Up 16,851 this week

The James Dean Story (1957)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 365 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 4 critic

This documentary, which was undertaken soon after James Dean's death, looks at Dean's life through the use of still photographs with narration, and interviews with many of the people ... See full summary »


0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 457 titles
created 12 Feb 2012
a list of 46 titles
created 21 Feb 2012
a list of 771 titles
created 13 Apr 2012
a list of 349 titles
created 11 Oct 2012
a list of 276 titles
created 11 Mar 2013

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The James Dean Story (1957)

The James Dean Story (1957) on IMDb 6.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The James Dean Story.





Complete credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself ('East of Eden' screen test footage) (archive footage)


This documentary, which was undertaken soon after James Dean's death, looks at Dean's life through the use of still photographs with narration, and interviews with many of the people involved in his short life. Interviewees include the aunt and uncle who raised him after his mother's death (when James was 9), his fraternal grandparents, a cabdriver friend in New York City, and the owner of his favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. James's father, who was alive when the film was made, does not get a single mention. Written by David Glagovsky <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 December 1957 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The James Dean Story  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$35,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

See  »

Did You Know?


Robert Altman and George W. George (son of Rube Goldberg) set out to document the life of James Dean after learning of his tragic demise in a car crash. The film was released two years after Dean's death. See more »


References The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956) See more »


Let me be loved
Written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston
Performed by Tommy Sands
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The cost/benefit ratio is high
7 February 2010 | by (Boulder, CO) – See all my reviews

If you know anything about James Dean, then this movie will probably not add much to your knowledge. What we see of Dean is mainly through still photographs. Most of these are just portraits that add little to the film, but there is an occasional one that surprises, like a nice one of Dean enjoying himself in a ballet class. The scene of real interest, which is saved for the end, is from a black-and-white audition Dean did for "East of Eden."

The tone of the narration would be appropriate for the biopic of a saint--you are made to think that Dean's early death was some sort of national calamity.

There are several interviews with some of Dean's relatives, friends, and even some restaurant owners and taxi drivers. The depth of the questioning is often inane, such as when the interviewer asks the restaurant owners, "How was his appetite?" We watch as a previous friend rummages through a box of Dean's miscellaneous stuff like phone numbers and a note from his laundry. It seems that everything that Dean touched was sacred. We don't even get any insights from Dean's girlfriend, the one with whom, "for the first time he found the timid belief that life was possible."

The most frustrating thing about this film is the narration's constant speculations about Dean's motivations and thoughts. For example, consider this, "He took his envy to the beach. He looked at the ocean and he was jealous of its power. He envied the gulls for having found each other. He envied them their freedom and their solitary flights. Suddenly he knew that as an actor he could be the ocean and flood everything with his power. As an actor he could be a gull." A good part of the movie is filled with such florid prose that has no basis in fact. Amid all of the speculations there is none about the common one of Dean's being homosexual, or bisexual. He supposedly avoided the draft by registering as a homosexual.

The main question I have always had about Dean is the extent to which he manufactured his own myth of being the sensitive, misunderstood, moody, independent intellectual. This film got me no closer to answering that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Good film, bad DVD. laaksonen-rj
Liz Sheridan? zz_ruthie_zz
Discuss The James Dean Story (1957) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: