Rebel Without a Cause

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Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 film about a rebellious young man with a troubled past who comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

Directed by Nicholas Ray. Written by Stewart Stern.
Teenage terror torn from today's headlines. taglines
Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.

Jim Stark

  • Dad, I said it was a matter of honor, remember? They called me chicken. You know, chicken? I had to go because if I didn't I'd never be able to face those kids again. I got in one of those cars, and Buzz, that - Buzz, one of those kids - he got in the other car, and we had to drive fast and then jump, see, before the car came to the end of the bluff, and I got out OK, and Buzz didn't and, uh, killed him...I can't - I can't keep it to myself anymore.
  • You can trust me, Judy.
  • No, don't turn on the lights. Don't. It's too bright. Plato doesn't... Turn out the lights! I've got the bullets! Look!
  • [to his parents] This is Judy. She's my friend
  • I never thought I'd live to see eighteen. Isn't that dumb? Every day I look in the mirror and say "What? You still here?"
  • Nobody talks to children. No, they just tell them.
  • If I had one day when I didn't have to be all confused and I didn't have to feel that I was ashamed of everything. If I felt that I belonged someplace. You know?
  • You're tearing me apart!

  • Wanna' see a monkey?

John 'Plato' Crawford

  • [to Jim] Hey, you want to come home with me? I mean there's nobody home at my house and heck, I'm not tired. Are you? See, I don't have too many people I can talk to...If you want to come, we could talk, and in the morning, we could have breakfast like my dad used to. Gee, if only you could have been my dad.
  • Oh, I came here a lot of times before, but I never had fun...'cause I was alone.
  • [to Jim] Why did you run out on me? Why did you leave me alone?...Let go! You're not my father...
  • Jim, do you think the end of the world will come at nighttime?
  • What would he know about 'man alone'?

Frank Stark

  • You knock 'em dead like your old man used to...Watch out about choosing your pals. You know what I mean? Don't let 'em choose you.


Judy: He must hate me.
Ray: What?
Judy: He hates me.
Ray: What makes you think he hates you, Judy?
Judy: I don't think, I know. He looks at me like I was the ugliest thing in the world. He doesn't like my friends. He doesn't like one thing about me. He called me - he called me a dirty tramp, my own father.
Ray: Do you think your father really means that?
Judy: Yes. No. I don't know. I mean, maybe he doesn't mean it, but he acts like he does. We were all together. We were gonna celebrate Easter and we were gonna catch a double bill. Big deal! So I put on my new dress and I came out, and he grabbed my face and he started rubbing off all the lipstick. I thought he'd rub off my lips. And I ran out of that house. I'll never get close to anybody.

Frank: You see, we just moved here you understand, and uh, the kid hasn't got any friends, you understand, and we moved into a...
Jim: Tell him why we moved here.
Frank: Will you hold it Jim?
Jim: ...Tell the man why we moved here.
Frank: Will you hold it?
Jim: You can't protect me.
Frank: Do you mind if I try? Do - do you have to slam the door in my face? I try to get to him. What happens? [To Jim] Don't I buy everything you want? A bicycle, you get a bicycle, a car.
Jim: You buy me many things.
Frank: Well, not just buy. We give you love and affection, don't we? Well, then, what is it? Was it because we went to that party, well you know what kind of drunken brawls those kind of parties turn into. It's not a place for kids.
Carol: [To Frank] A minute ago you said you didn't care if he drinks.
Mrs.Stark:He said a little drink
Jim: You're tearing me apart!
Carol: What?
Jim: You say one thing, he says another, and everybody changes back again!
Carol: That's a fine way to behave!
Mrs.Stark: Well you know who he takes after.
Jim: ...Awhh!

Jim: They think that they can protect me by moving around all the time.
Ray: You had a good start in the wrong direction back there. Why'd you do it?
Jim: Whaddya mean? Mess a kid up?
Ray: Yeah.
Jim: Called me 'chicken.'
Ray: And your folks didn't understand.
Jim: They never do. They think that I can make friends if we move. Just move - everything will be roses and sunshine.
Ray: But you don't think that's the right solution.
Jim: Aw, she eats him alive and he takes it.
Ray: Things pretty rough for you at home?
Jim: What a zoo!
Ray: What?
Jim: It's a zoo. He always wants to be my pal, you know? But how can I give him anything? If he's, well, I mean I love him and all that type of stuff, and I-I mean, I don't want to hurt him. But then, I don't, I don't, well I don't know what to do anymore, except maybe die...If he had guts to knock Mom cold once, then maybe she'd be happy and then she'd stop pickin' on him, because they make mush out of him! Just mush! I'll tell you one thing, I don't ever want to be like him. How can a guy grow up in a circus like that?...Boy, if, if I had one day when, when I didn't have to be all confused, and didn't have to feel that I was ashamed of everything...If I felt that I belonged someplace, you know, then...

Jim: Hi. Hi. Wait a minute. Hi. I seen you before.
Judy: Well, stop the world.
Jim: You don't have to be unfriendly.
Judy: Well now that's true. But life is crushing in on me.
Jim: Life can be beautiful. I know where it was.
Judy: Where what was?
Jim: Where I first saw ya. Everything going OK now? You live here, don't you?
Judy: Who lives?
Jim: Hey, where's Dawson High?
Judy: At University and 10th.
Jim: Mmm. Thanks.
Judy: You wanna carry my books?
Jim: I got my car. You wanna go with me?
Judy: I go with the kids.
Jim: Yeah, I bet. [the gang drives up] All right.
Judy: You know, I bet you're a real yo-yo.
Jim: [under his breath] I love you too.
Buzz: What's that?
Judy: That's a new disease.

Plato: Hey, you shouldn't monkey with him. He's a wheel.
Jim: Who?
Plato: Buzz. So is she. It's hard to make friends with these guys.
Jim: I don't want to make friends.

[The gang makes clucking sounds at Jim]
Jim: Is that meaning me? Is that meaning me?...Chicken?
Buzz: Yes.
Jim: You shouldn't have called me that. [to Judy] How about you? Huh? Are you always at ringside?...No, I mean what do you hang around such rank company for?
Buzz: What?
Jim: I don't want any trouble.
Gang member: The "blade game" huh, Buzz? [Buzz clicks open his switchblade]
Jim: I thought only punks fought with knives.
Buzz: Well, who's fighting? I'm not fighting. It's examination time, man. It's a crazy game.

Frank: [cleaning a spill, wearing an apron] Shhh. Listen, I'd better, better clean it up before she sees it.
Jim: Let her see it.

Judy: Daddy?...Haven't you forgotten something?
Father: What? [She forces a kiss on him] What's the matter with you? You're getting too old for that kind of stuff, kiddo. You stopped doing that long ago.
Judy: I didn't want to stop. I guess I just don't understand anything.
Father: I'm tired. I'd like to change the subject.
Judy: Why?
Father: I'd just like to, that's all. Girls your age don't do things like that. You need an explanation?...
Judy: Girls don't love their father? Since when? Since I got to be 16?
Father: [after slapping her] Stop that! Sit down!
Judy: May I please be excused?
Father: Hey, hey glamour-puss. I'm sorry. We'll break the date. We'll stay home.
Judy: This isn't my home. [She leaves, slamming the door]
Father: I don't know what to do. All of a sudden, she's, she's a problem.
Mother: She'll outgrow it dear, it's just the age...It's just the age when nothing fits.

Jim: Suppose you had to do something, you had to go someplace and do this thing that was, you knew it was very dangerous, but it was a matter of honor. And you had to prove it. What would you do?
Frank: Is there a trick answer? Jim. Jim, what happened? What kind of trouble are you in?...I wouldn't make a hasty decision. Nobody can make a snap decision. We've got to consider the pros and cons. We'll get some paper and we'll make a list, and if we're still stuck, we'll get advice... Have I ever stopped you from doing anything?
Jim: What can you do when you have to be a man?...Now you give me a direct answer! Are you gonna keep me from going?
Frank: Listen, you're at a wonderful age. In ten years you'll look back on this...and then wish that...
Jim: Ten years. I want it now, I want an answer now. I need one.
Frank: Listen, Jimbo, I'm just trying to show you how foolish you are. When you're older, you'll look back at this, and you'll, well, you'll laugh at yourself, for thinking that this is so important. It's not as if you are alone. This has happened to every boy. It happened to me when I was your age, maybe a year older.

Jim: How did you get here?
Plato: I hitched.
Jim: I'll bet you'd go to a hanging, wouldn't you?
Plato: I guess it's just my morbid personality.

Judy: Is he a friend of yours?
Plato: Yeah, yeah, he's my best friend.
Judy: What's he like?
Plato: Oh, I don't know. You have to get to know him. He doesn't say much but, but when he does, you know he means it. He's sincere.
Judy: Well, that's the main thing...
Plato: Maybe next summer, he's gonna take me hunting with him, and fishing. I want him to teach me how, because I know he won't get mad if I goof. His name's Jim. It's, it's really James, but he likes Jim more. And people he really likes, he lets them call him Jamie.
Judy: Jamie?

Buzz: This is the edge. That's the end.
Jim: Yeah. It certainly is.
Buzz: You know something? I like you. You know that?
Jim: Why do we do this?
Buzz: You got to do something, now don't you?

Frank: Did anyone see you there? Did anyone see your license plate?
Jim: It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter.
Carol: Why should you be the only one involved?
Frank: Far be it from me to tell you what to do...
Carol: Oh, are you going to preach? Do we have to listen to a sermon now?
Frank: Well, I'm only trying to tell him what you mean. You can't be idealistic all your life, Jim.
Jim: Except to yourself.
Frank: Nobody thanks you for sticking your neck out.
Jim: Except - except to yourself.
Frank: Wait a minute.
Jim: Except to yourself.
Jim: But I am involved. We are all involved. Mom, a boy, a kid was killed tonight. I don't see how I can get out of that by pretending that it didn't happen.
Frank: But you know that you did the wrong thing. That's the main thing, isn't it?
Jim: You're not tearing me loose again.
Jim: You are not going to use me as an excuse again.
Carol: I don't.
Jim: Every time you can't face yourself, you blame it on me.
Carol: That is not true!
Jim: You say it's because of me. You say it's because of the neighborhood.
Carol: No!
Jim: You use every other phony excuse. Mom, I, just once, I want to do something right, and I don't want you to run away from me again. Dad?
Frank: This is all going too fast for me.
Jim: You better give me something. You better give me something fast.
Carol: Jimmy, you're very young. A foolish decision now could wreck your whole life. In ten years, you'll never know this even happened.
Jim: Dad, answer her. Tell her. Ten years. Dad, let me hear you answer her. Dad, Dad, stand up for me.

Judy: Hello, Jamie.
Jim: Jamie? Jamie? Where'd you get that? [He smiles and softly laughs] Huh?
Judy: How long have you known Plato?
Jim: This morning.
Judy: They'll be looking for you.
Jim: I didn't chicken. You saw where I jumped. What do I have to do? Kill myself?
Judy: It doesn't matter to them.
Jim: I guess you're still pretty upset, huh?
Judy: I'm just numb.
Jim: You know something? I woke up this morning, you know, and the sun was shining and it was nice and all that type of stuff. And the first thing - I saw you and, uh, I said, 'Boy, this is gonna be one terrific day, so you better live it up, 'cause tomorrow you'll be nothin'.' See? And I almost was.
Judy: I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I treated you mean today. You shouldn't believe what I say when I'm with the rest of the kids. Nobody, nobody acts sincere.
[He kisses her, on the side of her forehead]
Judy: Why did you do that?
Jim: I felt like it.
Judy: Your lips are soft.

Plato: Well, what do you think of my castle?
Jim and Judy: Wow, Shoo, Gee, Wow.
Jim: Well, now, there, then, uh, I think we'll take it for the summer.
Plato: Right this way.
Jim: [to Judy] Oh, uh, uh. Would you like to rent it, or are you more in the mood to buy, dear?
Judy: You decide, darling.
Jim: Oh yes, yes.
Judy: Remember our budget.
Plato: Oh, don't give it a thought. It's, uh, only three million dollars a month.
Jim: What?
Judy: Oh, we can manage that. I'll scrimp and I'll save and I'll work my fingers to the bone.
Jim: You see, we're newlyweds.
Judy: Yes. Oh there's just one thing. What about...
Plato: ...children? Right this way.
Judy: Yes.
Plato: See, we really don't encourage them. They're so noisy and troublesome, don't you agree?
Jim: Eh, drown 'em like puppies, eh.
Plato: [leading them to an empty swimming pool] This is a wonderful arrangement. They can carry on and you'll never even notice.
Jim: Oh, a sunken nursery.
Plato: In fact, if you lock them in, you'll never have to see them again. Much less talk to them.
Judy: Talk to them. Heavens!
Jim: Nobody talks to children.
Judy: No, they just tell them.

Plato: I used to lie in my crib at night and I'd listen to them fight.
Jim: Can you remember back that far? I can't remember what happened yesterday. [He laughs] I can't. How do you do it?
Plato: Oh, I had to go to a head-shrinker. Boy, he made me remember.
Jim: Did he?
Plato: Then my mother said it cost too much so she went to Hawaii instead.
Jim: Well, what's your problem?
Plato: Oh, I don't know. But-but I'm happy now, here. Oh, I wish we could stay here.
Judy: Plato, where's your father now?
Plato: Oh, he's dead. He was a hero in the China Sea.
Jim: You told me he was a big wheel in New York.
Plato: I did? Aw, what's the difference. He might as well be dead anyway.
Judy: It's all right.

Judy: Is this what it's like to love somebody?
Jim: I don't know.
Judy: What kind of a person do you think a girl wants?
Jim: A man.
Judy: Yes. But a man who can be gentle and sweet...
Jim: Yeah...
Judy: you are...and someone who doesn't run away when you want them. Like being Plato's friend when nobody else liked him. That's being strong.
Jim: Oh, wow...I'm not gonna be lonely any more, ever, ever. Not you or me.
Judy: I love somebody. All the time I've been looking for someone to love me, and now I love somebody, and it's so easy. Why is it easy now?
Jim: I don't know. It is for me, too.
Judy: I love you, Jim. I really mean it.

Judy: Did he hit you?
Jim: No, I'm all right.
Judy: We have to go back.
Jim: Go back? I'm stayin'.
Judy: After he tried to shoot you, Jim!
Jim: ...He didn't mean it. We shouldn't have left him in the first place. He needs us.
Judy: He needed you maybe, but so do I, Jim.
Jim: He needs you, too. [Jim kisses her] You okay?
Judy: Yes. You should have heard him earlier tonight. He was talking about you. Like - like you were the hero in the China Sea.
Jim: Yeah, you know what he wanted?
Judy: What?
Jim: He tried to make us his family.

Plato: Jim, do you think the end of the world will come at nighttime?
Jim: Uh, uh. At dawn.

Frank: You can't help it, son. You did everything a man could.
Jim: Help me.
Frank: Look Jim. You can depend on me. Trust me. Whatever comes, we'll, we'll fix it together. I swear it. Now Jim, stand up. I'll stand up with you. I'll try and be as strong as you want me to be. Come on.


  • Teenage terror torn from today's headlines
  • ...and they both come from 'good' families!
  • To Belong...and be loved.
  • Jim Stark... a kid from a 'good' family - what makes him tick... like a bomb?
  • The bad boy from a good family.


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