(Original Review, 2002)
There's no reason why we should judge a film on the basis of how faithful or otherwise it is to the book: it should be judged by how good it is as a film. The ending of the book could not be depicted on film in those days because censorship would not have allowed it, but there's no reason to assume that Ford would have filmed Steinbeck's ending had he been able to. The artistic vision Ford was expressing was not Steinbeck's, but his own. My own view is that Steinbeck was a fine novelist, but that Ford was a great film-maker. Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" is a fine novel, but Ford's "The Grapes of Wrath" is a great film.
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.