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Raintree County (1957)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 20 December 1957 (USA)
A graduating poet/teacher falls in love with a Southern woman, and then the Civil War and her past create problems.



(screenplay), (novel)
745 ( 4,635)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Garwood B. Jones
Barbara Drake
Ezra Gray
Niles Foster
Southern Officer


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 | Plot Synopsis


M-G-M's Mighty Motion Picture Spectacle! See more »


Drama | Romance | War | Western


Approved | 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)

Gross USA:

$5,830,000, 31 December 1957

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,080,000, 31 December 1957
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


(original) | (Turner Library Print)

Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


After his car accident during shooting, there was some consideration given to recasting of Montgomery Clifts role. Production insurance would have covered the costs of re-shooting but Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson insisted that Clift be allowed to continue once he recovered for his injuries. 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: Greatness? Ha! If that great philosopher, Socrates, were living today, he'd be reduced to sitting on a cracker barrel, chewing tobacco. That's what America does for greatness.
See more »


Edited into Shenandoah (1965) See more »


Raintree County
Music by Johnny Green (uncredited)
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Sung by Nat 'King' Cole
See more »

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User Reviews

Muddled Mess
24 November 2012 | by See all my reviews

I feel really guilty because my partner of 40 years, who is an avid film collector, fished this tape out of his vast repository (5000 films) and set it up so I could watch it. Since his media center is in one room and our eating space in another (the kitchen)I was running back and forth between the movie and my breakfast lasagne waiting breathlessly for La Liz's entrance which I caught just in time between bites of food and of course she was ravishing as always and utterly the center of attention in every shot, everyone else fading into the woodwork - there will never be a star to equal her! But alas the script is a muddled mess and there is no question the studio (MGM)could not have found a worse writer than they did - I looked him up here and he did nothing to warrant being asked to adapt Raintree County from the book which he did along with the book's author. Right off the bat both the story and the central character (The Professor) are just plain silly with heartthrob Clift running off into a swamp in his Sunday Best for absolutely no reason and the professor running off with some man's wife. What all this has to do with the main storyline is anyone's guess, but after reading the synopsis of the story here I realized that poor MGM in its quest to film a sequel to GWTW failed miserably with this pathetic attempt. As the old saying says, you can't go home again!

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