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East of Eden (1955)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  10 April 1955 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 28,734 users  
Reviews: 173 user | 83 critic

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 ... See full summary »



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



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Complete credited cast:
Richard Davalos ...
Harold Gordon ...
Gustav Albrecht
Nick Dennis ...


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

Plot Keywords:

love | lettuce | birthday | beans | money | See All (239) »


The searing classic of paradise lost. 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:

Show detailed on  »

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?


Elia Kazan, in his autobiography "A Life" (1988), said that Raymond Massey came to despise James Dean. Kazan did nothing to dispel the tension between the two, as it was so right for their characters in the film. See more »


During WWI, a band organ at the carnival plays "Ain't She Sweet", which is from 1927. See more »


Cal Trask: Man has a choice and it's a choice that makes him a man.
See more »

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 »


Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »


(1920) (uncredited)
Music by Vincent Rose
(Based on "E lucevan le stelle" from the opera "Tosca" by Giacomo Puccini (1900))
Played by the band when the train leaves
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Simply superb.
5 January 2000 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

Elia Kazan deserved his recent honorary Oscar, no matter what political mistakes he may have made. He deserved it because he is one of the supreme artists of the cinema. His ability to draw superb performances from his actors, is coupled with an astonishing ability to depict these emotional states visually, through the use of camera angles, lighting and symbols. "East of Eden" must be seen in the widescreen format to truly appreciate its visual style. It is arresting, sometimes beautiful and always powerful.

Then there are the performances. James Dean's heartbreaking realization of Cal, consumed by jealousy; Jo Van Fleet's magnificent portrayal of his mother; Richard Davalos (why didn't we see more of him on the screen after this film?) innocent, virginal, doomed; Raymond Massey who has never been better in a multi-layered performance; Burl Ives' commanding police chief - and, as usual in a Kazan film, even the smallest part is played to perfection (who'll forget the girl in the brothel or the nurse at the end?). After seeing the film a few times I really appreciate the performance of Julie Harris too. I once thought her a little too mature for the role - but now I see how her reactions to the events really enhance the emotional impact of those events. Kazan allows her to be in frame during some of the most crucial encounters between Cal and his father - and her face tells a million stories. This is a true "supporting" performance - her performance helping Dean realize Cal. Brava Julie!

I'm a lot older now than when I first saw this film - but I still relate so strongly to the communication breakdown and the need for love between father and son. The improvement of my own relationship with my father makes me see the film differently but with no less emotion. Like all masterpieces this film does not date, we just see it differently as we age. This is undoubtedly one of my top five films. How about a theatrical revival? I have never seen it in a cinema. Remember see it in widescreen - not pan and scan.

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