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These Wilder Years (1956)

 -  Drama  -  17 August 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 471 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 2 critic

Middleaged man tries to find a son that was given to an orphanage many years ago.



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Title: These Wilder Years (1956)

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Complete credited cast:
Steve Bradford
Ann Dempster
James Rayburn
Betty Lou Keim ...
Don Dubbins ...
Leland G. Spottsford
Basil Ruysdael ...
Grandon Rhodes ...
Roy Oliphant
Old Cab Driver
Lewis Martin ...
Dr. Miller
Aunt Martha
Hardware Clerk
Herb Vigran ...
Traffic Cop


Successful middle-aged businessman Steve Bradford returns to the town where he attended college many years previously. His conscience has been bothering him since whilst a student, he fathered an illegitimate son who was given away to the local orphanage. He returns to the orphanage and meets its current head, Ann Dempster, hoping to persuade her to help him find his son. She refuses but Steve finds himself getting more involved at the orphanage and learns many lessons life had failed to teach him. Written by Col Needham <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

childhood | orphan


TOGETHER and TERRIFIC! a story of unforgettable warmth and impact!




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 August 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Somewhere I'll Find Him  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First film role of Michael Landon. See more »

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User Reviews

This one improved over time
26 January 2008 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I first saw this film about 20 years ago on Turner Classic Movies and I was far from impressed--so much so that I long resisted seeing it again. However, on a lark, I decided to see it again--especially because I barely remembered the film--just that I didn't particularly like it. In hindsight, I am thrilled that I saw it again since it was far better than I'd remembered plus there were some truly wonderful moments.

The film begins with a very rich and successful James Cagney announcing to his board of directors that he was taking an extended leave of absence and wouldn't tell them why. It turns out that 20 years earlier, Cagney had fathered a child out of wedlock and he was trying to reconnect with this lost child. Naturally the adoption agency was not about to just give him this information and eventually Cagney unleashes lawyers and exerts his influences to try to force the issue.

At the same time, there is a plot involving a nice young girl who Cagney meets who is also pregnant and without resources, so it looks like she'll need to give up her baby. Considering the very obvious parallel, it's not at all surprising where this all leads, but it is still very emotionally satisfying to watch. In addition, there is a great scene at a bowling alley that is full of depth and emotion you often don't find in a Cagney film.

A highly unusual and soap opera-like film that still manages to satisfy despite a bit of predictability. It was well worth a look--I'm glad I did again.

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