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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 0

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 2,797

My Rating

Movie Info

One-time movie song-and-dance man James Dunn won an Academy Award for his "comeback" performance in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Based on the best-selling novel by Betty Smith, the film relates the trials and tribulations of a turn-of-the-century Brooklyn tenement family. The father, Dunn, is a likable but irresponsible alcoholic whose dreams of improving his family's lot are invariably doomed to disappointment. The mother, Dorothy McGuire, is the true head of the household, steadfastly holding the

PG,

Drama, Classics

Tess Slesinger

Feb 22, 2005

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (0) | DVD (1)

A sober and reasonably truthful story of life among the lowly.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Where Tree is frequently slow, it is offset by the story's significance and pointed up notably by the direction of Elia Kazan.

November 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Elia Kazan has directed this picture, his first, with an easy naturalness that has brought out all the tone of real experience in a vastly affecting film.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Faithful adaptation of classic family story.

December 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Kazan's first film, a sentimental family melodrama, is well acted (James Dunn won a Supporting Oscar), but it doesn't begin to suggest the powerful director he would become in the 1950s.

April 8, 2009 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Rarely has the dream factory lavished such skill on such destitution and such insistence that people are not really that changeable in nature.

February 15, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com
MovieMartyr.com

It's a grim tearjerker told with great love and tenderness.

December 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This episodic, charmingly sentimental movie is a trifle lengthy but never tedious.

December 4, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Kazan's film has a sharp eye for social detail, but avoids giving occulted status to the peeling paper, damp walls and austere kitchen table.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

This family has a great deal of love but a lot of difficulty showing it.

April 13, 2002
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Audience Reviews for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Director Elia Kazan gives us his adaptation of the Betty Smith novel about a young girl coming-of-age in 1900s Brooklyn. Living with an alcoholic father and a workaholic mother, she and her tough little brother try to survive the rough times in their little apartment home. The father is a singing waiter and dreams of one day making it big in show business. To his daughter, he's larger-than-life character, a charming prince or movie star. The mother is more pragmatic or cynical, or maybe just tired of the hard life, and finds his antics less amusing. The daughter is naturally inquisitive, she attempts to read every book in the library in alphabetical order. It's only natural she's extraordinarily bored at the substandard and overcrowded school she attends. She wants nothing more than to attend the school where the children of higher incomed families go. The father makes it the one wish of hers he can fullfill and somehow manages to get her in. She means to rise above her status in life and make something great of herself. She wants to be a writer. The teacher at her new school encourages her, but warns her not to be a pipe-dreamer, as "they never do anyone any good" (ironically, her father is one of the biggest pipe-dreamers ever, and she fails to see this). The little girl is like a tree growing in Brooklyn, a thing of radiant beauty pushing it's way up through the sidewalk. Where so many darkened minds exist in illiteracy and poverty, she intends to grow up with her imagination intact and in pursuit of the intellectual, despite her surroundings. But when her surroundings are a family as loving and supportive as hers, she almost can't help but succeed. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a wonderfully expressed film, full of the sorrow and joy of timeless adolescence.
February 5, 2010
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Flying under the radar, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a great Kazan film. Putting aside the snitch tendencies off the screen, the tale of the family in a Brooklyn tenement is particularly dark in a tremendous way.
April 10, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A family living in poverty with a realist mother and a dreamer dad. Touching father/daughter scenes full of their optimism despite their circumstances are well-executed due to the talents of Dunn and Garner. This movie definitely requires a box of tissues.
May 14, 2009
neffielee
nefnie lee

Super Reviewer

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