[[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]]

!!Provides Examples Of:

* 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: Jim. "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 do 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.
* CosmicHorror: The Planetarium sequence is entirely filled with this. The light show and cold scientist voice assures the young audience that the universe is vast and empty and human lives and civilization is meaningless in the long run.
--> '''Plato''': Tell me Jim, will the end of the world come at night time?
--> '''Jim Stark''': No, at dawn.
* 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
* {{Deconstruction}}: Possibly of teen delinquency films of TheFifties and also the generation gap between the "Greatest Generation" and the "Baby Boom" though neither of the terms existed at the time. Showing that children who live under the shadow of the atomic bomb and a formless universe and the lack of a great cause to fight war, no longer quite connect to their parents generation. (Though really Jim's generation should be the "Silent Generation", who experienced WWII in childhood.)
* {{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.]]
* DysfunctionJunction: American families are dysfunctional, teenage gangs are dysfunctional and the alternative idea of community of friends where Jim, Judy and Plato briefly engage for a few hours falls apart in confusion and mayhem because HumansAreFlawed. ''Rebel Without A Cause'' anticipated both TheSixties and the end of the sixties.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Jim, Judy, and Plato are all hauled in by the cops at the same time, with their interviews revealing their problems at home.
* {{Existentialism}}: ''Rebel'' was one of the few mainstream American films to explore this concept. The Planetarium sequence entirely revolves around this. The universe is [[CosmicHorrorStory vast and empty, Earth is just a tiny part of this unfathomable vastness and if and when the world ends, it will not be missed in the wider cosmos]], AdultsAreUseless and children more or less have to turn to each other to form their own community, first in self-destructive gang fights, and later a community of friends that still end up falling apart because of their own confusion and jealousy.
--> '''Jim Stark''': If only I had one day in my life where I didn't feel confused, where I felt like I belonged.
* 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.
* InNameOnly: Other than the title, the film nothing to do with the 1944 nonfiction book ''Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath''. The producers liked the title and took nothing else.
* 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: Between Buzz amd Jim. 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.
* ParentalAbandonment: Plato's father left when he was still an infant, and his mother is always going on out-of-town trips, leaving him in a [[{{Mammy}} black housekeeper]]'s care.
* ParentalIncest: Subverted with Judy and her father, in that the attempts to deny even the appearance of incest destroy the normal expressions of affection. He refuses to show affection for Judy, stating that she's "getting too old for that kind of stuff", and when she kisses him, he slaps her.
* PopTheTires: Buzz does it to Jim' car with a knife to provoke Jim. This eventually leads to a KnifeFight.
* PrettyInMink: Jim's mother and grandmother wear mink wraps.
* 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. Or as the film shows, the teenagers have unrealistic expectations about their parents which they cannot really fulfill and the parents are forced to embody that unrealistic concept because of the generation gap. It's about people realizing that HumansAreFlawed.
* 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. It's also a good deal more serious than the teenage movies that followed.
* WorthyOpponent: Deliberately parodied in this legendary exchange between Buzz and Jim:
--> '''Buzz''': I like you.
--> '''Jim''': Then [[LampshadeHanging why are we]] doing this?
--> '''Buzz''': You've got to do ''[[ForTheLulz some]]''[[ForTheLulz thing]].
* YouthIsWastedOnTheDumb