They just don't make teenage movies like "Rebel Without a Cause" these days, now, do they?
Every generation has its definitive teen movie, and for the ’50s it was “Rebel Without a Cause.” Directed by Nicholas Ray, it starred James Dean in his most iconic role as Jim Stark, Sal Mineo as his friend Plato, and Natalie Wood as his love interest Judy. It was one of the three films that Dean has ever starred in, released just a few weeks after his death in October 1955.
When you come to think of it, the story presented in “Rebel Without a Cause” seems typical in today’s cinema. There’s this rebellious kid who defies his parents “who just don’t understand” him and picks fights with bullies, an attitude that seemed to be brought upon largely by his personal feelings and frustrations towards his family life. It’s been said that the teenagers of this era found themselves identifying with the characters in “Rebel Without a Cause,” and I guess it’s easy to understand why. It’s a Hollywood movie with slightly exaggerated portrayals, sure, but insightful nonetheless. It made me realize that although today we might not have chickie runs or switchblade- and gun-wielding youngsters anymore, at the very core of it teenagers of then and now practically share the same sentiments that Jim and the other kids had. In short, “Rebel Without a Cause” is timeless, a movie that didn’t just depict rebellious kids but also explored the factors that made them the way they are.
Aside from its tragic story of adolescent angst, “Rebel Without a Cause” is widely remembered for Dean’s unique performance (which, unfortunately, wasn’t recognized by any award-giving body). Numerous references to the film and all that’s related to it have been made time and again, among the oft-quoted ones coming from an early scene in the film in which Jim was at the police station as seen in the video above. “Rebel Without a Cause” is most certainly an important, powerful film that deserves to be seen at least once.
To get you started, here’s the movie trailer:
Like this article? Check out our articles from the Friday Movie Flashback series in the Lomography magazine!
Related articles: Midweek Movies: Rebel Without A Cause and Friday Movie Flashback: Five Films about High School