Henry Fonda as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Tom Joad is the main protagonist of John Steinbeck's book The Grapes of Wrath. He is the second of six children of Ol' Tom Joad and his wife. His siblings are, from oldest to youngest, excluding himself, Noah, Al, Rose of Sharon or Rosasharn (who is married to a man named Connie), Ruthie, and Winfield. He also has two grandparents and an Uncle John, all three of whom are on his father's side of the family.

Tom is a former jailbird, as he was arrested for killing a man, but that was in self-defense. Both men were drunken. The sentence was to last ten years, but he was sprung in four for good behavior, so he was on parole. On the way home, he is reunited with preacher Jim Casy and a man named Muley Graves. In the meantime, his parents and his siblings are planning to move from Oklahoma to California because of their dying crops which was due to the Dust Bowl, so he decides to help them move.

Tom is played by Henry Fonda in the 1940 film, and he occupies slot 12 on the "Heroes" list of AFI's 100 Years... Heroes and Villains.