Listen to Bruce Springsteen read from Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ in trailer for new documentary, ‘Ants’

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A recording of Bruce Springsteen recording a passage from John Steinbeck‘s classic book The Grapes of Wrath is featured in a new Italian documentary titled Ants, about the plight of African and Asia migrants trying to make their way to Europe to find a better life.

A segment of Springsteen’s spoken-word soliloquy can be heard in a new trailer for the film that got its exclusive premiere at

In the clip, interspersed with scenes of various migrants in the midst of their journeys, we hear The Boss read, “The great companies did not know that the line between hunger and anger is a thin line…On the highways the people moved like ants and searched for work, for food. And the anger began to ferment.”

Ants producer Davide Azzolini tells Variety that he reached out to Springsteen via his manager, David Landau, to see if Bruce would do the reading, which he felt would give the film a “more universal” appeal.

The Grapes of Wrath, of course, was written during the Great Depression and focuses on people who left their homes in the Dust Bowl region of the U.S. to travel to California seeking a better future. Springsteen’s song “The Ghost of Tom Joad” was inspired by the novel’s main character.

Azzolini says he wasn’t hopeful about Springsteen agreeing to the request, but a few weeks later, he was informed that Bruce “would tape [the reading] in his studio.”

A few days later, Azzolini says he was emailed “two different takes of his recordings.”

Ants, which was directed by Italian journalist and filmmaker Valerio Nicolosi, features footage shot on rescue vessels, in crowded migrant camps on the Greek island of Lesbos, and in the Balkans. The movie currently is being submitted to international film festivals.

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