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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
3,588 ( 67)
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:

HE STOOD AT THE DOOR - AFRAID TO GO IN - AFRAID TO FIND OUT WHAT HIS MOTHER REALLY WAS... (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:

Rebelde sin causa 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

In the police station scene, while the adults are talking to the cop, Jim keeps whistling Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries", a classical piece known to audiences because of its memorable use in Apocalypse Now (1979). Dennis Hopper appears in both films. See more »

Goofs

Jimmy puts his left hand through the window, but it's a right hand that turns the radio knob. 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 »


Soundtracks

Ride of the Valkyries
(1856) (uncredited)
from "Die Walküre"
Music by Richard Wagner
Hummed by Jim in the police station
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
James Dean Cult-Classic about "misunderstood" teens in 1950s
23 May 2005 | by mdm-11See all my reviews

Brilliant cast of well-known Hollywood icons in hard-hitting treatment of story that focuses on the hopelessness exhibited by many middle-class teenagers who were too young to recall the pains of WWII, but saw daily reminders of the threat of "the bomb", as well as inequities around them.

James Dean stands out as the troubled kid whose parents keep "moving" to escape their community's effects of their son's strange behavior. Equally great are the performances of Natalie Wood as a "wanna-be-bad-girl" who is hurt by her parents' implications that she is a "tramp"; and the child-like Sal Mineo, who lives in a mansion with a maid, but feels the pains of neglect from never-present parents.

The trio first meet at a police station, where they all see a well-meaning officer who is genuinely interested in getting these troubled kids back on the right track rather than throwing the book at them. He does seem to reach James Dean, who seeks help after getting into more trouble.

The relationship between the James Dean character and that of Sal Mineo is somewhat elusive. At times a more than friendly association is suggested, then the appearance of Natalie Wood makes it look like an odd threesome. 1950s America was definitely unprepared for any "spelling out" of suggested terms, so for nearly 50 years now anyone's guess as to what was going on here is as good as the next.

The supporting cast include Jim Backus as James Dean's well-to-do yet wimpish and henpecked father as well as a young Dennis Hopper as a member of a greaser gang. The parade of big name stars in itself is eye-candy of the highest caliber! References to scientific findings are still awe-inspiring today. Showing young college students' reactions to film footage during a lecture shows that humans can't fully grasp the insignificance of earthly life compared to the vastness of the universe. Carefully watch the final scene as the end credits are shown, when this "point" is driven home.

Rebel Without A Cause is one of the great classics with a sociological impact that has seldom been reached by any film, and likely never surpassed. This film is a ceaseless source of discussions. I recommend this film also for high school History, Sociology or Language Arts classes.


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