Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  10 October 1961 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 12,971 users  
Reviews: 113 user | 43 critic

A fragile Kansas girl's unrequited and forbidden love for a handsome young man from the town's most powerful family drives her to heartbreak and madness.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Audrey Christie ...
Barbara Loden ...
Zohra Lampert ...
Fred Stewart ...
Joanna Roos ...
Mrs. Stamper
John McGovern ...
Doc Smiley
Jan Norris ...
Juanita Howard
Martine Bartlett ...
Miss Metcalf
Allen 'Toots' Tuttle
Crystal Field ...
Marla Adams ...


It's 1928 in oil rich southeast Kansas. High school seniors Bud Stamper and Deanie Loomis are in love with each other. Bud, the popular football captain, and Deanie, the sensitive soul, are "good" kids who have only gone as far as kissing. Unspoken to each other, they expect to get married to each other one day. But both face pressures within the relationship, Bud who has the urges to go farther despite knowing in his heart that if they do that Deanie will end up with a reputation like his own sister, Ginny Stamper, known as the loose, immoral party girl, and Deanie who will do anything to hold onto Bud regardless of the consequences. They also face pressures from their parents who have their own expectation for their offspring. Bud's overbearing father, Ace Stamper, the local oil baron, does not believe Bud can do wrong and expects him to go to Yale after graduation, which does not fit within Bud's own expectations for himself. And the money and image conscious Mrs. Loomis just wants... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's unrelenting moments, Its tragedies and splendors! See more »


Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 October 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esplendor en la hierba  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film's title comes from the poem, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" by William Wordsworth: "Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the grass, / of glory in the flower, / we will grieve not, / rather find strength in what remains behind." See more »


During the locker-room shower sequence, Gary Lockwood is seen taking a shower. His shorts are visible. See more »


[first lines]
Wilma Dean: Bud...
Bud: Deanie, please...
Wilma Dean: Bud, I'm afraid. Oh, Bud... don't, Bud.
Bud: Deanie...
Wilma Dean: No... we mustn't, Bud... no... no...
[he gets out of the car]
Wilma Dean: Bud, don't be mad.
Bud: I better take you home.
See more »

Crazy Credits

and introducing Warren Beatty See more »


Referenced in Smallville: Relic (2003) See more »


(1877) (uncredited)
Music by Euphemia Allen
Played on piano by Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Get The Kleenex Ready
21 April 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

So poignant, it hurts. And I'm a heterosexual male who enjoys football and grunge. Though some of the attitudes toward sex have been tempered in the intervening years, the turmoils and pressures of being a teen ring just as true today 42 years after this film's release. Kazan is a master at capturing those wrenching angsty adolescent and post-adolescent moments of emotional vulnerability and doubt, especially concerning the love/hate between children and their parents, and this is among his best work. A reminder that wistful remembrances of the seeming innocence and happiness of youth are probably wishful thinking, and also an ironic prodding that there is seemingly something idealistic lost or compromised when we enter adulthood. Kudos to the entire cast but in particular, Natalie Wood is scintillating, perfectly encapsulating the joys and horrors of someone caught up in the dizzying power and raging hormones of teen love. Beatty is solid, too, if a bit overly earnest.

All of the twists and turns of the plot work, though ultimately Bud's family's economic setbacks and deaths and Didi's family's successes are mere soap operatic window dressing to the "A" plot line, which is the heart tugging reality of "nothing bringing back the hour of the Splendor In The Grass" for Bud and Didi, though both obviously still share the feeling. This is the kind of movie that doesn't get made in America now because of the non-commercial (but accurate) ending. Okay, they broached it in the less psychologically challenging CASTAWAY, but slapped on a happy ending afterwards.

SPLENDOR is not perfect; Bud's father (Pat Hingle) is a little overwrought and stereotypically drawn as the socioeconomic snob with castratingly ambitious designs on Bud's future. Bud's sister (Barbara Loden) is similarly too pat as the troubled, neglected child who does all she can to get daddy's disapproval. Still, any of the soapy aspects of the plot just fall away when the Beatty / Wood romance plot line gets cooking. They got the meat of this movie just right and the result is one of the most memorable and vivid examples of young romance ever set down on celluloid. Don't miss it!

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