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Raintree County (1957)

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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 2,484 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 4 critic

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



(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Raintree County (1957)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
John Wickliff Shawnessy
Nell Gaither
Nigel Patrick ...
Prof. Jerusalem Webster Stiles
Orville 'Flash' Perkins
Garwood B. Jones
Ellen Shawnessy
T.D. Shawnessy
Jarma Lewis ...
Barbara Drake
Tom Drake ...
Bobby Drake
Ezra Gray
Russell Collins ...
Niles Foster
Southern Officer


An abolitionist John Wickliff Shawnessy drifts away from his high school sweetheart Nell Gaither and enters into a passionate love affair with a wealthy New Orleans belle Susanna Drake but is tricked into marrying her when she falsely tells him that she is pregnant. But even after Susanna tells him the truth his still stays with her out of love. But John soon learns that Susanna is hiding a dark secret which leads her into madness. This madness causes Susanna to flee to the South during the Civil War taking their son with her. John leaves home and enlisting in the Northern Army as his only means to pursue Susanna. Written by Matt Patay

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In The Great Tradition Of Civil War Romance


Drama | Romance | War | Western


See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 December 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El árbol de la vida  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(original) | (Turner Library Print)

Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Of the many films produced in the very wide aspect-ratio of 2.55:1 from 1953 to 1957, this was the last released at that aspect-ratio; after this, an optional mono soundtrack was added to many films made in stereo, reducing the aspect ratio on them to 2.35:1. However, Ben-Hur (1959), also filmed in Camera 65, was the first film in that process to be released with an aspect ratio of 2.76:1. When MGM filmed "Raintree County" in Camera 65, they were forced out of necessity to release it in the CinemaScope aspect ratio rather than the correct Camera 65 one. See more »


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 »


Prof. Jerusalem Webster Stiles: [Narrating] May the 16th, 1864. Resaca, Georgia. Another day of dramatic corpse-making.
See more »


Featured in Outrage (1993) See more »


Battle Cry of Freedom
Written by George Frederick Root
See more »

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User Reviews

Not nearly as bad as has been said over the years
15 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I have always loved this film, mainly because of the hauntingly beautiful score by Johnny Green. For too long "Raintree County" has been compared with "Gone with the Wind". The whole story and concept is very different. I agree with another poster here that Liz Taylor is marvelous in this, playing out her mental illness. How very sad that Monty Clift died so young. There was so much potential in him for older male roles of character years later. Maybe there will be a time when gay actors won't live quiet lives of desperate misery in fear of losing their careers. Also I think the cinematography is quite rich. Perhaps the late MGM work is not all that great but this one is hardly as terrible as so many film critics and historians have told us over the years since it was made in 1957.

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