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James Dean: Live Fast, Die Young (1997)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 3 October 1997 (USA)
Casper Van Dien of STARSHIP TROOPERS stars as James Dean, whose remarkable talent and rebel attitude took Hollywood by storm. But as Dean's star begins to rise, his passionate affair with ... See full summary »


(as Mardi Rustam)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Carrie Mitchum ...
Mama Pierangeli
Jane Deacy
Bill Romano
Winton Dean
Janelle Paradee ...
Marisa Pierangeli
Louis D'Alto ...
Vic Damone
Carmen Romano ...
Dan Sefton ...
TV Director
Steve Hughes ...
Gig Young
Robin Joi Brown ...


Casper Van Dien of STARSHIP TROOPERS stars as James Dean, whose remarkable talent and rebel attitude took Hollywood by storm. But as Dean's star begins to rise, his passionate affair with Italian ingénue Pier Angeli (Carrie Mitchum of THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL) angers her disapproving mother (Academy Award nominee Diane Ladd) and studio chief Jack Warner (Mike Connors). How did a broken heart, reckless behavior and his relationships with Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and director George Stevens (the legendary Robert Mitchum in his final screen role) lead to Dean's ultimate race with destiny? Connie Stevens, Joseph Campanella and Casey Kasem co-star in this revealing biopic that goes behind the myth to tell the true story of the superstar who lived fast, died young and left a legacy that changed movies forever. Bonus Features Trailer Deleted scenes English subtitles

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A deserted road. A deadly crash. A legend is born. See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, brief strong language and an accident scene | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

James Dean: Live Fast Die Young  »

Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Robert Mitchum's final acting role. See more »


A poster for True Grit can be seen on the wall outside Jack Warner's office. "True Grit" was released 14 years after James Dean's death and by Paramount, not Warner Brothers. See more »


References Rebel Without a Cause (1955) See more »


Flip Flop
Words and Music by Gordon Waller and Jim Blazer
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User Reviews

Casper's ghost writer sucks
28 October 2006 | by (Central Midwest, USA) – See all my reviews

Hi, Everyone,

Pier Angeli's memory is not tarnished by this soap opera cheeseball of a movie. Everyone else seems to be fair game. Mike Connors is good as Jack Warner but it is not a great enough part for him to be offered a spin off series.

Casper fails to connect as James Dean. His closest portrayal of the 1950s screen legend is when Casper recreates the public service TV spot James Dean did for safe driving. That is done in black and white with someone who does not look, sound or act at all like Gig Young who was the actor in the announcement with James Dean.

Poor, poor casting throughout. The guy who plays Vic Damone is probably more suited for some part in a Hulk Hogan gladiator arena scene than trying to pass himself off as Vic. Vic Damone was a classy singer who happened to fall in love with the same girl James Dean was dating. He was not an ox.

Bob Mitchum does a good job trying to play the part of George Stevens. He was about 80 playing a man about 50. They don't have makeup even in Hollywood that can fix that. Good try. Failed. Next.

Casey Kasem? Yeah. Get me Casey and Connie Stevens. Let's really try to get some names. Is Weird Al available? Connie and Casey try to do their roles, but they have no meat to chew on. The guy who plays Sal Mineo should team up with the Vic Damone guy and apply for that Hulk Hogan epic. Sal he ain't.

The music is so bad it is embarrassing. They try to play songs with words that someone wrote for the scene or the movie. The lyrical content of the songs is clichéd to the utmost. If they wanted words, why not hire Chuck Berry or The Eagles or someone who can write meaningful product. The director should have watched some movies where the music was a part of the film. Movies like A Summer Place, Picnic, Jailhouse Rock, High Noon or the TV series Dragnet.

The writing is trite. The scenes are unbelievable.

OK... one reasonably good scene is where the accident takes place. I have seen photos of the accident. The car that is used as the Turnipseed car seems accurate. I give the accident scene an 8. It could have been a nine if they had not shown Casper in the car. Even as a corpse he fails to capture James Dean's character.

Tom Willett

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