The Southerner

Drama | English | 92 minutes


Sam Tucker is a Texas sharecropper picking cotton with his wife Nona and his elderly uncle Pete. Pete suddenly collapses from the heat and dies. Before Pete dies he tells Sam, “Work for yourself; grow your own crops.” Sam heeds Pete’s advice and with  Nona, his granny, and their children  they set out to work on a 68-acre farm with little more than two mules, a secondhand plow,  some cottonseed and fertilizer. They spend time plowing the soil, planting  seeds, and hoping for a successful crop. Finally, just as it   looks like they will have a profitable cotton crop,  a violent storm  destroys everything. A demoralized Sam  decides to give up farming and accept a factory job. But when he returns to the farm he has second thoughts as he sees Nona and  Granny feverishly cleaning up. They are both determined  to start again. 

Zachary Scott (Sam Tucker) / Betty Field (Nona Tucker) / Beulah Bondi  (Granny Tucker)
Why Stream This Film?
The Southerner was the fourth of six films Jean Renoir directed while living in Hollywood during the 1940s. Today, film critics and film historians consider TheSoutherner to be Renoir’s “Hollywood masterpiece.” Additionally, it is generally recognized as the French director’s “most American film with regard to its content, structure, and overall presentation.”
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 93%
  • Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Director, (Jean Renoir)
  • National Board of Review: Winner, Best Director (Jean Renoir); Listed, Top Ten Films

Now streaming on:

Jean Renoir’s 1945 examination of dirt farmers in the American south is probably his finest Hollywood film, which is to say a masterpiece.
Dave Kehr

Chicago Reader

Jean Renoir has subtly combined his camera with sparse dialogue in the native idiom to tell his story simply and beautifully and without resorting to opinion or prejudice. THE SOUTHERNER may not be an entertainment in the rigid Hollywood sense but it is, nevertheless, a rich, unusual and sensitive delineation of a segment of the American scene worth seeing.
Bosley Crowther

The New York Times

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