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Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 56,838

My Rating

Movie Info

This landmark juvenile-delinquent drama scrupulously follows the classic theatrical disciplines, telling all within a 24-hour period. Teenager Jimmy Stark (James Dean) can't help but get into trouble, a problem that has forced his appearance-conscious parents (Jim Backus and Ann Doran) to move from one town to another. The film's tormented central characters are all introduced during a single night-court session, presided over by well-meaning social worker Ray (Edward Platt). Jimmy, arrested on

PG-13,

Drama, Classics

Jan 22, 2002

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (46) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (2) | DVD (21)

An unmissable film, made with a delirious compassion.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Here is a fairly exciting, suspenseful and provocative, if also occasionally far-fetched, melodrama of unhappy youth on another delinquency kick.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dean's finest film, hardly surprisingly in that Ray was one of the great '50s directors.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like its hero, Rebel Without a Cause desperately wants to say something and doesn't know what it is. If it did know, it would lose its fascination.

January 20, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are some excruciating flashes of accuracy and truth in this film.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An indelible vision of a pretty 1950s America with a searing crack in it.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Looks and sounds so good it makes your heart thump.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Nicholas Ray's 1955 film extends sympathy to all its characters, not just the kids, though the central trio of Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo focus our emotions.

April 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

A mighty, ageless jolt of teen petulance. Dean is supreme.

April 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A superb study of teenage angst that still retains its power despite the number of inferior rip-offs that followed in its wake.

November 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

[VIDEO ESSAY] "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) is a pivotal film for many reasons - each as important as the next.

August 20, 2013 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

1950s James Dean teen-rage landmark still resonates.

June 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

This full-color, widescreen masterpiece gives us remarkable images.

March 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Fine generational drama-tragedy which helped give James Dean movie immortality.

February 22, 2008
Video-Reviewmaster.com

The drama and hepcat dialogue feel clunky now, but the movie's plea for dads to talk to their children -- what we now call emotional literacy -- is valid enough.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK] | Comment (1)
Guardian [UK]

For all its faults this is still the teen angst melodrama to end them all, and Dean's performance established him as an icon, a legend and a myth.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

In this powerful study of juvenile violence, Dean is riveting as a teenager groping for love from a society he finds alien and oppressive.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

If ever a film was haunted, it's "Rebel Without a Cause," which burns as a bright memorial for stars James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo.

June 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Under Ray's dissecting eye, the suburban home itself becomes a battleground where parent and child must scream over each other to be heard

August 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Reverse Shot
Reverse Shot

A fine script, dynamic direction, doomed romantic idealism and telling performances make this the most timeless of Ray's gripping, socially aware dramas.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Rebel shifts with the times

January 9, 2006 Full Review Source: JWR

People like to say that Dean was nothing but a Marlon Brando imitation, but Marlon never looked this young, this perfect.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Audience Reviews for Rebel Without a Cause

Viewer of āRebel without a Causeā?, with a cause. (That should be yourself.)

Full review coming to themoviefreakblog.com on 7/27
July 20, 2013
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

A fantastic film dealing with teenage angst, 'Rebel Without a Cause' is a classic film that finds James Dean in a superbly classic role.
April 13, 2013
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

A film that, in my opinion, has its reputation for a single scene, the one in which Jim Stark (James Dean) pleads with his hen-pecked father, "Stand up for me, Dad." Beautiful colour for its day, and well acted, for the most part, it's undeniably a classic, if unfortunately dated. To Truffaut, American cinema began and ended with Nicholas Ray, but for my money, Truffaut did it better. Kind of like On the Waterfront: subversive and aggressive in its day and a testament to a lot of great talents, but tame by the modern standard. Still, valuable for the way it cracked the veneer on the nuclear family, which was heavily idealized at the time. Watch it as a film history lesson.
August 22, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

So, I finally saw this much beloved and highly regarded film and, you know what? It's overrated. Ans that's a bummer too, since I was really hoping this film truly stood the test of time like I was lead to believe. Don't get me wrong, this is a good film, just not a great one.

Jimmy Stark is the new kid in town, and he's having a hard time fitting in, getting along with his parents, and struggling to find his place in the world. He falls in with some other misfits, but the pains of adolescence don't go away easy, and certainly not without leaving a mark first.

Maybe had I seen this at a young age I'd be more enthusiastic, but seeing it now ,I must say I can't really relate too much anymore. Also, some of this is really dated and on the nose. Maybe it was more relevatory in the 1950s, but seeing it now it almost seems like melodramatic kitsch, and that's not necessarily a good thing either. It's funny, because I'll still defend Catcher in the Rye, but I have a hard time siding with those who call this a stone cold classic.

Sure, James Dean does give one of the best and most iconic performances ever, and Wood, Mineo,Backus, and others all put in some terrific work as well, but this feels so warmed over in light of all that's come out since (and been influenced by it). This shouldn't be the case if it truly was something timeless.

But, despite these issues, it does look good, I wasn't bored, and at least understand why this is so important, even if I don't totally agree with that assessment. I mean, this film did pretty much define the cultural landscape of the American teenager, even if more polished works have come out in its wake.

Yes, it needs to be seen, but don't expect to see something you haven't already seen before. You know what? I just realized something: I think I feel about this film the way that many feel about Citizen Kane. I don't know the significance of that statement, but I feel it needed to be said. Take it easy, everyone.
May 29, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Jim Stark: If I had one day when I didn't have to be all confused and I didn't have to feel that I was ashamed of everything. If I felt that I belonged someplace. You know?
    – Submitted by Mati M (7 months ago)
    1. Jim Stark: I don't know what to do anymore. Except maybe die.
    – Submitted by Mati M (7 months ago)
    1. Jim's father: We'll make a list.
    – Submitted by Don G (15 months ago)
    1. Judy: What kind of a person do you think a girl wants?
    2. Jim Stark: A man.
    3. Judy: But a man who can be gentle and sweet.
    – Submitted by Ursula N (18 months ago)
    1. Jim's father: Watch out about choosing your pals. You know what I mean? Don't let 'em choose you.
    – Submitted by Alejandro O (2 years ago)
    1. Jim Stark: You're tearing me apart!
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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Foreign Titles

  • ? denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun (DE)
  • Rebel Without a Cause (CA)
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