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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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Complete credited cast:
Will Hamilton
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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?


The conflict between James Dean and Raymond Massey came to a boiling point in the scene where Cal angers his father because of the way he reads from the Bible. Elia Kazan, who found Massey to be a rather rigid and unemotional "stiff" off screen and on, wasn't happy with the way it was going, so he took Dean aside and whispered some suggestions. Dean came back and read the Old Testament passages interlaced with the most offensive curses and crude sexual expressions. The very religious Massey became incensed, storming off the set and threatening to call his lawyers. But before the outburst, Kazan was able to capture the heightened anger he was going for. See more »


At one point, when the Ferris wheel has stopped, Cal jumps off to help Aron. In one of the next shots the wheel is shown moving again. 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 Getaway: Episode #14.34 (2005) See more »


Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile!
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Powell
Played by the marching band after the announcement of war
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Neediness of Love and Respect
30 November 2014 | by See all my reviews

In 1917, in Monterey, California, Cal (James Dean) is a youngster needy of fatherly love. His father Adam Trask (Raymond Massey) is a farmer that favors his brother Aron (Richard Davalos) and they believe that their mother died when they were children. One day, Cal discovers that his mother Kate (Jo Van Fleet) is still alive and is the owner of a brothel in the nearby Salinas. However he keeps his discovery in secret and does not tell to his father and brother.

When Adam decides to invest in the transportation of frozen lettuce, there is a problem on the railroad and he loses his saving. Cal contacts Kate and borrows five thousand dollars to invest in the promising bean business since the United States has entered in the World War I to recover his father's money and earn his love. Meanwhile Aron's girlfriend Abra (Julie Harris) and Cal fall in love with each other. Cal is well succeeded in his business and decides to give a surprise birthday party organized by Abra to his father to give his money as a birthday gift. The reaction of Adam and Aron trigger a series of incidents with tragic consequences.

"East of Eden" is a movie directed by Elia Kazan with a story slightly based on Cain and Abel, with the rivalry of two brothers since Cal is a needy young man and Aron is envious of his brother. The movie shows the treatment spent to German immigrants when the United States joined the war. The open conclusion induces to the redemption of Cal after the tragedy in his family. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Vidas Amargas" ("Bitter Lives")

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