In Dubious Battle (film)

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In Dubious Battle
In Dubious Battle (film).jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed byJames Franco
Produced by
Screenplay byMatt Rager
Based onIn Dubious Battle
by John Steinbeck
Music byVolker Bertelmann
CinematographyBruce Thierry Cheung
Edited by
Distributed byMomentum Pictures[1]
Release date
  • September 3, 2016 (2016-09-03) (Venice Film Festival)
  • February 17, 2017 (2017-02-17) (United States)
Running time
114 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$213,982[2]

In Dubious Battle is a 2016 drama film directed and produced by James Franco, loosely based on John Steinbeck's 1936 novel of the same name, with a screenplay by Matt Rager. The film features an ensemble cast, consisting of Franco, Nat Wolff, Josh Hutcherson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Selena Gomez, Keegan Allen and Ed Harris. The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2016.[3]


In Dubious Battle is the story of the working class during the Depression, striking against an increasingly cruel establishment in ways that would lead to the formation of workers' rights, including a minimum wage. Two men form a union of workers after their wages are cut from $3 a day to $1 a day."[4] The ending is apocalyptic, with management's victory.




On January 30, 2015, it was announced that James Franco would not only direct the film but star in it too. Also cast was Vincent D'Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, Bryan Cranston, Selena Gomez, and Danny McBride has joined the production.[5]

On March 16, 2015, Nat Wolff was cast in the lead role of Jim Nolan, the organizer of the strike by apple pickers in California.[6] In the next two days, Josh Hutcherson, Zach Braff, Analeigh Tipton, John Savage, Ashley Greene, and Ahna O'Reilly would join the currently film production.[7][8] Several days later on March 24, 2015, it was announced that Scott Haze has been cast as Frank.[9]


Principal photography began on March 19, 2015 in Atlanta including Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia, filming also took place in Bostwick, Georgia, and Cowiche, Washington.[10][8] Production on the film ended in September 2015.[11]


The concluding credits are accompanied by a 78 rpm recording of Pete Seeger's classic union song, "Which Side Are You On?.


In Dubious Battle had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2016.[3] The film was released in theaters in the United States on February 17, 2017.[12]


A full trailer was released on January 28, 2017.[13]


Critical response[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 30% approval rating, based on reviews from 23 critics, with an average score of 3.0/10.[14]

The film gained mixed reviews at its world premiere, with Owen Gleiberman of Variety noting that Franco "has acquired skills that are beginning to fuse with the best of his instincts."[15] Gleiberman also says that "In Dubious Battle isn't a totally clear-cut good movie, but it's a scrupulous and watchable one. And it makes me think, for the first time, that James Franco has a good movie in him."[16]

Boyd van Hoeij of The Hollywood Reporter simply called the film and Franco as "uneven" but also states that "if In Dubious Battle remains watchable, it's because Wolff really sells his character's doubts, growth and sobering reality checks".[17]


  1. ^ "In Dubious Battle". Film Ratings. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  2. ^ "In Dubious Battle". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Venice Film Festival 2016". Deadline Hollywood. 28 July 2016. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  4. ^ Tallerico, Brian (February 17, 2017). "In Dubious Battle".
  5. ^ Justin Kroll (January 30, 2015). "James Franco Assembles Cast for Adaptation of 'In Dubious Battle'". Variety. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  6. ^ Anita Busch (March 16, 2015). "Nat Wolff Takes Lead In James Franco's 'In Dubious Battle'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  7. ^ Dave McNary (March 18, 2015). "Josh Hutcherson, Zach Braff Join James Franco's 'In Dubious Battle'". Variety. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Anita Busch (March 17, 2015). "John Savage Joins James Franco's 'In Dubious Battle'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  9. ^ Justin Kroll (March 24, 2015). "James Franco Taps 'Child of God' Star for 'In Dubious Battle' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  10. ^ Jennifer Brett (March 19, 2015). "James Franco on the set of "In Dubious Battle"". Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  11. ^ Pat Muir (October 1, 2015). "'In Dubious Battle' James Franco movie extras rub shoulders with stars'". Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  12. ^ Briones, Isis. "Selena Gomez's Brand-New Trailer Shows Off Her Most Dramatic Role Yet". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  13. ^ "In Dubious Battle Trailer: James Franco and Selena Gomez Lead the Resistance". Vulture. January 28, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  14. ^ "In Dubious Battle". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  15. ^ "James Franco Starts an Apple Revolution in the 'In Dubious Battle' Trailer". Screen Crush. January 28, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  16. ^ "Venice Film Review: James Franco's 'In Dubious Battle'". Variety. September 2, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  17. ^ van Hoeij, Boyd (September 2, 2016). "'In Dubious Battle': Venice Review". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 5, 2019.

External links[edit]