A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Synopsis: In Brooklyn circa 1900, the Nolans manage to enjoy life on pennies despite great poverty and Papa's alcoholism. We come to know these people well through big and little troubles: Aunt Sissy's scandalous succession of "husbands"; the removal of the one tree visible from their tenement; and young Francie's desire to transfer to a better school...if irresponsible Papa can get his act together.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Elia Kazan
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
129 min


I got blackberries!

This'll be the last

of them now, Francie.

Is that all, Mom?

Can we go now?

Not so loud, Neeley. Do

you wanna wake your papa up?

Gosh, Francie, ain't you

through with them dishes yet?

She'll only be a minute.

My, I wish you was as anxious

to get going on school

mornings as you is on Saturday.

Papa was late

last night.

Yeah, I was dead asleep

when he come in, I guess.

He says if people didn't like to

make speeches so much at dinners,

waiters could spend more

time with their families.

It wasn't much

of a job, I guess.

Them club dinners

don't tip much.

Is that all, Mama?

Yes, yes. Go on.

I'll dry 'em.

You don't look like you

got much there this week.

One of these days,

Mrs. Gaddis is gonna throw away

that old wash boiler of hers.

Carney will pay us plenty for

the copper bottom off of that.

He won't pay you any

more than he has to.

You watch him on that

weighing, now. Yes'm.

Parents ought to have a day that's

like Saturday is for kids. Go on.

Maybe if I start

the lower hall

and scrub

my way up today,

it'll make something

special out of it for me.

- Keep an eye on him, Francie.

- Come on!

Yes, Mama!

Rags! Old iron!

Rags! Old iron!

Rags! Old iron!

They done good today. Come on.


89th Street!



89th Street!


Come on.

Now, look. Stand on the same

side as him when he weighs it

so as he can reach it.

And don't forget to stand

there after he pays you.

You forgot that last time, and

a penny's a penny, ain't it?

Well, I guess

I know it is.

Well, all right, then.

Three cents. That stuff's

worth more than that.

Shut up! I say what things

are worth around here.

Who's next?

Hello, little girl.

Come on.

Shut up!

Shut up!

You done fine.

Nine cents.

Three, five, nine.

There you are,

an extra penny

because you're a nice,

little girl.

That's better. I sure wish

Carney liked to pinch boys.

Nine and my

pinching penny.


It's a pencil!

Give me one.


A pen wiper.

Something you want,

little girl?

I'm merely looking,

thank you. I have a right.

I have money.

Step on a crack,

break your mother's back.

Here she comes!

Cheese it!

Neeley. Neeley,

we gotta go home!

Beat it!

Mama said.

Mama said!

Mama said!

I'll beat you!

No, you won't!

For heaven's sake.

Is it that late already?

Well, I guess I'll just let

these stairs go till later.

Four cents, Mom.

That's pretty good.

Dump the bucket, Neeley.

Mama, can I...

No. Dump the bucket

and bring it.

Today's the day for

the insurance collector

and I certainly don't want him

to catch me looking like this.

Hot, ain't it?

Yeah, but Christmas will

be here before you know it.

I got enough troubles

without worrying about that.

How's your sister

today, Henny?

Poorly, thank you.

Well, hello,

Flossie, dear.

Hello, Mrs. Nolan. Don't

you notice something?

You look like you

was feeling better,

much better.

Don't you, Francie?

No, I don't!

I don't!

Heat up the coffee

while I fix up.

Right there.

That's better.


Yes, Neeley?

Mom, if there was a rule

about something,

that doesn't mean you couldn't

do something else once in a while.

Neeley, you cannot have any of those

pennies to buy an ice cream cone.

They go in the bank, the same as

usual. Bring them in here, Neeley.

Half of everything we get

goes into that bank.

That's the way it is and that's

the way it's gotta be, now.

Put 'em in there.

Gosh, I bet we got about

$100 in that old bank by now.

Nine's more like it.

Mama! Mama, they're cutting the tree!

Oh, that's too bad.

It was kind of pretty there with

birds sitting in it sometimes.

Papa loved that tree.

Quit mooning over it. It got

in the way of the washing.

A tree ain't gonna put

no pennies in the bank.

It's Mr. Barker.

Get out the good cup and

saucer and give it a wipe.

And, Francie, you can stay in the room,

if you want,

while Mr. Barker's here.

How do you do,

Mr. Barker?

How do you do,


Mama is temporarily detained,

but will join you directly.

Hello, Neeley.


Why, Francie, you got

manners right out of a book.

And company

or no company,

Mrs. Nolan always

looks the lady.

You should see

some of my people,

even ladies with husbands

that work steady.

Won't you go into the parlor

and have a cup of coffee?

That, I will. And your hospitality

is very kind, Mrs. Nolan.

Well, old man Gentry's

off to jail again.

That's too bad.

But she's keeping up his

insurance just the same.

And here's ours. Ten cents

for me, 10 cents for Mr. Nolan,

a nickel for each

of the children.

And you'll never

regret it, Mrs. Nolan.

A fine funeral for every member

of the family, heaven forbid.

And now your weekly

receipts, Mrs. Nolan.

Now there's one party

not far from here,

I wouldn't like to say who, that

didn't get no receipts this week.

And naming no names,

I will say

that it's a family

that the angel of death

has marked on his invitation

list. Heaven forbid.

Henny says his sister's

got one foot in the grave.


It'll mean Potter's Field, most likely.

Thank you, Francie.

Well, that's

what people get.

Wasting good money to give her

dresses instead of insurance.

Dresses that'll last

longer than she will.

All depends on what

folks thinks is important.

Papa says dresses...

That's right,

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Tess Slesinger

Tess Slesinger (16 July 1905 – 21 February 1945) was an American writer and screenwriter and a member of the New York intellectual scene. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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