East of Eden is the late James Dean’s first starring role. Sadly, it’s also the only movie Dean saw in its entirety. I had often heard film buffs talk about how brilliant James Dean was in such a short amount of time. So I checked out the James Dean collection and I watched every movie, one night after the other. East of Eden is a down-to-earth tale about two brothers (something I can relate to) who strive for their religious father’s affection. East of Eden also draws heavily from The Bible. Specifically the story of Cain and Abel. James Dean plays Caleb Trask, a bitter young man whose just discovered his absentee mother owns a brothel. He also feels like his father loves his brother, Aron, more than himself. Things get even more complicated when he falls for his brother’s girlfriend, Abra. I was immediately convinced that James Dean was a great actor when I saw this performance. Dean plays Cal with a sort of raw emotion that feels relatable. All he wants to do is prove himself to his father, but even that isn’t enough in the end. Dean received his first Oscar nomination for what is arguably the best performance of his career. East of Eden will most likely only be remembered for James Dean, but you should definitely check it out for the great movie that it is.