It is 1917, just before the United States’ entry into World War I and two brothers are graduating from High School at a time of great social change. James Dean gives a powerful performance as Cal, rebelling against his farmer father and slowly coming to grips with the secrets and betrayals his family have kept from him. Using biblical metaphors and Freudian symbolism Kazan delivers a hard-hitting and emotionally intense drama based on the latter half of John Steinbeck’s novel. Though Dean’s performance as the psychologically scarred son stands out, other performers such as Burl Ives, Julie Harris and Jo Van Fleet are equally fine.
Warner Bros Pictures