A graduating poet/teacher falls in love with a Southern woman, and then the Civil War and her past create problems.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
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Orville 'Flash' Perkins
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Garwood B. Jones
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Ellen Shawnessy
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T.D. Shawnessy
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Barbara Drake
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Bobby Drake
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Ezra Gray
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Niles Foster
...
Southern Officer
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Storyline

It's the mid-nineteenth century in Freehaven, Raintree County, Indiana. John Shawnessy has just graduated from high school at the top of his class, with a promising career as a writer. He is a romantic, principled, and an idealist, believing the story of the golden raintree - after which the county is named - growing somewhere, most likely in the county's swamp area, searching for and locating it which would provide all the answers to one's life questions. An idea passed down from his father, John also has a strong sense of place as belonging, and as such there is much anticipation in the probable marriage between John and his sweetheart Nell Gaither, a born and bred Raintree girl. However, there is an undeniable mutual attraction on first sight between John and Susanna Drake, a visiting southern belle. Despite Susanna's temporary stay in Raintree County which means that she and John may not have a future, they eventually do marry out of circumstance, leaving behind a heartbroken Nell... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In The Great Tradition Of Civil War Romance

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Western

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El árbol de la vida  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (Turner Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The town of Freehaven of the mythical Raintree County was created in 1956 on MGM's vast Backlot #3 at Jefferson and Overland Boulevards in Culver City, California, by re-designing a portion of an old western set and adding some new buildings such as the Freehaven Town Hall and its clock tower. In 1971, MGM's Lot #3 was demolished to make way for a new apartment and condominium complex which became known as "Raintree Estates," named for this motion picture. Several Chinese Golden Raintrees were planted around the new residential property and many of the complex's streets and buildings were named for various MGM productions. See more »

Goofs

While celebrating Lincoln's election in 1860, the band can be heard playing "Rally Round the Flag". This song was not penned until 1862 by George F. Root. See more »

Quotes

Prof. Jerusalem Webster Stiles: [to the photographer, who has just taken the graduating class portrait] Mr. Sterling, you have made us immortal.
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Soundtracks

Never Till Now
(uncredited)
Music by Johnny Green
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
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User Reviews

 
Susanna Drake is among Taylor's most colorful and intelligent characterizations…

Liz is a disturbed New Orleans belle with a vision that she's part black… She's the beautiful femme fatale to Eva Marie Saint's inevitable cowardly heroine… As in "A Place in the Sun," Liz is used as the symbol of a particular social class and a particular kind of woman… She sets her mark on an idealistic young man John Wickliff Shawnessy (Montgomery Clift) who's looking for the mythical rain tree that contains the secret of the meaning of life…

Trapping him into marriage with the lie that she's pregnant, and then proceeding to lose her hold on her sanity, Susanna detains the good and helpless John for eight years… He is released, able to return to his magnificent dream and to his pure childhood sweetheart, only after tragic events…

Retaining the essence of Ross Lockridge, Jr. best-seller, the movie states the equality of the unhappy romance with the Civil War: the personal drama is therefore a reflection of the nation's wounds… According to the top-heavy symbolism, Susanna Drake represents the South, corrupting and dragging down the North; she's the Body contaminating the poet's Soul…

Taylor plays Susanna Drake's character with an intensity that exceeds all her earlier work… Montgomery Clift as the unlucky poet and Eva Marie Saint as his high school sweetheart and true love are on the remote side, but the scenes with Liz strike fire in a wonderfully brilliant way…

With its battles and its formal balls, its magnificent riverboats and decayed mansions, its bordellos and madhouses, its childbirth and deathbed scenes, and its evacuation of Atlanta, Edward Dmytryk's "Raintree County," like its source, has undeniable epic dimension…


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What is it I don't get about Montgomery Clift? tarmcgator
Did anyone else not like Nell? npaxton-3
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Musical Score doesn't seem too good. oldmovies
end? michelle_p23
m. clift wasn't looking too good La-z-girl_recliner
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