“Rebel Without A Cause”: 64 Years Later

A look into how "Rebel Without A Cause" relates to today's teens.


James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause

Grace Clay, Editor

In 1955, one of the most iconic movies of all time made its debut in theaters. It is the original teen movie, with the original teen icon. This movie is called “Rebel Without A Cause.” I believe “Rebel Without A Cause” still relates to teenagers today. 

I’ll start out with a basic explanation of the plot, so it’s easier to understand what I’m talking about in relation to today’s teenagers. In the beginning of this film, Jim Stark (played by the original teen heartthrob, James Dean) is drunk in a police station. Some other characters are also in the station, Judy (played by the woman who passed of mysterious circumstances, Natalie Wood), and Plato (played by the murdered Sal Mineo). Judy was there because she ran away from home because she believes her father doesn’t love her anymore, and Plato was there because he felt the need to shoot puppies in his free time. When Jim starts at his new school, it’s the day of a planetarium trip. At the planetarium, Jim makes a joke and this guy named Buzz Gunderson. Buzz decides that it wasn’t cool to make the joke Jim made, and gets his friends to go after Jim. They slash one of Jim’s tires, then they decide a sort of chicken race was the way to settle the dispute.

Long story short, Buzz dies and everyone flips out.

Jim’s parents don’t want him to tell the police what happened, and no one wants to do anything about it. Then, he spends the entire night running around trying to avoid the other kids in the gang-like group of friends Buzz was a part of along with Judy, and eventually Plato. They’re found by the apparent gang members, and chased all around the abandoned house they had found to stay at. After that, Plato takes out the gun he brought from his house and he lets off a few shots. Everyone runs, and Plato ends up being shot.

This movie relates to this generation because of all the violence that is occurring within the movie. There is a large amount of violence occurring in the world today, although according to The American Prospect, the crime rates have only increased with the population increase, and that, proportionately, the crime rate has been fairly steady. This movie also relates to the teenager’s want to be loved by their parents. Judy had issues with her father because she felt like her father didn’t love her anymore. She felt like this because he refused to let her show him affection. It also helps showcase some mental illnesses teenagers deal with, although they were not quite as educated on the subject as we are now. 

I just found out that James Dean died on Sept. 30, 1955 so I guess this is a day late remembrance of his tragic, early passing.