90 Days of Oscar Nominees #80 – Giant (1956)


In my attempt to have a more prolific repertoire of Oscar Nominated Films, I have taken it upon myself to watch 90 new Best Picture Nominees that I’ve never seen before between 5 Dec 2017 and The 90th Annual Oscars on 4 Mar 2018.

Here is my 80th review of the 90 chosen Films…

“You all think that the glory happened here in the East, don’t you, with Valley Forge and Bunker Hill? Do you know about San Jacinto? Have you heard about the Alamo?” – Bick Benedict

Number of Times Seen – 2 (Cable in the 90’s and 21 Feb 2018)

Brief Synopsis – Epic Western that shows the ups and downs of a Ranching family during the early part of the 20th Century in Texas.

My Take on it – I saw this film years ago and avoided rewatching it largely due to the fact that it’s a Western with a near 3 and a half hour runtime.

I’m so glad, I rewatched it.

They do such an amazing job depicting how life was for Ranchers at that time and we get a nice picture of how they lived their lives during that time.

The cast is superb and they let us see the characters develop over so many years that it feels quite realistic when they change their views on something because it doesn’t happen on a whim.

This film has quite a lot of impactful message sewn into it and we get to see how Texicans deal with the changes in society and the world.

We get to see how they view the differences between a ranch being run by a strong man or a strong woman; and also see how they deal with the local Mexican population that lives among them.

Rock Hudson and Elisabeth Taylor are both amazing here and they age well with their characters in a way that stays quite believable the entire time.

James Dean is also great here, but the makeup used to age the very young Dean doesn’t do him justice and in some of the scenes where he is older, the whole thing seems laughable because it just doesn’t work.

This film was nominated for 10 Oscars that year but only won Best Director for George Stevens eventhough it is clearly one of the best films of the year.

As great as this movie is, I’m sure the book it is based on is even better because it gets to really explore the issues and characters on a deeper level than is possible on screen.

Bottom Line – Such an amazing film that uses its epic scale to really show us so much about life on a ranch for a family during the early part of the 20th Century. Amazing cast helps make this story quite impactful whether they are dealing with changing the way Texicans look at the ways a man or a woman runs a ranch to the racial issues of Mexicans living nearby.  Hudson and Taylor are able to play their parts quite well and their characters age realistically during the course of the film. Dean is great at the beginning, but the makeup used for when he gets older just doesn’t work very well eventhough he plays the character quite well. Was nominated for 10 Oscars, but only managed to win Best Director for George Stevens. As great as this movie is, I’m sure the book delves even deeper into the storylines and is even better. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – During this production shoot James Dean appeared in an informal black & white TV commercial in which he responded to questions posed by actor Gig Young. Ironically, Dean was promoting safe driving and informed viewers, “People say racing is dangerous, but I’d rather take my chances on the track any day than on the highway.” Before he left the studio he added one piece of advice: “Drive safely, because the life you save may be mine.” Dean was wearing the very hat and clothing he wore for this movie throughout the commercial. He died a few weeks later in a car crash. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)

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8 thoughts on “90 Days of Oscar Nominees #80 – Giant (1956)

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