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


Elia Kazan


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





Cast overview, first billed only:
Natalie Wood ... Wilma Dean Loomis
Pat Hingle ... Ace Stamper
Audrey Christie ... Mrs. Loomis
Barbara Loden ... Ginny Stamper
Zohra Lampert ... Angelina
Warren Beatty ... Bud Stamper
Fred Stewart ... Del Loomis
Joanna Roos ... Mrs. Stamper
John McGovern ... Doc Smiley
Jan Norris ... Juanita Howard
Martine Bartlett ... Miss Metcalf
Gary Lockwood ... Allen 'Toots' Tuttle
Sandy Dennis ... Kay
Crystal Field ... Hazel
Marla Adams ... June


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 | Plot Synopsis


There is a miracle in being young...and a fear. See more »


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


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


The very brief glimpse we get of a building in Yale is not Yale, but CCNY, the City College of New York. Modern automobiles, contemporary with the time of filming, but not with the time of the story, are seen in the background. 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.
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Crazy Credits

There is no end title; the picture simply fades to black. See more »


Referenced in Middle Men (2009) See more »


(1877) (uncredited)
Music by Euphemia Allen
Played on piano by Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty
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User Reviews

A celebration of romantic love, sex included
17 February 2011 | by bob-790-196018See all my reviews

This is a fine movie, with a great screenplay by William Inge, director Elia Kazan's ability to convey powerful emotions, and a marvelous performance by Natalie Wood.

Typically relegated to the second ranks among playwrights, Inge deserves more critical respect than he receives. Here, as in "Picnic," he celebrates romantic love, shows how inseparable it is from sex, and portrays the damage done by a conventional world that insists on separating them.

We belittle the small-town characters in the film, who see the world in terms of "good" girls and "bad" girls, but many reviewers have shown a similarly reductionist outlook on a more sophisticated level. They have seen this movie as "Freudian," showing love to be a sublimation of sex. Or they have belittled it as just another "rebellious youth" film of the type that was so popular in the 1950s and early 1960s. Pauline Kael wrote about Natalie Wood's apparently too active "behind," and on TCM, Robert Osborne introduced the movie as one in which the young couple is motivated by "hormones."

In the movie, it is plain that the young couple truly love each other, and it is also plain that they desire each other sexually. So it always will be with young people in love. This is the glory of romance. People frequently love without a sexual involvement, and people frequently have sex without love. But romantic love is a matter of both "body" and "soul" acting as one.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

17 November 1961 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Splendor in the Grass See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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