Critic Reviews



Based on 14 critic reviews provided by
A milestone in the creation of new idea about young people.
The red-jacketed, Method-pouting James Dean steals every scene, but the ensemble playing is nothing short of exemplary.
Where the attitudes of "East of Eden" are hopelessly dated and broad, the poetic longing for connection in Rebel Without a Cause will always feel timeless.
What makes the film so powerful is both the sympathy it extends towards all the characters (including the seemingly callous parents) and the precise expressionism of Ray's direction. His use of light, space and motion is continually at the service of the characters' emotions, while the trio that Dean, Wood and Mineo form as a refuge from society is explicitly depicted as an 'alternative family'. Still the best of the youth movies.
It contains some extraordinarily good acting by the late James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo (who is coming up fast and reveals himself to be a real trouper in this one). The direction by Nicholas Ray is outstanding...This is a superficial treatment of a vital problem that has been staged brilliantly.
Here is a fairly exciting, suspenseful and provocative, if also occasionally far-fetched, melodrama of unhappy youth on another delinquency kick.
There is some stuffy, faintly reactionary stuff in this famed 1955 teen drama, but James Dean is truly extraordinary, and it has some brilliant scenes
The strong implication of this picture is that the real delinquency is not juvenile but parental. The point may be obvious and only a part of the problem, but it is well worth propounding. The best thing about the film, in any case, is James Dean, the gifted actor who made his movie start in East of Eden, and was killed last month at 24 in an automobile accident. In this, the second of his three movie roles—Giant will probably be released next year—there is further evidence that Actor Dean was a player of unusual sensibility and charm.
The crack in the pretty picture of America goes a lot deeper than we thought, thanks to Ray's brooding vision.
There are some excruciating flashes of accuracy and truth in this film...However, we do wish the young actors, including Mr. Dean, had not been so intent on imitating Marlon Brando in varying degrees. The tendency, possibly typical of the behavior of certain youths, may therefore be a subtle commentary but it grows monotonous.

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