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East of Eden (1955)

PG | | Drama | 10 April 1955 (USA)
2:52 | Trailer

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A wilful young man contends against his brother for the attention of their religious father while reconnecting with his estranged mother and falling for his brother's girlfriend.


Elia Kazan


John Steinbeck (novel), Paul Osborn (screen play)
3,627 ( 2,628)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Julie Harris ... Abra
James Dean ... Cal Trask
Raymond Massey ... Adam Trask
Burl Ives ... Sam - the Sheriff
Richard Davalos ... Aron Trask
Jo Van Fleet ... Kate
Albert Dekker ... Will Hamilton
Lois Smith ... Anne
Harold Gordon Harold Gordon ... Gustav Albrecht
Nick Dennis ... Rantani


In the Salinas Valley, in and around World War I, Cal Trask feels he must compete against overwhelming odds with his brother Aron for the love of their father Adam. Cal is frustrated at every turn, from his reaction to the war, to how to get ahead in business and in life, to how to relate to estranged mother. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Of what a girl did . . . what a boy did ... of ecstasy and revenge! See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and some violent content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

10 April 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Steinbeck's East of Eden See more »

Filming Locations:

Salinas, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Perspecta Sound encoding) (35 mm optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints) (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In the original take of the roof scene, James Dean crawled through the window into Julie Harris's bedroom where he crouches beside her while she sleeps, fondling her slipper like a fetishist. That part was cut from the film, as was another highly eroticized scene between the two brothers in their room. See more »


Abra tells Cal she can go to Adam's birthday party the next day because she gets an hour off for lunch from the Hospital. Somehow, she had enough time to cook a turkey because just before the party, she tells Cal it's almost ready. See more »


[refusing Cal's gift of money]
Adam Trask: If you want to give me a present, give me a good life. That's something I can value.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Cards during opening credits: In northern California, the Santa Lucia Mountains, dark and brooding, stand like a wall between the peaceful agricultural town of Salinas and the rough and tumble fishing port of Monterey, fifteen miles away. AND "1917 Monterey, just outside the city limits" See more »

Alternate Versions

The dispute with shoemaker Gustav Albrecht about the war had been cut from the 1955 dubbed release for Germany and Austria. You could only see Albrecht leaving the fair claiming "Can't I say my opinion?", Cal climbing down the Ferris wheel and following Aaron and Albrecht, some fight in front of Albrecht's house and the sheriff appearing. The reason for all this remained totally unclear; the recruiter's speech is cut except for one background line "Join the army!" when Cal and Abra pass by, and you actually don't even get that Albrecht might be of German descent. In most of today's copies the missing scenes are included, distinguishable by the German subtitles. See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Sibling Rivalries in Movies (2014) See more »


Ain't She Sweet
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Played when Cal is at the shooting gallery
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"Man has a choice and it's a choice that makes him a man."
7 December 2016 | by elvircorhodzicSee all my reviews

EAST OF EDEN is an emotional drama about the lives of troubled people in a provincial family.Frustrated and alienated youth are living in a small California town. The boy is in constant conflict with their own religious father, who prefers the another son.

I'm thrilled with the picture. Nature is the real beauty in this film. The problematic people in this atmosphere seem more credible. This is a powerful drama with different moods and clear psychoanalysis. It is fascinating that the director establishes a better relationship with the landscape and a weaker relationship with the protagonists.

Nobody's perfect. A trite but true phrase. The only question is, who will find meaning in their own imperfections. The film can recognize good and evil. This attitude affects the clarity of emotions. Fortunately, Biblical allusion is not excessive. The brothers, in a way, symbolize duality in man himself to grotesque proportions. The struggle for acceptance in the family and society, which has tragic end !? This is not only preposterous, but is dotted with a kind of illusion.

James Dean as Caleb Trask is unrepeatable, but the performance is overstated. Emotional character does not show a clear emotion. He is a hero and a villain in this film. The son who fought for an ounce of his father's love. The son, who is trying to buy his father's love. The protagonist who has a frank and somewhat noble purpose in life. James Dean is a strange combination between Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. Julie Harris as Abra Bacon is a young and inexperienced lady, who is forced to choose between the perfect son (the good guy) and imperfect son (the bad guy). Of course, she is not good enough for the perfect son, but she matures in time to save imperfect. Very good performance, I have to admit.

Raymond Massey as Adam Trask in the role of the "perfect" and the strictly religious father. I can understand his seriousness, sense of justice, and even fanatical devotion, but persistent refusing attitude against his son I will never understand. I tried to find a reason at some redemption, but again I have not found a deeper meaning. Richard Davalos as Aron Trask was the perfect son. I felt resentment and envy in his character. Of course, after the knowledge of the life of his mother. That's awesome. The protagonist who believes in the eternal triumph of good over evil. Characterization is very bad in this case. Jo Van Fleet as Cathy Ames is the mother described as a monster without a shred of love. The evil that is necessary for the story.

This movie is only a part of the novel and I made conclusions based on that.

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