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Splendor in the Grass (1961)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  10 October 1961 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 11,676 users  
Reviews: 108 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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Title: Splendor in the Grass (1961)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 October 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esplendor en la hierba  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jane Fonda wrote in her autobiography that she tested for the role of Deanie. When Elia Kazan asked her if she was ambitious, she replied "no" (even though she was) because "good girls aren't supposed to be ambitious." Fonda writes that she believes this was the reason for her not getting the role. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Featured in What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

The Theme From Splendor In The Grass
Music composed by David Amram
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
It will break your heart

Warren Beatty made his screen debut in Hollywood with this treasure of a film. One of the best ever made. For me, I can barely make it through without shedding a tear. It's probably the most emotionally devastating film I've seen and somehow struck a chord with me like few other films have. The Shootist and The Bridges of Madison County are two other movies that bring out the Kleenex, but not the way Kazan's film can. The setting is a dim rural Kansas farming community in the days just prior to the Great Depression. Yet things are good in the beginning. The Stamper family is making a fortune off their stocks and the Loomis family has recently invested and stands to make money as well. Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood play two of the children of the families who go together in high school and are desperately in love. Beatty is Bud Stamper and Wood is Deannie Loomis. Both are in their teenage years and their hormones are raging. Sexual repression and it's consequences are examined in the film and why such conservatism and restraint exists. Bud and Deannie do not have sex, though both feel extremely uncomfortable from the tension that arises when they mutually suppress their instincts. Deannie is told by her mother that good girls don't do things like that, nor should they enjoy it. Bud on the otherhand is told by his freewheeling father, played excellently by Pat Hingle, that there's two kinds of girls in the world. Those that put out and those that don't. His only advice for his son is to not get into trouble, by which he means get a girl pregnant. Bud knows all too well about the "other" kind of girl, as his sister has become one of them. Bud fights pressures on all sides of his life including sports, his relationship with Deannie, finding a college, and sexual repression. Yet he is emotionally stable enough to take it. Deannie on the otherhand makes an altar to Bud and her entire existence seems to revolve around him. What makes the film so compelling is watching these wonderful characters who are not cliché' even if their problems sometimes are. Warren Beatty plays his role naturally sensitive but conflicted with his father and peer's advice that he "man-up." Deannie is quiet, shy, beautiful, and sensitive. When Bud's need can no longer remain in check he sleeps with another girl. This news sends Deannie into complete shock. Natalie Wood brings so much depth to the character. I can vision a thousand places where her scenes could have gone wrong, but somehow it works. Even the most difficult and infamous scene in the movie where Wood is soaking in the tub and then stands up screaming at her mother before running out of the bathroom. Deannie's mother only wants the best for her, but it's the old fashioned values, restraint, and the pain of Bud with another girl, which eventually snowball into Deannie being sent to a mental institution after a nervous breakdown and suicide attempt (ironically Wood attempts suicide by drowning in the movie, years later the real life Wood died from drowning. She carried a fear of water with her through her entire life). From this point in the movie the stock market crashes and Bud moves past Deannie but fails college before continuing his personal dream of becoming a farmer. William Wordsworth wrote the poem from which the film takes its name. The film deals with first love in a way few other films have. Certainly a movie of today examining the issue would not be so foreboding. One might think the film is unrealistic because of the outbursts and almost too fragile teens. It is easy to laugh and say how stupid and ignorant love is at that age, but for those who've lived and felt it, I think it'd be difficult to see this movie as far fetched in anyway. Or even scoff at the characters and their desperate behavior. Afterall, we're dealing with an age and time where suicide is among the leading causes of death for teenagers and 20-year olds and one of the major factors are breakups with first loves. Natalie Wood gives one of the finest, most powerful performances in all of cinema. She'll break your heart and make you feel as much for her character as possible with the medium. Warren Beatty is also good as Bud, the confused and repressed young man who just wants things to make sense. There are few films as fine as Elia Kazan's 1961 picture that tackles these subjects and can deal with them in such a sincere and emotional way.


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