Rebel Without a Cause

… denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun
Jim Stark is 17 and at odds with his parents. When the family relocates to Los Angeles, he soon comes to the attention of the police. Seeking acceptance as the new kid in school, and attempting to impress Judy, the girl next door, he accepts a dare to play chicken. The game has fatal consequences for his challenger. With the dead boy’s clique intent on revenge, Jim, Judy, and another classmate take off … The film was released just one month after James Dean’s death, and immortalised the actor, who was 24 years old at the time. The fame as a young idol that his Rebel Without a Cause brought him persists to the present day. In addition, the film sketched a blueprint for teenage movies around the world, defining cinema as part of an international culture of youth. What made it so pioneering was the way it depicted the youthful journey of discovery among a group of peers, and in conscious confrontation with both parents and the authorities such as teachers and the police. Conceived as a commentary on generational conflict and the “teen problem” in the USA, the film invited young people around the world to identify with a rebellious outsider.
by Nicholas Ray
with James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Ann Doran, Corey Allen, William Hopper, Rochelle Hudson, Dennis Hopper, Edward Platt, Steffi Sidney
USA 1955 English 111’ Colour DCP: Warner Bros., Hamburg Rating R12

For the 2023 Retrospective, internationally renowned directors, actors, and screenwriters were asked to select their personal coming-of-age favourites.
Wim Wenders on his selection


  • James Dean
  • Natalie Wood
  • Sal Mineo
  • Jim Backus
  • Ann Doran
  • Corey Allen
  • William Hopper
  • Rochelle Hudson
  • Dennis Hopper
  • Edward Platt
  • Steffi Sidney


Director Nicholas Ray
Screenplay Stewart Stern, Irving Schulmann based on a story by Nicholas Ray
Cinematography Ernest Haller
Editing William H. Ziegler
Music Leonard Rosenman
Sound Stanley Jones
Art Director Malcolm C. Bert
Costumes Moss Mabry
Make-Up Gordon Bau
Producer David Weisbart

Produced by

Warner Bros.

Additional information

DCP: Warner Bros., Hamburg