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Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Natalie Wood , Warren Beatty , Elia Kazan  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Pat Hingle, Audrey Christie, Barbara Loden
  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Writers: William Inge
  • Producers: Elia Kazan, Charles H. Maguire, William Inge
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2001
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00002ND7B
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,683 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Splendor in the Grass" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Splendor in the Grass is a 1961 Technicolor romantic drama film that tells a story of sexual repression, love, and heartbreak, from which the character Deanie suffers. Written by William Inge, who appears briefly as a Protestant clergyman and won an Oscar for his screenplay, the film was directed by Elia Kazan.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Middle-aged stars outshine glamorous leads December 6, 2000
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The plot of Splendor in the Grass revolves around the fateful love between two teens, Bud and Deanie, in late 20s Kansas. Seemingly destined to be together, they are thwarted by repressive sexual mores and their overbearing parents. Deanie suffers a nervous breakdown over their separation and Bud winds up a failure at Yale, eventually becoming a dirt farmer. This occurs against a backdrop of 20s financial speculation, culminating in the stock market crash and depression. Beatty is adequate as Bud, while Natalie Wood gives a deeply sensitive portrayal as Deanie. However, both principals are upstaged by the actors portraying their dominant parents. Pat Hingle, always excellent, plays Bud's wealthy father, a crude oil man. Audrey Christie is Deanie's mother, constantly vigilant about her daughter's purity. Both manage the difficult task of portraying sincerely loving parents who nevertheless have a baneful influence on their children's lives. I'd also like to put in a good word for Fred Stewart playing Del Loomis, Deanie's father. His role as the small town grocer is small, but he does subtle wonders in a scene at the end of the movie where he overrules his wife's objection to Deanie's seeing Bud again. One wants to weep at his paternal love. If the film's diatribe against sexual repression is no longer fresh, its depiction of the banality of smalltown life remains so. This is skillfully shown in the second scene, where the Loomises' frame house is shown behind a large graphic reading "Southeast Kansas 1928." By vaguely mentioning the story's setting, rather than specifying a town, the director, Kazan, emphasizes the generic quality of the setting and makes it more insignificant and insipid. Read more ›
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106 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW !!! July 28, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Ok, I'm only 25, I'm a Black Male who loves Hip Hop and all of that. Well, I saw this film by "accident" on AMC when I was flipping channels one night. The only reason I started watching it was because it had Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood, and I thought it would be "funny" to see them when they were young.
What I got instead was an AMAZING film about 2 high school sweethearts who are hopelessly in love during a time when society dictated who (and HOW) you were allowed to love someone.
In many ways this has not changed, as a Black man who has been in love with a white women, I can easily identify with this film.
During the 1920's in a small town in Kansas, Deanie (Natalie Wood) is in love with Bud (Beatty). He wants to go all the way, but she's been taught that only "bad" girls do that, and no real man would ever respect if she did. So she holds off, and Bud eventually sleeps with the school "flapper girl". Deanie can not stand this, and eventually falls into depression, soon to be followed by Bud. Both of them have realized the mistake they made and need to get back together. Unfortunately the wheels of fortune are already in motion, and there is nothing anyone can do to stop them. Frankly, I was not prepared for how emotional this film would be, or for how amazing the performance were. Now I understand all the hype that Natalie Wood has received over the years, her performance in this movie is truly heart-breaking. Everyone should watch this movie and LEARN from it - when you fall in love with someone, there is a reason for it, and you should NEVER let others dictate your feelings or emotions for you.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
In the same way he was able to extract a searing performance from Andy Griffith in 1957's A Face in the Crowd, master director Elia Kazan gets similarly stellar results from Natalie Wood in this classic 1961 melodrama about youthful sexual repression in rural 1920's Kansas. In the same year as her Maria in West Side Story, she has never been more affecting then she is here as Deanie Loomis, the local butcher's daughter deeply in love with Bud Stamper, the son of an oil scion and the high school football hero. They are the senior sweethearts everyone expects to marry, but both have to battle constantly with their sexual longing and their grasping parents.

The ruling moral code restricts Deanie more than Bud who ends up cavorting with a good-time girl named Juanita. The indiscretion overwhelms Deanie who attempts suicide and ends up in a sanitarium for her fragile mental state. A few years later with their lives on divergent paths, they meet again to come to terms with each other. While the whole film is beautifully executed thanks to Kazan's sure hand and William Inge's screenplay (his first directly for the screen), it's the last fifteen minutes that really resonate with the characters expressing their emotions with a minimum of dialogue. Otherwise, there are plenty of heated moments of melodrama along with soap opera elements familiar to anyone who has seen 1955's Picnic based on Inge's successful Broadway play.

At her most beautiful, Wood is wondrous as she moves fluidly from innocently infatuated to obsessive to resigned.
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