All That Heaven Allows (1955)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

One of director Douglas Sirk's best and most successful romantic soapers of the 1950s, All That Heaven Allows is predicated on a May-December romance. The difference here is that the woman, attractive widow Cary Scott (Jane Wyman), is considerably older than the man, handsome gardener-landscaper Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson). Sirk builds up sympathy for Cary by showing how empty her life has been since her husband's death, even suggesting that the marriage itself was no picnic. Throwing conventionial behavior to the winds and facing social ostracism, Cary pursues her romance with Ron, who is unjustly perceived as a fortune-hunter by Cary's friends and family--especially her priggish son Ned (William Reynolds). Amusingly, Conrad Nagel was to have had a much larger part as Harvey, an elderly widower who carries a torch for Cary, but his role was trimmed down during previews when audiences disapproved of an implicit romance between a sixtyish man and a fortysomething woman! All That Heaven Allows was remade by unabashed Douglas Sirk admirer Rainer Werner Fassbinder as Ali--Fear Eats the Soul (1974), in which the age gap between hero and heroine was even wider. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Classics , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Jane Wyman
as Cary Scott
Rock Hudson
as Ron Kirby
Conrad Nagel
as Harvey
Agnes Moorehead
as Sara Warren
Virginia Grey
as Alida Anderson
Gloria Talbott
as Kay Scott
William Reynolds
as Ned Scott
Jacqueline de Wit
as Mona Plash
Charles Drake
as Mick Anderson
Hayden Roarke
as Dr. Hennessy
Leigh Snowden
as Jo-Ann
Donald Curtis
as Howard Hoffer
Alex Gerry
as George Warren
Merry Anders
as Mary Ann
Hayden Rorke
as Dr. Hennessy
Nestor Paiva
as Manuel
Forrest Lewis
as Mr. Weeks
Tol Avery
as Tom Allenby
David Janssen
as Freddie
Lillian Culver
as Bit part
Paul Keast
as Mark Plash
Joseph Mell
as Mr. Gow
Gia Scala
as Manuel's Daughter
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Critic Reviews for All That Heaven Allows

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (4)

Hudson is handsome and somewhat wooden. Laconic of speech, and imbued with an angel's patience and understanding, it's at times hard to understand his passion for the widow, what with pretty girls just spoilingfor his attention.

Full Review… | October 16, 2007
Top Critic

Solid and sensible drama plainly had to give way to outright emotional bulldozing and a paving of easy clichés.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Beneath the stunningly lovely visuals -- all expressionist colours, reflections, and frames-within-frames, used to produce a precise symbolism -- lies a kernel of terrifying despair

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A masterpiece (1955) by one of the most inventive and recondite directors ever to work in Hollywood, Douglas Sirk.

Full Review… | September 4, 2004
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Works as a straightforward melodrama, but is so meticulously crafted by a visual master that it provides endless material for those who wish to mine for deeper social commentary.

Full Review… | August 3, 2014
Movie Metropolis

Proof that there is artistry and glory in a genre that never had to apologise for itself, not when it was this confident, beautiful, and good.

Full Review… | July 13, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

Audience Reviews for All That Heaven Allows

Despite the fact that the two characters seem to fall in love in such an abrupt way, this is still an involving silky melodrama whose appeal is not hard to understand, especially taking into account the impressive social criticism that made it so ahead of its time.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

I don't quite know how to describe this. I watched it expecting nothing great and I still feel quite confused as to my feelings on it but I really enjoyed it. It was interesting and understandable (not always common in 'old' movies) and it touches on themes I can completely understand despite the age gap. I feel I may have liked it better at Christmas time, as the beautiful images of a snow covered cottage with a young deer outside was magical. I truly felt for Cary, as her whole world changed and ended up feeling satisfied at the end. A good romance.

Sophie Burgess
Sophie Burgess

Super Reviewer

Some people never realize how society, traditions and values imprisons and forces them to conform with banality. A candid and romantic look of a taboo relationship, done with such picturesque beauty that is hard not to be moved and enchanted by it.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

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