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Peyton Place (1957)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 3 March 1958 (Sweden)
2:34 | Trailer
A peaceful New England town hides secrets and scandals.


Mark Robson


John Michael Hayes (screenplay), Grace Metalious (from the novel by)
Nominated for 9 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Lana Turner ... Constance MacKenzie
Lee Philips ... Michael Rossi
Lloyd Nolan ... Dr. Swain
Arthur Kennedy ... Lucas Cross
Russ Tamblyn ... Norman Page
Terry Moore ... Betty Anderson
Hope Lange ... Selena Cross
Diane Varsi ... Allison MacKenzie
David Nelson ... Ted Carter
Barry Coe ... Rodney Harrington
Betty Field ... Nellie Cross
Mildred Dunnock ... Miss Elsie Thornton
Leon Ames ... Mr. Harrington
Lorne Greene ... Prosecutor
Robert H. Harris ... Seth Bushwell
Learn more

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It's the pre-WWII era. Peyton Place is a small town in New England, whose leading adult citizens rule the town with their high moral standards, which they try to pass on to their offspring. The adults, especially those that wield power largely through their positions and/or through their wealth, will not tolerate anything they believe morally improper, even if there is a hint of impropriety without comprehensive evidence to back up the hints. As their offspring grow from teenagers to adults, the offspring learn that there is much hypocrisy by the adults lying underneath that façade of proper Christian morals. The offspring begin to rebel in different ways, which is brought to public scrutiny with the arrival into town of an "outsider", the new young high school principal Michael Rossi, and through a murder trial. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Small town America will never be the same again. See more »


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Lana Turner's Best Actress Oscar nominated performance was the only one in the category in a Best Picture nominee that year. See more »


"You'll Never Know" wasn't introduced until 1943 (by Alice Faye in Hello Frisco, Hello), but is played here at a 1941 Graduation ceremony. See more »


Michael Rossi: I kissed you. You kissed me. That's affection, not carnality. That's affection, not lust. You ought to know the difference.
See more »

Alternate Versions

(Spoiler) Originally premiered at 162 minutes. Cut by 5 minutes, shortly after premiere, reputedly in the scene involving the murder of Arthur Kennedy's character. See more »


References The Trouble with Harry (1955) See more »


Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Music Traditional
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Sung by those at the graduation dance
See more »

User Reviews

Put Yourself in Their Place
12 February 2013 | by JLRMovieReviewsSee all my reviews

Lana Turner gets top billing in this film adaptation of Grace Metalious' scandalous novel, Peyton Place, a small town in the New England states just before WWII. The reason the book was so scandalous at the time was because it dealt with things that were not dealt with in families nor spoke of in decent company: getting involved with a married man, incest, or just being lonely and scared of growing up or the opposite sex. Family #1: Mother Lana Turner owns a dress shop, and her daughter Diane Varsi is the class valedictorian. There's a story there. Another family: Betty Field's first husband died, so she married Arthur Kennedy, so that her three children would have a father figure. But he drank and was rough on the boys, particularly the oldest son, Ben, which led up to him leaving home, which begins the movie. That leaves daughter Hope Lange and a younger boy at home. Another family: Father Leon Ames, whose son Barry Coe likes the school tramp Terry Moore, and vice versa. Then there's Mildred Dunnock who's a teacher who has seniority to become principal, now that the last one has recently died. But the school board elects to hire one from out of town. Enter Lee Philips. Then, there's Russ Tamblyn, whose life is being monopolized by a domineering mother who is trying to make him hate all girls. Then there's Lloyd Nolan, who's the friendly town doctor, who is pressed to go beyond the call of duty to help others. And, there's also the town gossipers, who spread it like wildfire.

Being a Lana Turner fan, I may have seen this film more than the average person. But instead of falling head over heels for it, I do see its limitations. One of the film's strengths is almost its undoing or worst criticism. Its study or treatment of the town's citizens (and their problems) is like that of a bird's eye view, allowing us to see their world without being judgmental of their actions or feelings, and is therefore a straightforward account of what happens to them. But, by doing so, it feels emotionally aloof and we, the viewer, don't connect enough to anyone in particular. The film's main success is in the production values and how they complement the actors using their craft. The actors that really come off the best are Terry Moore, as the town tramp (who's really not that bad;) Diane Varsi (as the daughter who discovers who or what she really is;) Arthur Kennedy as the town drunk, who's totally in character; Lloyd Nolan, as the doctor providing care and common sense to those that will listen; and lastly Lana Turner, who was given only one Oscar nomination in her movie career, for this film. In fact, in my opinion, the film's best scene belongs to her and the principal, played by Lee Philips, when he tells her that he cares for her and he expects the same adult feelings from her, without it being dirty. That may be the scene that earned her the nomination more than the courtroom scene.

While I have always liked Hope Lange, the presentation of the events in her life does not draw the viewer in or make us care enough. It feels too artificial to matter and does not come across as real. But the opening score that accompanies the credits is so moving, that the last time I saw this film, I had to listen to it twice and I was almost brought to tears. "Peyton Place" may be from the imagination of Grace Metalious, but these people and events are portrayed in the film, as if this could have been, but for the Grace of God, you or me given the circumstances, and that we are all looking for love and acceptance in another. This also is showing the misfortune of people to allow you the chance to see things from a different perspective. Open your heart and see yourself in another's place. "Peyton Place" is a film about people.

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Release Date:

3 March 1958 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Jerry Wald's Production of Peyton Place See more »

Filming Locations:

Belfast, Maine, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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