100 movies: Rebel Without a Cause

comments 23
100 movies of 2012
Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

Rebel Without a CauseRebel Without a Cause 22/06/12)

A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

It’s a little bit tricky watching films from the 1950s. Times are very, very different. Language is different. Those things that were important back then seem trivial now. I always find it a little bit harder to relate and so, get into films from way back when.

Initially I struggled with Rebel Without a Cause. From the beginning with the scene in the police station. Kids being brought in and having good ol’ heart-to-hearts with police officers (Who seem to genuinely care) because they’re having arguments or disagreements with their parents. It’s just not something that seems plausible. These days. (How cynical of me!)

Still, managed to get past this and what felt like some overly dramatic-ness and really got into this film. Three teenagers all struggling with their respective parents, more specifically, fathers. But all coping with it in completely different ways.

It’s hard not to get completely swept away with the oh so very charismatic James Dean. I can completely see how he was one of the biggest heart-throbs of cinema back then! James Dean makes you sympathise with Jim Stark. Out of all the problem teenagers in this film, his was the only one I felt any sympathy for. Despite the fact that his only real problem with his father being that he as just a whipped husband who had no spine. I guess back then having fathers who you could look up to was incredibly important for children. And having a father like that, not so great.

Of course, one of my favourite scenes from this film is mini race on the bluffs. Nice bit of drama. Some beautiful cars. Nicely done. Also, this film looked pretty damn good in HD on my TV. I was surprised. Fully expected to see a bit of a grainy mess.

Can definitely see why this is a favourite classic film.

(This marks another film down on my epic list of film recommendations.)

Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

49 Films so far this year

  1. The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
  3. World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
  4. Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
  5. Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
  6. The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
  7. Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
  8. The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
  9. Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
  10. Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
  11. Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
  12. Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
  13. This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
  14. The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
  15. Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
  16. Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
  17. Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
  18. The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
  19. The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
  20. Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
  21. Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
  22. Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
  23. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
  24. The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
  25. The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)
  26. Headhunters 4/5 (07/04/12)
  27. Super 1/5 (07/04/12)
  28. The Cabin in the Woods 5/5 (13/04/12)
  29. Watchmen 4/5 (14/04/12)
  30. The Hurt Locker 3/5 (21/04/12)
  31. Avengers Assemble 5/5 (26/04/12)
  32. 22 Bullets 2/5 (28/04/12)
  33. Bad Teacher 1/5 (29/04/12)
  34. Red Riding Hood 1/5 (04/05/12)
  35. A Perfect Getaway 4/5 (05/05/12)
  36. Ca$h 1/5 (13/05/12)
  37. Kung Fu Panda 2 3/5 (14/05/12)
  38. Everything Must Go 2/5 (24/05/12)
  39. New York, I Love You 2/5 (25/05/12)
  40. Beginners 4/5 (26/05/12)
  41. Prometheus 4/5 (03/06/12)
  42. The Tree of Life 2/5 (04/06/12)
  43. The Lovely Bones 3/5 (05/06/12)
  44. Snow White and the Huntsman 3/5 (06/06/12)
  45. The Devil’s Backbone 4/5 (07/06/12)
  46. Britain in a Day 5/5 (11/06/12)
  47. The French Connection 4/5 (15/06/12)
  48. Insomnia 3/5 (16/06/12)
  49. Rebel Without a Cause 4/5 (22/06/12)


  1. “You’re tearing me apart!” is one of the few things I still remember about this movie, guess it’s time to watch this again.

  2. This is still on my own “need to see” list, but I’m glad to hear it holds up pretty well. I haven’t had a chance to check out any of Dean’s work myself.

  3. Great film.

    The main thing I took away from it is never, ever wear a leather jacket if attempting to race towards a cliff edge, it won’t be the fall and fiery explosion that kills you, it will be the jacket, I don’t care how cool you are and what cause you don’t have!

    Oh and please don’t forget it’s the first film role of a freakishly young Dennis Hopper.
    The guy was in more classic films than I care to mention and had so many unforgettable roles such as, King Koopa, Lieutenant ‘Lefty’ Enright and the bad guy from Waterworld!

    R.I.P legend.

    • I was surprised when I was reading through the credits on IMDB to see Dennis Hopper’s name in there! There was another Hopper too – William Hopper, who played Judy’s father – wondering if there’s a relation there?

      Yes, leather jackets are going in there with capes. Not to be worn!

      • After IMDBing William Hopper I found out he was a frogman in WWII and yet managed to be in like 80+ movies between 1939 and 1945. A busy guy for sure, but no mention of his illegitimate son Dennis.

        He died in 1970, no doubt wearing a leather jacket.

  4. Had to analyse a scene of this shot by shot when I first got to uni. Still a pleasure to watch. Dean is pretty damn magnetic.

    • Dean is fantastic to watch. I want to see if I can go and find some of his other films now because I enjoyed his performance here so much.

  5. Awesome. I haven’t watch this movie, so I totally understand your first statement about the reliability. that’s how I feel about Casablanca. Although, it’s a great movie…great love story, but it’s hard to relate, in my opinion.

    Anyway, maybe I’ll watch it. I don’t know if my movie ADD will let me. LOL

    • Hehe. I think you’ll be able to get through the first 20 minutes and WANT to watch the rest. I’m sure!

  6. I still need to see this one myself. I had heard from others that this hasn’t held up particularly well over the years, but I am glad that you enjoyed it. Will have to check it out sometime soon.

    • I think the thing with this film is that it is very of its time. From the pressures that the kids are feeling to how they relate to their parents. It’s not at all like things are now. But as long as you can accept that and get into the film, I’m sure you’ll get something out of it.

  7. Kind of like Beverly Hills 90210 for the 50s. Heck there’s even an episode from’92 called Rebel with a Cause ( :

  8. What an interesting choice for a review Jaina! I’m familiar with James Dean, but I hadn’t considered watching “Rebel With a Cause”. But I am with you on the dialogue in the films from that era; it’ll just leave you with a confused expression on your face. Though I’m sure the same will eventually be said for our films years from now.

    • I’m actually wondering which film of his I should watch next, because I definitely want to see more of him. Any recs?

      The dialogue is so of its time. But yep, in 30 years, people will be saying the same thing about now.

      • There really isn’t that many JD films I can recommend as he only starred in three, one of which you have already seen!

        You should definitely check out ‘East of Eden’ Deano’s first staring role as ‘the wildest boy you have ever met’ Cal Trask, he plays a similar character to that in ‘Rebel without a Cause’, kind of an angsty outsider loner misfit.

        The one after RWAC was his final film ‘Giant’, it is good, but kind of a stodgy old school epic with added Dennis Hopper. If you like Dean watch it, but if you are just curious skip it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.