Action / Drama / Western

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 88% · 50 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 87% · 10K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.6/10 10 42477 42.5K


Top cast

Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie Benedict
Rock Hudson as Jordan 'Bick' Benedict Jr.
Dennis Hopper as Jordan Benedict III
James Dean as Jett Rink
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.81 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
3 hr 21 min
Seeds ...
3.71 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
3 hr 21 min
Seeds 14

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gab-14712 9 / 10

A Beautiful Epic About Changing Times

I am a sucker for long, sprawling epics about history or social issues. Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia, and Doctor Zhivago are films I could watch on repeat. Now we can add 1956's Giant to the list. It's one of the only films to tell the story about Texas and how the state transitioned from the old-fashioned cattle/cowboy era to the modern oil industry. I adored every minute of this three-hour and twenty-one minute feature. Yes, it's long but it is a film that has big, ambitious ideas and characters you'll come to know and fall in love with.....just as I did.

The film is based off an Edna Ferber novel. If you are familiar with her work, you'll know that her books capture social injustice issues such as racism. In her book this movie was adapted from, she gave us big ideas to think about along the lines of racism and women's rights. From the 1920's to 1940's, the Mexican Americans on the ranches were treated with contempt and just a tad better than slaves. Also, the idea of a woman coming into an industry dominated by men and speaking her mind freely was something nearly unheard of. Like the book, the movie tackles these ideas and rather successfully. After all, the early-to-mid 1900's were changing times for the Lonestar State. I think the screenplay, written by Ivan Moffat and Henry Ginsberg, captured the tone and spirt of her vast epic.

The film was directed by George Stevens. If that name sounds familiar to you, maybe you have seen 1951's A Place in the Sun or the lovely 1936 film, Swing Time. Stevens handsomely directed the film and put together a very worthy cast. In his long career creating tons of good movies, it's hard to believe that he only won one Academy Award. That was for this movie and he deserved it. This is one of those movies that stand the test of time.

Giant tells the story than spans over two decades. It tells the story of poverty versus wealth, along with racial discrimination and deep feelings such as prejudice. All of this is centered around one Texas ranch- The Reata. The Reata is ran by his cattle baron Jordan Benedict (Rock Hudson) and his sister, Luz (Mercedes McCambridge). They run a tight ship and treat the Mexican Americans on their farm with disdain. When Benedict travels to Maryland to buy a beautiful stallion, he meets the even more beautiful Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor). The two get married and Leslie moves to the ranch where she makes it a life goal to institute social changes. Then there is the ranch hand, Jett Rink (James Dean) who is jealous of Jordan's success. When he strikes oil, he instantly becomes a billionaire. Not just these central characters, but how will the entire family take in all of these changes?

I loved the performances in the film. This film garnished Rock Hudson his only Academy Award nomination. He has always been an undervalued actor, but I loved his performance. There was a sequence towards the end, a fistfight at the cause of social injustice, and that shows his capability. Elizabeth Taylor previously worked with George Stevens in 1951's A Place in the Sun and showed how talented she was. Even though she was not Stevens's first choice for this picture, she once again rose to elite level. Then we have James Dean. Dean had his career cut extremely short due to his untimely death toward the end of this film's production. Stevens had another guy come in to dub the actor's lines which may have been why the film took more than a year in post-production. He captured the distrust of Jett Rink very well and easily showed that money cannot guarantee happiness. You may recognize other faces here. Dennis Hopper as Jordan's son, Carroll Baker as Jordan's daughter, and Rod Taylor as Sir David Karfrey.

The film is so beautiful to look at. Cinematographer William C. Mellor gave the deserts of Texas its own beauty. I felt so alive and even romantic gazing at the Texan landscape. I truly felt transported to another time and place. The music by Dmitri Tiomkin fits the epic format easily with recognizable themes.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed the vast movie that is Giant. It's one of the few early movies that gives it due to social causes like racism and women's rights. It harshly criticized the way of Texan life. I found it ironic that many Texans actually adored the movie when it came out. But based off an Edna Ferber novel, of course these themes will be prevalent. Beautiful landscapes, powerful acting from the lead trio, and great direction are just some of the reasons to see the movie. The movie tackles multiple generations, so be prepared to fall in love....or possibly hate some characters.

My Grade: A

Reviewed by classicsoncall 8 / 10

"You shoulda shot that fella a long time ago, now he's too rich to kill."

The opening of the movie sets the viewer up for a bit of a shock later on; all those lush rolling green fields of Maryland give way to a desolate and bizarrely placed Gothic mansion in the middle of a Texas desert. One wonders what Leslie Benedict REALLY thought, because she never let on that this might have been a mistake. But they say love is blind, even if marriage is an eye opener. For my part, I was left wondering what the cattle ate out there to stay nourished, they certainly looked healthy. But of course, that wasn't the point. "Giant" was one of the earliest epic bordering films to examine racial intolerance and present a strong independent woman, and the scenes that play to those sentiments are the best in the story.

I had only the faintest of knowledge about the film, generally cited as a final showcase for one of it's stars, James Dean. What surprised me the most was the presence of such a fine supporting cast behind Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. Mercedes McCambridge excels with limited screen time as Bick's (Hudson) manly sister, while Carroll Baker and Dennis Hopper appear as the adult Benedict heirs, each off in their own direction to the consternation of their father. It's always interesting to see Dennis Hopper, especially in very young early roles, to see how he developed his chameleon like ability to morph into virtually any type of characterization.

It's fair to say that the movie's three plus hours virtually flies by, and one wonders how long it could have gone if the film hadn't lopped off years between scenes. On the flip side, that might also be the picture's greatest downside. Even though continuity is never lost, it's somewhat disorienting to see a family age by almost a decade at a clip, as there was plenty of room for additional character development in between. That's probably why more than once I thought that the picture might have benefited from a serialization of sorts, along the lines of say, "Dallas", other similarities notwithstanding. Is there any way to overlook the connection between Jett Rink's (Dean) prominent initials and those of the eldest son of the Ewing clan?

The movie ties up a lot of connections by the time it's over, like Jordy's (Hopper) 'Country Doctor' medical kit and his adult life's ambition. The best though came near the finale when Hudson's character Bick Benedict transcends his chauvinistic and bigoted past to take on the proprietor of 'Sarge's Place'. It was the redeeming moment worth waiting for, set to martial music and inviting the viewer to cheer on the man who was getting his butt whipped. It's a scene that best captures the spirit of "Giant", as if defining each of it's principal players as a giant in their own right.

Reviewed by AlsExGal 8 / 10

sprawling saga of old Texas turning into modern Texas

This has recently played on Turner Classic Movies, and so they have been playing a short promo on the film. However, I disagree with the critics' assessment that this is a man versus woman film. Instead, this is a film about the pangs of old Texas giving birth to new Texas. Rock Hudson plays the young patriarch of a Texas ranching family, Bick Benedict, in the 1920s who goes to Maryland to buy a colt. He is instantly smitten with one of the daughters in the family (Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie) , in spite of the fact that she raises his Texas ire by saying things such as Texas was stolen from Mexico! Taylor's character is already spoken for, but she throws over her intended and she and Benedict marry on a whim.

Adjustment is hard for Leslie. The Benedict ranch is sprawling but devoid of Maryland's natural beauty. Bick's sister Luz runs the house and is not going to give that title up to some delicate East coast beauty. And when she tries to help the Mexican families that live on the ranch, she finds her husband angry with her. Ranch hand Jett Rink (James Dean in his last film role) falls madly in love with Leslie who just doesn't see it. Meanwhile Luz has always loved Jett, and that love later greatly complicates the Benedicts' lives in a very unconventional way.

Like I said, this is no man versus woman film. This is initially east coast liberal civilized values versus the rough and tumble values of what is still the Texas frontier in many ways. And it is the story of a family over 30 years as Texas changes in its values and what is important in its industry. For example, cattle ranching gives way in importance to the petroleum industry. As for changing values, Bick changes from a man who really doesn't see the Hispanics as human beings to somebody who literally takes a beating to defend the honor of one decades later.

Highly recommended as a film and as a showcase for the talents of Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean. Dean had other good showcases for his talent, but I feel Hudson and Taylor - in spite of her two Best Actress Oscars are both remembered too much for their soapy roles and not enough for their acting skills. Highly recommended.

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