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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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


Robert Mitchum's final acting role. See more »


"Elia Kazan" tells "Jack Warner" that Dean has just won a Tony Award. Dean had won a Theatre World Award, not a Tony. See more »


References Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) See more »


Rebel Rider
Words and Music by Gordon Waller
See more »

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User Reviews

The low budget and lack of originality keep this from being anything of value
1 December 2010 | by (Oz) – See all my reviews

Being a fan of James Dean and his films I jumped at the chance to see this film. I was aware going in that it had a low budget and mostly unknown cast. But I thought the allure of Dean and the era of film making would be interesting enough to not require expensive sets or name actors. Long story short, I was wrong. Sometimes the most important part missing is a lack of capable direction.

Casper Van Dien does what he can with a badly written script. No set pieces are explored anything further than a two shot exchange. The scene where Van Dien playing 'Dean' meets with the leader of a local gang is an example. What could have been an interesting look at Dean's preparation for his role in Rebel Without A Cause becomes a clumsy exchange between the two actors. The dialogue feels awkward and unrehearsed.

All supporting actors bring nothing to their roles. Diane Ladd uses every Italian cliché she can think of. Carrie Mitchum as Pier Angeli is tolerable but forgettable. And sadly this is Robert Mitchum's final role playing Giant director George Stevens.

One thing that really annoyed me was the lack of accuracy regarding the clothing. Aside from looking at a distance like the 50's, up close it didn't hold up to closer viewing. Van Dien could have been playing any L.A. 20 something in dressed down clothes. His attire was just cheap, generic clothing cobbled together to look simple. Only "Rebel's" red windbreaker was replicated for the movie.

On a positive note Casper Van Dien did an excellent job replicating a now infamous Dean clip warning drivers about the dangers of speeding. It's possibly the best scene in the film. It was the first time I was able to literally sit up take notice of Van Dien's acting. I wonder what preparation he did for the role. And secondly the final scene is very well shot. I wouldn't be surprised if that's where a lot of the planning and budget went. It was well directed, acted and shot.

All in all though this film still only gets a 3.3/10. You're better off watching "James Dean" with James Franco. A far better telling of Dean's life and legacy.

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