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Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

 -  Drama  -  27 October 1955 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 53,392 users  
Reviews: 266 user | 126 critic

A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

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(screen play), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Rochelle Hudson ...
Judy's Mother
...
Goon
...
Steffi Sidney ...
Mil
Marietta Canty ...
Crawford Family Maid
Virginia Brissac ...
Mrs. Stark - Jim's Grandmother
Beverly Long ...
Helen
...
Dr. Minton
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Storyline

Jim Stark is the new kid in town. He has been in trouble elsewhere; that's why his family has had to move before. Here he hopes to find the love he doesn't get from his middle-class family. Though he finds some of this in his relation with Judy, and a form of it in both Plato's adulation and Ray's real concern for him, Jim must still prove himself to his peers in switchblade knife fights and "chickie" games in which cars race toward a seaside cliff. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Jim Stark... a kid from a 'good' family - what makes him tick... like a bomb? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 October 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rebelde sin causa  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(optical prints)| (RCA Sound Recording) (magnetic prints)| (DVD version)

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was originally to be shot in black and white, and some scenes had already been filmed that way, when the studio decided to switch to color. The official explanation at the time was that Twentieth Century-Fox, which owned the wide-screen CinemaScope process, had ordered that all films shot in the process had to be in color, but some also believe that Warners ordered the switch to head off comparisons with Blackboard Jungle (1955) and because James Dean's increasing popularity gave the film more prestige. See more »

Goofs

When Plato shoots at Jim, Jim's words don't match up with his mouth. And when Jim tackles him a moment later Plato's words don't match up either. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
First police officer: Get up, get up. Mixed up in that beating on 12th street, huh?
Second police officer: No. Plain drunkenness.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rizzoli & Isles: Rebel Without a Pause (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Five O'Clock Whistle
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Gene Irwin and Josef Myrow
Played on the car radio after the dedication
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Don't call me chicken...
17 December 2005 | by (Massachusetts) – See all my reviews

The teenage years are a confusing time for anyone. You start to act different, think different, and realize that you are growing up and there is nothing you can do about it. For Jim Stark this is more than he can handle.

Nicholas Ray's classic Rebel Without a Cause is a look into the life of Jim Stark (James Dean) and his attempt to try and figure out what he wants to do with his life. Should he try to become an adult or should he enjoy what little time he has left and cut loose?

The movie opens with Jim after he has had a few too many drinks. After being taken to the police station his parents are brought in to help find out what he did and why he did it. His parents (Jim Backus and Ann Doran) are torn over what to do with him. The father is understanding but the mother wants him to learn his lesson and make sure it does not happen again. Their fighting is "tearing him apart!".

Also at the station is Judy (Natalie Wood) and John "Plato" Crawford (Sal Mineo). Jim offers his coat to Plato but he refuses. It was just a kind gesture, but given Plato's emotional state, it is a justified response.

The next day is Jim's first day at his new school. He leaves the house in a good mood, telling his parents how this might be it for him. After meeting Judy, who appears to be unfazed by the incident she had in the police station, Jim is off to school where he learns of a field trip for that afternoon to the planetarium.

It is hear where he encounters Buzz, the leader of the "cool" crowd. After slashing Jim's tires, it's "examination time", or a little knife fight. No jabbing, just sticking. Jim almost loses it but keeps his cool. Buzz challenges Jim to a "chicee race" at the bluffs. Jim accepts having no idea what that is.

The events that follow are like a wild goose chase for Jim and his new friends. They go everywhere from the bluffs, to an abandoned mansion, and the planetarium. It's a wonderfully written script using great dialogue between Jim and his parents. The camera work is also a magnificent display, using great angles and unique shots. Ray had the perfect vision of what he wanted his film to look like.

Color is often used to showcase significance or symbolize a certain aspect of the film. Jim's red jacket, Judy's red coat in the beginning, and Buzz and all his cronies where black leather coats.

Dean's performance is remarkable. It is a shame he was only featured in 3 films, none the less, he is one of America's icons. He symbolizes what every guy wants to be. He is not the only good performer. Backus gives a tremendous performance as the father, the understanding, somewhat lenient parent of Jim Stark. Wood and Mineo both received Oscar nominations and both were well deserved.

As mentioned earlier, these are the most confusing years for a teenager. One scene that says it perfectly is after the knife incident when Jim comes home. He walks up the stairs to find what appears to be his mother in an apron cleaning up. It turns out to be his father cleaning up the food he spilled for his wife who is a little under the weather. They both laugh and Jim tells him to leave the food so she can see it. The father doesn't understand and Jim just keeps telling him to. He gets flustered and walks away. He stutters and just can't give a straight answer to his father. This is a perfect comparison to much of Jim's life. He does something but cannot explain it.

Rebel Without a Cause is a classic from the 1950's. A movie that to this day is a perfect example of how each new generation is as rebellious as the one before it.


23 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Recommendations please! kitie7
time to re make 'Rebel Without a Cause' NsomniA
What kind of psychological illness is Plato suffering from? sullenperfume
This movie was kind of prophetic? miss_a_cairrens
James Dean Icon? jacksonl-g
Does Dean Do an Exaggerated Backus Voice? sir-walt
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