Splendor in the Grass (1961)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

1961's premiere "date" movie represented the screen debut of Warren Beatty. Set in the 1920s, William Inge's screenplay concerns the superheated romance between working-class high schooler Natalie Wood and rich kid Beatty. Trying their best to keep their relationship from going "all the way," Beatty and Wood go through a series of unsatisfying interim romances. The troubled Wood attempts suicide and is sent to a mental institution, while Beatty impregnates freewheeling waitress Zohra Lampert. Wood and Beatty still carry a torch for one another, but circumstances preclude their getting together -- and besides, Wood suddenly realizes that she's outgrown the still-floundering Beatty. Scriptwriter William Inge shows up as a minister in Splendor in the Grass, while comedienne Phyllis Diller does a cameo as famed nightclub entertainer Texas Guinan; also, keep an eye out for Sandy Dennis, making her first movie appearance.
Classics , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Natalie Wood
as Wilma Dean Loomis
Warren Beatty
as Bud Stamper
Pat Hingle
as Ace Stamper
Audrey Christie
as Mrs. Loomis
Barbara Loden
as Ginny Stamper
Zohra Lampert
as Angelina
Fred Stewart
as Del Loomis
Joanna Roos
as Mrs. Stamper
Jan Norris
as Juanita Howard
Lynn Loring
as Carolyn
John McGovern
as Doc Smiley
Martine Bartlett
as Miss Metcalf
Jake LaMotta
as Waiter
William Inge
as Minister
Charles Robinson
as Johnny Masterson
Phyllis Diller
as Texas Guinan
Charles Knox Robinson III
as Johnny Masterson
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Critic Reviews for Splendor in the Grass

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (1)

A complicated film that never really successfully yokes together the themes of money-making and sexuality, it reveals both Kazan's operatic sensibility and his inability to follow an argument rigorously through.

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

This romantic sudser is darker than those of its day, as it shockingly deals with matters Hollywood had previously kept under wraps.

Full Review… | June 19, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A smug sneer toward all the squares.

Full Review… | March 26, 2010

Splendor in the Grass is a prestigious, top-of-the-line, sensitively-handled melodramatic literalization of the axiom "If you touch yourself too much, you'll go crazy."

Full Review… | March 2, 2009
Slant Magazine

Youth exploitation pictures were all the rage at the time, and while this is better than some in execution and intent, it's still exactly that.

Full Review… | November 1, 2007
TV Guide

One of Kazan's two or three mastrpieces, this powerful small-town film examines growing pains, respressed sexuality, and social hypocrisy, featuring Warren Beatty, in an astonishing screen debut, and Natalie Wood, at their very best.

Full Review… | January 31, 2007

Audience Reviews for Splendor in the Grass

A "big" Hollywood movie in its day, represented by dint of extravagant color, large, swelling musical scores, and turgid acting about an "important" issue of the day, in this case: young lust. This can't turn out well and it doesn't (Hollywood was doing all it could to defeat television in those days), but along the way we get Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty in their youthful heyday, a decent script by William Inge, and fine character work by the supporting cast.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


The definitive bucket of cold water movie about the hormones that swept America. Warren Beatty finds his Stanley Kowalski and Natalie Wood gives one of the essential female performances in American film.

Matheus Carvalho
Matheus Carvalho

Super Reviewer

A very well acted film that just ins't my cup of tea.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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