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Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

PG-13 | | Drama | 29 October 1955 (USA)
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A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

Stewart Stern (screen play), Irving Shulman (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,481 ( 52)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Dean ... Jim Stark
Natalie Wood ... Judy
Sal Mineo ... John 'Plato' Crawford
Jim Backus ... Frank Stark
Ann Doran ... Mrs. Carol Stark
Corey Allen ... Buzz Gunderson
William Hopper ... Judy's Father
Rochelle Hudson ... Judy's Mother
Dennis Hopper ... Goon
Edward Platt ... Ray Fremick
Steffi Sidney Steffi Sidney ... Mil
Marietta Canty ... Crawford Family Maid
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. Stark - Jim's Grandmother
Beverly Long Beverly Long ... Helen
Ian Wolfe ... 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:

THE NEW HIT - THE BIGGEST HIT - FROM THE ACADEMY AWARD DIRECTOR OF "ON THE WATERFRONT" ELIA KAZAN (Australian daybill) See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rebel Without a Cause See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (magnetic prints)| Dolby Digital (DVD version)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Dean got angry when Nicholas Ray stopped the knife fight scene after noticing that Dean had been cut on the ear and was bleeding. Dean said, "Don't you ever cut a scene while I'm having a real moment." See more »

Goofs

After Buzz has fallen off the cliff and Jim returns home, the left shoulder of his jacket is dirty. When he lays on the couch it is clean again. As he is arguing with his parents on the steps, when he faces his father, the jacket has the dirt on it, when he turns to face his mother, the jacket is clean again. 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 »

Alternate Versions

To receive a UK cinema certificate the film was extensively cut by the BBFC. The entire knife fight scene between Jim & Buzz was removed, and heavy edits were made to the chicken race scene, shots of Jim attempting to throttle his father, and the fight between Jim and probation officer Fremick. Although the distributors initially wanted an 'A' certificate they were told that further cuts would have to be made, so the above print was released as an 'X'. All later UK releases were fully uncut and since 1986 the film has been PG rated. See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Tom Cruise: The Star Next Door (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll String Along with You
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on the car radio when Jim pulls up to Judy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"You're tearing me apart!"
30 May 2009 | by sme_no_densetsuSee all my reviews

Like any film that strives to be current, "Rebel Without a Cause" has inevitably become dated since its release over fifty years ago. Therefore, you have to make allowances for this and take it in the context of its time. Those willing to do so will recognize the film as a substantial offering, especially for a film about young people.

Certain aspects of the plot may be dated but the emotions are timeless. Each of the teens is looking for something different from their parents. Jim is hounded by the question of what it takes to be a man but gets no help from his hen-pecked father. Judy justifiably feels unloved due to her father's suddenly frigid demeanor. Plato, meanwhile, doesn't even have his parents around at all, therefore he feels lonely and abandoned. These problems (and a multitude of others) haven't vanished in the time since this film was released.

The direction by Nicholas Ray brings this story to life and shows some interesting touches along the way. The opening credits with Jim drunkenly messing around with a toy monkey is just one memorable scene. The 'chickie run' scene is perhaps the film's most memorable set-piece.

The movie also benefits from a legendary performance from James Dean, who didn't even live long enough to see the film hit theatres. His performance here is angst-ridden and filled with nuance. Perhaps his best scene is the one in which he confronts his parents when he returns from the chicken run. Puzzlingly, though, he never got an Oscar nomination while both Mineo & Wood did. Mineo was certainly deserving but to me Wood's performance was nothing particularly special. Also notable was Jim Backus who turned in a fine performance as Jim's father.

The film contains a wealth of deeper meaning and, depending on who you ask, possibly some taboo-defying sexual undertones. After seeing the film a few times I'm no longer so sure about the supposed homosexual subtext of Jim & Plato's friendship; that may be more of a by-product of their respective issues stemming from missing or ineffective father figures. Judy's relationship to her father is also not without sexual undertones but, again, this may be a by-product of the issue at hand; that is, her father's lack of overt affection as she blossoms into maturity. Regardless of whether or not any of this was the intent of the film-makers they were nevertheless daring to present such provocative material while the production code was still in effect.

All in all, a fine film that is deservedly lauded as a classic decades later. Check it out but be sure to put yourself in a fifties state of mind.


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