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Tear Jerker / Rebel Without a Cause

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Rebel Without A Cause rightfully earned its reputation as a Genre Turning Point for teen movies ... partially for being incredibly depressing.

  • Just the personal lives of the main three leads in general:
    • Jim may be very aggressive and easy to provoke, but it always results in his mother taking her anger out on him and constantly having to move away, just because she didn't want to deal with his problems. Not to mention his father not being a strong role model and always being pushed around.
    • Judy was a victim of her father suddenly turning hostile towards her daughter and not spending as much time with her as before just because she was growing up and becoming mature and independent.
    • "Plato" probably has the worst case of all considering his wealthy parents has flat out abandoned him, and barely spend time with or even think about their own son. Leaving him in the care of their housemaid.
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  • Plato's death goes beyond tearjerker considering he had a worse life than either of the other two leads, and had mainly been looking up to Jim and Judy.
    • There's also Plato's housemaid who had to personally witness her adoptive son, who she practially grew up with get shot to death right in front of her.
    • Jim tearfully embracing his father as they reconcile.
  • Real-life Example: James Dean died before the film officially hit the theaters, and his co-stars Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo both died at young ages.
    • Dean — Car crash/broken neck.
    • Wood — Drowned
    • Mineo — Stabbed by a muggler

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