Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
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Directed by: Nicholas Ray
Starring: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus
Rebel Without a Cause ranked # 59 on the American Film Institute's Top 100 American Films list.
Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 film which tells the story of a rebellious teenager who comes to a new town, meets a girl, defies his parents and faces the local gang. It sought to portray the existing decay of youth in middle America, critiqued parental style, and exposed the rift that existed between two generations. The title refers to psychiatrist Robert Lindner's 1944 book Rebel Without A Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath.
The film is widely cited as having both described and represented teenaged angst of the early 1950s. It made the game of chicken emblematic of male machismo among American teens of the era and is largely responsible for the perception, widely held at the time, of Southern California as the crucible of youth culture.
Although James Dean had already become a star with the release of East of Eden earlier in the year, Rebel Without a Cause is considered to have conferred on Dean his role as the voice of the generation. The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
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