wanting to do something about it he meets up with Mac (Franco). Together they start a worker revolt that leads to a strike, but soon things become more dangerous than they expected. This is a movie I went in expecting it to be slow and boring. I mean how can a movie about a fruit picking strike during the great depression be good? I don't know if it was my expectations that played a part but this movie was very good. The movie was tense and I was surprisingly on the edge for most of it. The acting is amazing, but with the cast it has that's not a surprise at all. This film is based off a novel by John Steinbeck and really felt true to his style. The movie plays out as a great companion to The Grapes Of Wrath, this one just had a little more action. Overall, a surprisingly tense and good movie that I do recommend. One of the better historical fiction movies I have seen. I give this a high B+.

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