Life Begins at 17

Life Begins at 17 is a 1958 American film starring Dorothy Johnson, Mark Damon, Edd Byrnes and Luana Anders.[1]

Life Begins at 17
Elaine Peck (Dorothy Johnson) and boyfriend Jim Parker (Edd Byrnes)
Directed byArthur Dreifuss[1]
Produced bySam Katzman
Written byRichard Baer[2]
StarringMark Damon
Dorothy Johnson
Luana Anders
Edd Byrnes
CinematographyFred Jackman, Jr.
Edited bySaul A. Goodkind
Release date
July 1958
Running time
74 minutes


Carol Peck, a 17-year-old from Indiana, has an older sister, Elaine, who is a beauty queen. Carol wins a local pageant, to the delight of her parents Virginia and Harry and her dependable, mild-mannered boyfriend, Jim.

A smug, prep-school boy, Russ Lippincott, openly declares during the beauty contest his intention to date the winner. Elaine is intrigued, but declines. Russ is determined to make a conquest, so he uses her little sister Carol, pretending to be interested in her instead. Elaine wins the title of Miss Indianapolis, then takes up with Russ, insisting he tell Carol the truth.

A misunderstanding leads to a false assumption that Russ and Carol have been intimate, compounded by a broken-hearted Carol claiming she is pregnant. Russ is threatened with expulsion from school and possible arrest for sex with a minor. When she confesses her lie, Carol wins newfound respect from Russ, who becomes genuinely interested in her while Elaine returns to Jim.



It was known as The Teenage Story during production.[3]


  1. "Life Begins at 17". British Film Institute. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  2. "Writer Richard Baer dies at 79". Variety. February 25, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  3. Scheuer, P. K. (1958, Jan 28). Brazzi wins deborah kerr. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from

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