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 <email@example.com>
I had high expectations for this "classic" and was sorely disappointed. The good: Nice to see some not-over-the-top fight/scuffle scenes (in today's movies the fight scenes usually involve each participant receiving at least a dozen lethal blows). Nice to see some familiar faces (Maria, Thurston Howell, The Chief) in their (relative) youth.
These tiny saving graces are greatly overwhelmed by the bad: Ridiculous, unconvincing plot. Bad dialog. Caricaturesque characters. I can forgive the movie for not having stood the test of time (few movies from the 50s do), but hard to believe it was even considered a good movie at the time. I can only attribute the stratospheric stature of the film to the untimely death of James Dean. Purple Haze would have been a great song had Hendrix not died... but Rebel Without A Cause would be as forgotten as Curtain Call at Cactus Creek had James Dean lived to be 90. Or maybe even 30.
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