Shot in 1951 and adapted from the Tennessee Williams play that captivated Broadway audiences, A Streetcar Named Desire was Hollywood's first film made for adult only audiences. Although the script's references to homosexuality and rape had to be toned down to satisfy the Motion Picture Production Code, the film still managed to shock and amaze, and its raw power can be felt six decades later.
As Blanche DuBois, Vivien Leigh gave an anguished, indelible performance that some critics believe reflected her own bipolar condition; she later had trouble distinguishing herself from the character. And Marlon Brando's sly portrayal of crude, sexy Stanley Kowalski made him the crown prince of his generation of actors and helped to redefine American film artistry.
For a non-mumbling version, take home the 1995 CBS Playhouse 90's version with Alec Baldwin, Jessica Lange, John Goodman and Diane Lane.
Or better yet, drive over to the west side and see a dynamic and intimate live performance, now at Denver's own Germinal Stage through December 4.
In addition, you can read about lots of off-screen drama and gain a complete understanding of the work's influence on American drama and stage in the 2005 book When Blanche Met Brando: The Scandalous Story of "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Sam Staggs.
Here's New York Times movie critic AO Scott on Streetcar: