Rebel Without a Cause
released October 26, 1955
Damn Kids today
Adults have questioned the behavior of teenagers as long as both groups have faced each other--forever. "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC).
Rebel Without a Cause
Warner Brothers released Rebel Without a Cause on October 26, 1955. It is considered by many to be the teenage movie of all time. In its review, the NY Times stated: It is a violent, brutal, and disturbing picture of modern teen-agers.... Young people neglected by their parents or given no understanding and moral support by fathers and mothers who are themselves unable to achieve balance and security in their home...It is a picture to make the hair stand on end. (NYT review) The title was adopted from psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner's 1944 book, Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath.
In any case…
Whether or not Rebel Without a Cause is the best movie ever of its genre is unimportant. Each generation has its movie milepost to point to. What is important is that in it we can see the universal conflicts between adults and their values and teenagers and their values; between teenagers own conflicting values; between society's desire to mold its young members into a satisfactory reflection of its values and those same young members desire to see things differently, do things another way, and do things better
Boy meets girl. Girl laughs at boy. Boy chases girl. Girl turns and smiles. Love. Confusion. Arguments. Fights. Anomie. Certainly a film to watch again or to watch for the first time.
Peter the Hermit in A.D. 1274
"The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress."
In 1990, Rebel Without a Cause was added to Library of Congress's National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant." It was the only film that James Dean had top billing, but he died in a car crash before the film's release.
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