Stella Dallas (1937)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  6 August 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,060 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 28 critic

A low-class woman is willing to do whatever it takes to give her daughter a socially promising future.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



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Stella Dallas (1925)
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Stella Dallas is a small town girl who is devastated by her father's death and quickly marries the upper class Stephen Dallas, with whom she has nothing in common. After the birth of a ... See full summary »

Director: Henry King
Stars: Ronald Colman, Belle Bennett, Alice Joyce


Complete credited cast:
Laurel Dallas
Ed Munn
Mrs. Martin
George Walcott ...
Charlie Martin
Ann Shoemaker ...
Miss Margaret Phillibrown
Richard Grosvenor
Mrs. Grosvenor
Bruce Satterlee ...
Con Morrison
Jimmy Butler ...
Con Morrison - Grown Up
Jack Egger ...
John Morrison
Lee Morrison


Working-class Stella Martin marries high-end Stephen Dallas and soon they have a daughter named Laurel. But Stephen's incessant demands of Stella to become what she isn't leads to their eventual separation. Stephen later marries Helen Morrison (his prior fiancée), and Laurel becomes the focus of Stella's life and love. Nothing is too good for Laurel as far as Stella is concerned. Determined to give her all the advantages, she takes Laurel on a trip to an expensive resort where Laurel makes friends with rich kids. After an embarrassing incident, Stella realizes that her daughter would go farther in life without Stella as her mother. Her subsequent sacrifice is shattering. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The emotional classic of the screen See more »


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 August 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Als het moederhart spreekt  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Frances Farmer was suggested for the part of the daughter, but producer Samuel Goldwyn was not keen after having clashed with Farmer on his previous Come and Get It (1936). See more »


When Stephen Dallas is first seen in his office, he's typing a letter. You can see that his fingers type several different keys, spaced out on the keyboard (probably in the middle of the middle rows), before he lowers his hands and stops typing to read. Then when he reads, you see that his letter ends with - -. It's not possible for him to have typed - - using the keys he was striking before he lowered his hands. See more »


Stella Martin 'Stell' Dallas: I've always been known to have a stack of style!
See more »


Version of Stella (1990) See more »


Happy Birthday to You
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
Variations in the score for Laurel's birthday party
See more »

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User Reviews

Not for the unsentimental
14 July 2004 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

I love this movie and have seen it time and time again. This doesn't have the control and grace of a Douglas Sirk melodrama (and it is certainly earlier than Sirk), but this movie still has "stacks of style" as Stella herself would say. Extremely well set up story even if it is a bit far-fetched in places. Barbara Stanwyck is, well... pretty much unbeatable. She is one of the few actresses who can walk that tightrope between trashy and classy and make the two not feel mutually exclusive. As much as her character is overblown or enlarged from reality, this role is one that is a good deal more complex than most. Stanwyck was not an actress who felt she had to play everything for sympathy with the result that the moments when you feel bad for her hit you even harder than you expected. The birthday party scene is triumphantly painful and not to be missed. Anne Shirley ,who plays Laurel Dallas, Stella's daughter, I would bet will be overly sweet for a lot of viewers (myself included) but her manufactured sweetness only brings the complexity of Stella herself to the fore. This film never really misses a beat. It knows what it wants to do and it does it as unapologetically as Stella would.

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