Two brothers struggle to maintain their strict, Bible-toting father's favor.

Director:

Elia Kazan

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

John Steinbeck's 'East of Eden' is a story of explosive passions and Elia Kazan has made it into a picture of staggering power! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several cast members reported that James Dean's emotions overtook him so strongly he would frequently cry. Elia Kazan usually just let those moments pass before resuming shooting, but he did leave one of Dean's breakdowns in--the scene in which Cal is crushed by his father's rejection of the money he earned for him. See more »

Goofs

During WWI, a band organ at the carnival plays "Ain't She Sweet", which is from 1927. See more »

Quotes

Cal Trask: I've been jealous all my life. Jealous, I couldn't even stand it. Tonight, I even tried to buy your love, but now I don't want it anymore... I can't use it anymore. I don't want any kind of love anymore. It doesn't pay off.
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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 »

Connections

Featured in The Brothers Warner (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Smiles
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Lee S. Roberts
Played by the marching band when the WCTU car rolls by
Also played after Cal shows Aron their mother
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User Reviews

 
Simply superb.
5 January 2000 | by David-240See all my reviews

Elia Kazan deserved his recent honorary Oscar, no matter what political mistakes he may have made. He deserved it because he is one of the supreme artists of the cinema. His ability to draw superb performances from his actors, is coupled with an astonishing ability to depict these emotional states visually, through the use of camera angles, lighting and symbols. "East of Eden" must be seen in the widescreen format to truly appreciate its visual style. It is arresting, sometimes beautiful and always powerful.

Then there are the performances. James Dean's heartbreaking realization of Cal, consumed by jealousy; Jo Van Fleet's magnificent portrayal of his mother; Richard Davalos (why didn't we see more of him on the screen after this film?) innocent, virginal, doomed; Raymond Massey who has never been better in a multi-layered performance; Burl Ives' commanding police chief - and, as usual in a Kazan film, even the smallest part is played to perfection (who'll forget the girl in the brothel or the nurse at the end?). After seeing the film a few times I really appreciate the performance of Julie Harris too. I once thought her a little too mature for the role - but now I see how her reactions to the events really enhance the emotional impact of those events. Kazan allows her to be in frame during some of the most crucial encounters between Cal and his father - and her face tells a million stories. This is a true "supporting" performance - her performance helping Dean realize Cal. Brava Julie!

I'm a lot older now than when I first saw this film - but I still relate so strongly to the communication breakdown and the need for love between father and son. The improvement of my own relationship with my father makes me see the film differently but with no less emotion. Like all masterpieces this film does not date, we just see it differently as we age. This is undoubtedly one of my top five films. How about a theatrical revival? I have never seen it in a cinema. Remember see it in widescreen - not pan and scan.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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 »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,079
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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