A REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE- movie review by Brandon G.


This cult classic film starring James Dean and Natalie Wood, was written and directed by Nicholas Ray.  After its release in 1955, this emotionally charged and captivating film became an instant classic.  The film made a statement about the moral decaying of American youth and the great gap between generations in the 1950’s.  It was deemed as “culturally, historically, or asthetically significant.” by Congress’s National Film Registry.

            James “Jim” Stark (James Dean) never quite fit in anywhere.  He didn’t understand his parents, and they misunderstood him.  He was somewhat of an outcast at school, fighting with the local bullies and eventually getting into an unfortunate mishap in which another young man, Buzz, is killed.  James dealt with a great deal of internal conflict after this ordeal.  He argued with his parents about what was the right thing to do; whether to tell the police or keep it a secret for the rest of his life.  Jim was distraught that his father would not stand up for himself or give him proper advice.   “What do you do when you have to be a man”, he wondered.  James was looking for somewhere to fit in, and in the end he finally finds that with Judy, whom he falls in love with.  Both Judy and James had issues with their parents, underlining the main theme of the film.

            This film is an absolute classic.  From the opening scene with James Dean’s character lying on the ground after a night of heavy drinking, you can tell that you’re in for a wild ride. There are moments in the film that are riveting, and other moments where the story seems to fizzle.   There is no question that the driving force behind the film’s popularity and ultimately its longevity are the outstanding performances of Dean, Wood and Mineo.  Personally, one of the most remarkable aspects of watching this film was that I was able to relate to some of the material in this fifty-four year old film.    The story line, coupled with strong performances by the actors have given this film validity, and allowed it to stand the test of time.


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