Box art for The Good Earth

The Good Earth

drama


Paul Muni stars in this epic adaptation of the Pearl Buck classic about Chinese farmers battling the elements to survive. Nominated for Best Picture and Director.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    92%
  • Audience Score
    79%

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    92%
    reviews counted: 9
    see all The Good Earth reviews
  • Audience

    79%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh:

- Carol Cling, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: more of a time capsule than a great piece of filmmaking

- Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com, Monday, May 14, 2007

Fresh: Earnest and solemn, The Good Erath, based on Pearl Buck's Pulitzer prize-winning best-seller, is a typical MGM "prestige" literary adaptation, honoring Luise Rainer with a second (undeserved) Best Actress Oscar.

- Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Holds fairly closely to Buck's novel. Sadly having most of the lead roles filled by non-Chinese actors such as Muni, Rainer, Connolly, and Grapewin shows the prejudices of the time. And yet Paul Muni and Luise Rainer were a couple of the most prestigious actors of the day. They bring the emotional heft of each scene to life as best they can, which is to say strongly. The Good Earth is kind of the flip side of the coin from The Last Emperor. The latter deals primarily with what goes on inside the palace walls, while the former is concerned with a family of peasants outside the walls. Both cover several decades of 20th century Chinese history, but Pearl S. Buck's tale does not feel like a history lesson. In this story one can observe some major events on China's timeline in the background, however it is about the common farmers and the love and trials of a husband and wife. Rainer and Muni excellently show how an arranged marriage in the old tradition can develop into a deep loving bond. Out of mother Earth a love can slowly grow like a tree.

- hypathio7, Thursday, May 2, 2013

2 stars

Passable film with a bunch of white actors in makeup to look Asian. Getting beyond this insensitivity, Muni proves up to the usual job even if this is not a film that he will be particularly remembered for.

- fb721890245, Monday, September 9, 2013

2 stars

Long and slow but entertaining if you stick with it. Muni as was his usual practice when buried under makeup slightly hammy but less so than when he played Zola or Pasteur. He does what he can to humanize a basically thoughtless, selfish and reprehensible man although he is not for one instant believable as an Asian. Someone who isn't hammy is Luise Rainer in a beautifully judged performance that won a richly deserved Oscar. She makes the rest of the sometimes ponderous film worth watching.

- jjnxn, Wednesday, January 22, 2014