Tags: Hollywood | henry fonda | roles | defined | career

The 5 Roles That Defined Henry Fonda's Career

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 08:28 PM

Henry Fonda was perhaps best known for his portrayal of Tom Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath,” but which Henry Fonda roles were best? The prolific actor’s career spanned decades and included films, TV roles, and stints on Broadway. The actor, who usually played heroic characters, was a 1941 Oscar nominee for his role as Tom Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath.” He won an Oscar in 1982 for his role as Norman Thayer in “On Golden Pond.”

Here’s a look at five Henry Fonda roles that defined his career.

1. "The Grapes of Wrath" (1941)

Based on John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Henry Fonda took on the leading role of Tom Joad, a Depression-era prison parolee who returns to the family home in Oklahoma and discovers the family has lost their land. The story covers their painful journey from Oklahoma to California.

Film critic Roger Ebert praised Henry Fonda’s acting, writing that he had the “rare ability to exist on the screen without seeming to reach or try.”

2. “Young Mr. Lincoln” (1939)

Henry Fonda’s role in this fictional story of Abraham Lincoln as a young lawyer focuses on a murder trial — Lincoln wrangles with the responsibilities of defending two brothers falsely accused of murder.

Vote Now: Who Is Your Favorite Actor of All Time?

According to Criterion, Fonda’s portrayal of the 16th president was “one of the finest performances of his career.” John Ford, one of the most respected directors in the business, directed “Young Mr. Lincoln” as well as “The Grapes of Wrath.”

3. "12 Angry Men” (1957)

Many of Henry Fonda’s roles were of men looking for justice, and his portrayal of a juror in this courtroom drama was no exception. A Puerto Rican teenager with a weak alibi is on trial for murdering his father. Eleven of the men on the all-white jury are ready to cast a guilty verdict, which will send the young man to death row. Fonda, who plays Juror No. 8, dissents.

“We’re talking about somebody’s life here,” he says. “We can’t decide in five minutes. Supposing we’re wrong?”

4. “The Ox-Bow Incident” (1943)

Fonda volunteered as a Navy seaman during World War II, earning a Bronze Star and a presidential citation for bravery. By the time he was discharged in 1945, Fonda held the rank of lieutenant.

According to Moviefone, one of the reasons Fonda joined the Navy was because he “didn’t want to be in a fake war in a studio.”

Prior to volunteering, Fonda took on the role of Gil Carter in a Western, “The Ox-Bow Incident.” Gil Carter, along with Art Croft (played by Harry Morgan) joins a posse to track down a farmer's killers, whom they believe are also cattle thieves. Three men are caught and lynched, despite Fonda’s Gil Carter’s attempts to stop it.

5. “On Golden Pond” (1981)

Henry Fonda shared billing with Katherine Hepburn and his daughter Jane Fonda in this film about family and relationships. “On Golden Pond” was the last movie Fonda made before his death in 1982, and the one for which he won an Academy Award.

“The Grapes of Wrath,” “12 Angry Men,” and  “On Golden Pond” are listed on the American Film Institute’s 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time. They are ranked Nos. 7, 42, and 45 respectively.

Vote Now: Which of These Actors Stands the Test of Time?

Related Stories:

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
FastFeatures
Henry Fonda was perhaps best known for his portrayal of Tom Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath,” but which Henry Fonda roles were best? The prolific actor’s career spanned decades and included films, TV roles, and stints on Broadway. Here’s a look at five Henry Fonda roles that defined his career.
henry fonda, roles, defined, career
587
2015-28-25
Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 08:28 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved