Wang is a Chinese farmer in pre-revolutionary China struggling to survive on a scrap of land when famine hits, but through many years of turmoil and strife he finally becomes a rich landowner himself, but wealth doesn't necessarily bring happiness.
I saw this film as a child and was moved. So I was eager to seek it out later. The search wasn't helped by the fact that the film has largely disappeared, but on finally seeing it again I think it still holds up well as a tale of survival and personal hardship.
The deeply flawed central character in Pearl S. Buck's original novel has been softened, as you'd expect, and his relationship with his wife has been made more palatable. Also the sight of Hollywood actors being made-up as Orientals is a bit offputting, but all that aside, this is worth seeking out, as the struggle to survive is a timeless tale and this film depicts it well. And the bittersweet nature of Wang's ultimate success is still a moving one.