Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
100 Years of Indiana Film
Starring Hoosier actor James Dean (Fremont, IN)!
James Dean died behind the wheel of a Porsche Spyder less than one month before the release of Rebel Without a Cause in 1955, ensuring that the film would forever come wrapped in a shroud of tragic mystique. But more than just the film that launched its star (and his iconic red jacket) into the pop culture pantheon, Rebel is a deeply affecting exploration of teenage discontent and the power of chosen families.
Dean plays Jim Stark, a sensitive teen with a troubled family life who’s embarking on his first day at an LA high school. Over the course of an eventful day and night, Jim forges a unique bond with two equally disaffected classmates: fey misfit Plato (Sal Mineo) and bad girl Judy (Natalie Wood). Though seemingly very different, the three are thrown together by a series of tragic events and bond over the alienation they feel toward their families and society as a whole. Vividly capturing the rage beneath the picture perfect facade of Eisenhower-era America, Rebel Without a Cause set the gold standard for teen drama, setting a moody template for generations of cinematic loners, outcasts, and rebels.
“A mighty, ageless jolt of teen petulance. Dean is supreme.”
Rebel Without a Cause
James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, & Jim Backus
1 hour 51 minutes