Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Without a Cause

4.8 16
Director: Nicholas Ray

Cast: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Corey Allen


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This is the kind of DVD that could help sell thousands of players. Rebel Without a Cause was released in three separate laserdisc editions with varying degrees of technical success, but the film-to-video transfer on the DVD runs circles around them all for quality. The letterboxed image looks clearer than even the restored theatrical print that ran in theaters…  See more details below


This is the kind of DVD that could help sell thousands of players. Rebel Without a Cause was released in three separate laserdisc editions with varying degrees of technical success, but the film-to-video transfer on the DVD runs circles around them all for quality. The letterboxed image looks clearer than even the restored theatrical print that ran in theaters a few years ago; the transfer is so sharp, deep and rich, that this disc begs for showing on a big-screen monitor -- CinemaScope and Warnercolor never looked so good as they do here, and the sound is mastered at a decent volume and displays a rich tone. The surviving technicians should beam with pride over what's been done with their work, which has been broken down into 35 well-chosen chapters. The movie, a groundbreaking work about suburban juvenile delinquency, is almost a cliché today it's so familiar as a work of cinema and a fixture of popular culture. James Dean, who was 24 playing a 17-year-old (thus setting a precedent that Steve McQueen would follow in The Blob), overacts at various points, utilizing his preferred method-acting technique, but the movie holds up better than anyone could reasonably expect 45 years later. Dean, Natalie Wood (in an Oscar-nominated performance), and Sal Mineo portray a trio of teenaged lost souls who find each other, a brief period of happiness, and tragedy in a suburb of Los Angeles. The supporting cast, including veterans like Edward Platt and Jim Backus (in a rare dramatic role) and newcomers like Corey Allen and Dennis Hopper, performs as admirably as the three stars. The quality of the film presentation would be impressive enough, but this DVD is chock full of extras. One of the highlights -- worth the price of the disc, in fact -- is the documentary Rediscovering a Rebel. Utilizing recently uncovered outtakes, including early black-and-white footage of the confrontation at the observatory (later abandoned when the studio switched to color for the film, with Dean wearing glasses, which were dropped from the color reshoot), this featurette greatly broadens viewers' understanding and appreciation for the film and the way it was developed. There is a lost opening scene that explains the presence of the toy monkey in the foreground of the extant opening; the original closing shot of the shutting of the observatory dome, which was dropped; and a screen test in which Dean is seen in the company of Corey Allen and a real L.A. gang member (hired as a technical expert), with whom Allen nearly had a fight. The latter test is not only fascinating to watch for a glimpse of actors stepping out of character, but very helpful for identifying all of the bit players who did not become famous. Sal Mineo's screen test, on a set used in A Streetcar Named Desire, is also fascinating, especially as it is intercut with the scenes from the finished film. The remainder of the supplement includes a somewhat limited selection of bios on Dean, Wood, and Nicholas Ray and a half hour of material from the 1955 television series Warner Bros. Presents, in which actor/host Gig Young tells about the production, the shooting of the knife fight at the Griffith Park Observatory, and also interviews Natalie Wood and producer David Weisbart (both Young and Wood spend too many seconds remarking on the food served on the location shoot). Closer to the reality behind the film's evolution is the segment hooked around a Jim Backus interview, which tells how the script developed; Backus' interview is very entertaining and one of the bright spots in this package. Most viewers will want to dial up the interview with James Dean, which has been shown many times for its irony (he doesn't talk about acting or moviemaking, but gives his admonition to teenagers about safe driving, not too many days before he was killed in a car crash); this segment offers an unexpected bonus -- a fairly involved and largely accurate account of the way the story department at Warner Bros. worked, showcasing the work-in-progress status of several films audiences saw by the millions. The supplementary section also includes the trailers to all three of Dean's Warner Bros. movies. Watching the trailer for Giant, one is struck anew by the movie's sheer scope and depth, and wishes it were available on DVD at this writing. And it's all assembled on one of the most straightforward DVD menus yet found, one that automatically advances step by step as viewers run through the supplementary sections, but also responds to manual selection.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
A clenched fist of teenage alienation and cultural disillusion, Rebel Without a Cause questioned the complacent state of 1950s American society with the subtlety of a blow to the jaw. A truly landmark film, Rebel went where almost no Hollywood film had dared, exposing the anger and discontent beneath the prosperity and confidence of post-war America, picking at family values that dictated that happiness was best found in the nuclear family's well-appointed suburban home. The alienated kids in Rebel were part and parcel of these homes -- angry, wounded animals who rejected the very comforts that were supposed to make America superior to the rest of the world. If the notion that comfortable, middle-class white kids could harbor such feelings of anger and nameless yearning wasn't discomforting enough, even more so was the notion that their parents were ill-equipped to understand or help them. From Plato's neglectful mother and father to Jim's ineffectual parents to Judy's pathologically repressed father, all of the film's parents are seen as people whose conformity to the values of 1950s society masks their own discontent and -- in the case of Judy's father and Plato's parents -- underlying deviance. Thus, the teenagers are not so much the problem themselves as heirs to the problems created by the older and supposedly wiser generation. As the film was defined by the burning performances of its teenage leads, it is sadly ironic that their flames were extinguished before their time, so that Rebel has become as much eulogy as angry declaration. Sal Mineo, sad and touching as the lost boy infatuated with Dean's Jim Stark, was murdered near his Hollywood home, while Natalie Wood, who brought female sexual yearning to the screen in ways that had never before been seen, drowned in a mysterious boating accident. And, of course, Dean, at his most iconic in blue jeans and red jacket, died in a car accident before the film was even released. That Rebel Without a Cause remains a classic is in no small part due to Dean's raw, soulful performance, made more timeless by his mortality. Although the problems of the film's teenagers may seem trifling when compared to those of their modern-day counterparts, Rebel's anger still throbs with conviction, a brooding reminder that, beneath complacency, there is chaos trying to break free.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1; Behind-the-scenes documentary "Rediscovering a Rebel"; Three behind-the-cameras documentaries; Interactive menus; Production notes; Theatrical trailers; Scene access; Languages and subtitles: English and Français

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Dean Jim Stark
Natalie Wood Judy
Corey Allen Buzz Gunderson
Sal Mineo Plato
Dennis Hopper Goon
Jim Backus Jim's father
William Hopper Judy's Father
Rochelle Hudson Judy's Mother
Virginia Brissac Jim's Grandma
Ann Doran Jim's Mother
Marietta Canty Plato's Nurse
Edward Platt Ray
Ian Wolfe Lecturer
Nick Adams Moose
Jack Grinnage Chick
Steffi Sidney Mil
Tom Bernard Harry
Louis Lane Woman Officer
Dick Wessel Guide
Beverly Long Helen
Frank Mazzola Crunch
Robert Foulk Gene
Dorothy Abbott Nurse
Jimmy Baird Beau
Paul Birch Police Chief
Paul Bryar Desk Sergeant
Nelson Leigh Sergeant
David McMahon Crunch's Father
Peter Miller Hoodlum
House Peters Officer
Nicholas Ray Man in last shot
Gus Schilling Attendant
Almira Sessions Old Lady Teacher
Robert B. Williams Moose's Father Ed

Technical Credits
Nicholas Ray Director,Screenwriter
Don Alvarado Asst. Director
Gordon Bau Makeup
Malcolm C. Bert Art Director
Robert Farfan Asst. Director
Ernest Haller Cinematographer
Stan Jones Sound/Sound Designer
Moss Mabry Costumes/Costume Designer
Leonard Rosenman Score Composer
Irving Shulman Screenwriter
Stewart Stern Screenwriter
William Wallace Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
David Weisbart Producer
William H. Ziegler Editor

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Scene Index

Scene Selections
0. Scene Selections
1. Drunken Credits [1:33]
2. Judy's Dad dilemma [3:52]
3. Happy birthday, Plato [4:37]
4. Tearing Jim apart [1:53]
5. A need to belong [6:25]
6. The girl next door [3:27]
7. New school, first day [2:18]
8. Planetarium field trip [4:41]
9. "Let's bring him down" [2:04]
10. Peer and tire pressure [3:00]
11. Knife fight [4:12]
12. Apron-strung [1:46]
13. The age where nothing fits [2:05]
14. No answer now [3:15]
15. Preliminaries with Buzz [4:10]
16. The chickie run [4:08]
17. Home from cliff's edge [4:24]
18. All involved [5:12]
19. "Dad, stand up for me" [3:09]
20. No one to listen [2:06]
21. "Your lips are soft" [4:12]
22. Heartbroken-and armed [1:39]
23. Looking for Jim [2:56]
24. An old deserted mansion [3:46]
25. Happy now [3:49]
26. "Is this what it's like to love somebody?" [2:47]
27. Plato's terror [5:11]
28. Making them family [1:52]
29. Return to the Planetarium [2:03]
30. "I think I know my son" [1:39]
31. When the end will come [2:33]
32. "Friends always keep their promises" [3:39]
33. Plato's death [1:56]
34. "You can depend on me" [1:52]
35. Friends and family [2:23]

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Rebel Without a Cause 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really love James Dean and I think he portrayed his role of Jim in Rebel Without a Cause wonderfully! I think he is a great actor. Besides the fact that I love James Dean, I thought the movie in general was awsome. It really shows that teen angst and juvinile delicuency aren't just found in slum areas but in middle class areas too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rebel Without a Cause is a great movie with even better acting. People can still relate to this movie after 50 years. It is timeless. Unfortunatly the very talented James Dean died just a few years after making this film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was breathtaking. James Dean is awe-inspiring. There has never been another actor who was charismatic, strong, and covered the whole spectrum of human emotion like Jimmy. He deserves to be immortal and will remain that way through his work!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
James Dean was a wonderful actor. His performance was superb, as always. You really feel for Jim Stark. I would recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for an inspiring love story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read these online reviews and am very upset with the people that wrote these reviews. What about Sal Mineo? He was excellent in the movie, and just as talented as James Dean and maybe even more so, but one will never know. James Dean only did three movies, and Sal Mineo did many more than that, so it wouldn't be fair to say whose better and who is not, but SAL MINEO deserves respect for his acting just as much as James Dean does. Hey did you people know that there was a kiss between the two that was part of the movie before it was cut out of the original version? I think that's something for the time that this movie was made. Also, let us not forget the incredible Natalie Wood, what a great actress, and she too did a great performance in this movie. SO before you all talk about James Dean, yes he was great, yes he was sexy, but so was Sal Mineo, and Natalie Wood, well she was breathtaking!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is wonderful! I am 15 years old and I love James dean!!!!!!! I really like this movie because it shows you an inside look of the presures teenagers go through and yet those things don't matter as much when you know your loved. I feel so sad for Plato (Sal Mineo) he is so troubled and unloved if only his parents relized how much he needed them, and the way Jim (James Dean) be-freinds Plato relizing how much he needs a friend and more than that someone to protect him is so sweet. And then you have Judy (Natalie Wood) she feels unloved by her father and misunderstood my her mother. I love how these three characters feed eachother you might say all of them needing to be loved and to love. This movie shows me how lucky I am to have a good family and wonderful friends.