[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Rebel.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:358:[-Misfit [[TrueCompanions best buddies]], '50s style!-] ]]
->''"You're tearing me ''apart!''"''
-->-- '''Jim Stark'''

Teen drama from TheFifties in which JamesDean, NatalieWood and Sal Mineo deal with {{Angst}}. Notably averts the TeensAreMonsters mindset of the era. The film is directed by Creator/NicholasRay.

Dean is Jim Stark, a TroubledButCute 17-year-old with a messed-up home life. His mother (Ann Doran) prefers to move whenever a problem comes up rather than confront it and his father (Jim Backus) is a HenpeckedHusband who lets her do as she pleases. As a result, the Starks are constantly moving around and have just arrived in UsefulNotes/LosAngeles as the film opens. At his new HighSchool, Jim befriends John "Plato" Crawford (Mineo), an AmbiguouslyGay innocent. Jim immediately finds himself up against Buzz (Corey Allen), the local JerkJock, but takes somewhat more kindly to Buzz's girlfriend Judy (Wood). Needless to say, she later becomes Jim's girlfriend. Most of the movie takes place on a night after a chicken race gone horribly wrong.

There is a "''Rebel Without A Cause'' curse". The film's three main stars (Dean, Wood and Mineo) all met tragic deaths at a young age, Dean before the film even opened.[[note]]They were 24, 43 and 37 years old, respectively, when they met their ends.[[/note]]

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!!Provides Examples Of:

* ActorAllusion: In one scene, Jim Stark mutters at his father (played by Jim Backus) in a Mr. Magoo-like voice. (Backus being, of course, the voice of Magoo.)
** James Dean played Cal [[SignificantAnagram Trask]] in EastOfEden.
* AdultsAreUseless: In some scenes.
* BerserkButton: You shouldn't have called him 'chicken.'
* BuryYourGays: [[spoiler:Being only implied to be gay doesn't protect Plato from this trope.]]
* ChewingTheScenery: "You're tearing me ''apart!''"; "I got the bullets!" Everyone else occasionally chips in as well. Of note is Judy's reaction when [[MundaneMadeAwesome the phone rings]].
* ColorMotif: Red is a reoccuring color throughout the movie. Jim's iconic red jacket and Judy's red lipstick both represent their disconnection with society and lack of strong role models. Theres even a subtle case with Buzz right before the game of chicken that [[spoiler:leads to his death.]] Before they do it, Jim asks Buzz something the lines of "Why are we doing this?" and Buzz, responding with something along the lines of "What else is there to do?" opens his jacket up while shrugging, and you can see the inside is red showing they are NotSoDifferent.
* CoolLoser: ''James Dean'' is a high school outcast.
* CoolPeopleRebelAgainstAuthority: Jim can be counted on to the opposite of anything an adult says. Now, if his putz of a father was strong enough to fend off his wife, his son might be capable of being a respectable member of adult society -- but not in this lifetime.
* CoversAlwaysLie: Jim is portrayed as a violent and menacing, if not downright ''villainous'', figure in the promotional posters, no doubt to capitalize on the fact that AllGirlsWantBadBoys. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. See NiceGuy for more details.
* CymbalBangingMonkey
* TheDanza: James Dean plays James "Jim" Stark.
* DawsonCasting: Mineo and Wood are the right age; Dean is 24 and looks it, enough that his romances with the other two feel a bit {{squick}}y.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Possibly of teen delinquency films of TheFifties.
* {{Delinquents}}
* DownerEnding
** BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Plato is dead but Jim's dad vows to be a stronger dad from now on and Jim's parents seem to be on the road to being better parents.]]
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Jim, Judy, and Plato are all hauled in by the cops at the same time, with their interviews revealing their problems at home.
* GameOfChicken: Between Buzz and Jim. The game (called "chickie run") is to drive towards the edge of a cliff and see who will jump out first.
* HenpeckedHusband: Mr. Frank Stark, Jim's dad.
* HeyItsThatGuy: Keep an eye out for an eighteen-year-old Dennis Hopper.
** And Ray Fremick is [[Series/GetSmart The Chief]].
*** Don't forget Frank Stark is [[Series/GilligansIsland Thurston Howell III]].
* InNameOnly: Has nothing to do with the earlier book ''Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath''.
* KickTheSonOfABitch: The kid that [[spoiler: Plato shoots]] in the mansion. Sure, he was [[spoiler: shot in the chest]]. He was also trying to help corner and possibly kill Plato and/or Jim.
* KnifeFight: One of the earliest depictions, at least in a delinquent youth context.
* LapPillow: Jim and Judy, as seen in the above screenshot.
* MenDontCry: Averted in the ending.
* NiceGuy: In stark contrast to how to promotions made him out to be, Jim is a decent, gentle, sensitive and kindhearted boy who unhesitatingly befriends and stands up for the meek Plato on his first day of school, takes care of people who have shown him kindness, and has enough of a conscience left that he practically leapt to take responsibility for the death of his drag-race opponent... though still narcissistic enough to expect to cut to the front of the line at the precinct.
* NobodyCallsMeChicken
* NoNameGiven: Judy's last name is not revealed.
* ParentalIncest: It's hinted that Judy's father might have a suppressed attraction for her. He refuses to show affection for her, stating that she's "getting too old for that kind of stuff", and when she kisses him, he slaps her.
* PlayingAgainstType: Jim Backus.
* PopTheTires: This happens to the main characters' car, and is done with a knife.
* PrettyInMink
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Ray Fremick, whose first name is the last name of the film's director, Nicholas Ray. Coincidence? You decide.
* RebelRelaxation: TropeNamer.
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: Plato and Jim.
* ShootTheDog: In his first appearance, Plato is at the police station for literally shooting puppies.
* SleepingSingle: Judy's parents, as you can see [[http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_v27hJrrgr_A/SOa74n_q6sI/AAAAAAAAUO4/G4gUZsiSrd4/s1600-h/T-226553.jpg here]].
* SuicideByCop: [[spoiler:Plato]]
* TeensAreMonsters: But only because there are no adults to properly guide them.
* TenderTears: Jim weeping [[spoiler: for the death of Plato.]]
* TokenTrio: The three leads.
* TrueCompanions: Jim, Judy and Plato, as seen in the above screen shot.
* UnbuiltTrope: This film was critical of the TeensAreMonsters trope right as it took form in TheFifties.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: ''Rebel'' was supposed to be black & white. The decision to shoot the film in color meant less pay for extras which is why there were few extras in the knife fight scene.
** MarlonBrando did a screen test for the part of Jim in the 1940s. The script was later rewritten and Brando was not offered the part, with JamesDean cast instead.
* WordOfGay: Plato is supposed to be gay, but the censors at the time wouldn't let them say it, so it's only implied.
* YouthIsWastedOnTheDumb
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