East of Eden is a 1955 film loosely based on the second half of the 1952 novel of the same name by John Steinbeck. It is about a wayward young man who, while seeking his own identity, vies for the affection of his deeply religious father against his favored brother.
East of Eden is the first of three major films that make up James Dean's movie legacy. The 24-year-old idol-to-be plays Cal, a wayward Salinas Valley youth who vies for the affection of his hardened father (Raymond Massey) with his favored brother Aron (Richard Davalos). Playing off the haunting sensitivity of Julie Harris, Dean's performance earned one of the film's four Academy Award nominations. Among the movie's stellar performances, Jo Van Fleet won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actress.
- Won Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama
- 1 Oscar win (best actress) & 3 Oscar nominations (incl best director)
- Won Best Dramatic Film at Cannes
- Won another 6 awards, and received another 6 nominations
East of Eden Reviews
“Emotionally overwhelming adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel about two brothers' rivalry for the love of their father; affects today's generation as much as those who witnessed Dean's starring debut.” 4/4 Leonard Maltin
“Not only one of Kazan's richest films and Dean's first significant role, it is also arguably the actor's best performance.” LA Times
“It's a film of great performances, atmospheric photography, and a sure sense of period and place.” Time Out
“Overwrought, often splendid Kazan version of the Steinbeck novel. The
movie's chief distinction is the amazing debut of rebellious, romantic James
Dean, who in this and his next film, REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, would enshrine the
misunderstood teen, and become a tragic icon in his own right…It's the Cain
and Abel story, circa 1917, and the rush from stability to destruction and
tragedy is swift, as Dean seeks to undo his brother and himself.
A powerful film whose influence can be seen in HUD and most other antihero films, EAST OF EDEN is masterfully directed by Kazan. All the principals give riveting performances, but it was Dean who emerged as an overnight sensation. EDEN also features a quintessentially hardbitten performance from Van Fleet, who won an Oscar for her pains.” TV Guide