180 user 78 critic

East of Eden (1955)

PG | | Drama | 10 April 1955 (USA)
2:52 | Trailer

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A wilful young man contends against his brother for the attention of their religious father while reconnecting with his estranged mother and falling for his brother's girlfriend.



(novel), (screen play)
4,466 ( 78)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »


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An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

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Complete credited cast:
Will Hamilton
Harold Gordon ...
Gustav Albrecht
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In the Salinas Valley, in and around World War I, Cal Trask feels he must compete against overwhelming odds with his brother Aron for the love of their father Adam. Cal is frustrated at every turn, from his reaction to the war, to how to get ahead in business and in life, to how to relate to estranged mother. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Of what a girl did . . . what a boy did ... of ecstasy and revenge! See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and some violent content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 April 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Steinbeck's East of Eden  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Perspecta Sound encoding) (35 mm optical prints)| (35 mm magnetic prints) (RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the scene where Adam refuses to accept Cal's money, the script called for Cal to turn away in anger from his father. It was James Dean's instinct to embrace him instead. This came as a surprise to Raymond Massey, who could think of nothing to do but say, "Cal! Cal!" in response. See more »


Near the beginning of the movie after Cal climbs up on the train, the position of the sleeves around his neck changes between shots. Also the long shot shows him covering his arms with the jumper, but in the close shot his arms are still outside. See more »


Cal Trask: I've been jealous all my life. Jealous, I couldn't even stand it. Tonight, I even tried to buy your love, but now I don't want it anymore... I can't use it anymore. I don't want any kind of love anymore. It doesn't pay off.
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Crazy Credits

Cards during opening credits: In northern California, the Santa Lucia Mountains, dark and brooding, stand like a wall between the peaceful agricultural town of Salinas and the rough and tumble fishing port of Monterey, fifteen miles away. AND "1917 Monterey, just outside the city limits" See more »


Referenced in Supernatural: Fallen Idols (2009) See more »


Oh, You Beautiful Doll
(1911) (uncredited)
Music by Nat Ayer
Played when Cal first enters the bordello
Also played when Cal and Abra pass in front of the mirrors
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

There were some serious acting chops behind the legend...
25 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

The early, violent death of someone so famous was a tragedy; but for someone who's never seen a Dean performance ("East of Eden" is his only movie I've seen to date; it has since been joined by "Rebel Without a Cause" as of Nov. 2007, and "Giant", in Jan. 2010) it's easy to get suckered by these details into believing that this is the only thing that adds substance to the man. Not so.

In "East of Eden" he delivers an intense performance as, unsurprisingly, an enigma; an individual too sensitive for life in his own world. It sounds from this as if it could well be similar territory to "Rebel Without a Cause", and given the events it's also perhaps not too far away from the real person - but nevertheless it's a striking portrayal that shows unmistakable 'fire' and talent.

James Dean is not one of those people who've come to be mythologised due to outside circumstances entirely beyond their control; for the consummate skill in his craft and the posthumous Oscar recognition brings something just as weighty to the table. About as far removed from the Orlando Bloom poster boy of his generation as it's possible to be, my expectations were completely trumped. There was real depth present, too.

All else is at least good, but it's the memory of a sobbing Cal all at once being transformed into a creature of hidden menace that I will take away with me. A riveting display from a fine actor, and undoubtedly a lasting testament to a lamentably short career. 9/10.

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