Parents' Guide to

Rebel Without a Cause

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

1950s James Dean teen-rage landmark still resonates.

Movie PG-13 1955 111 minutes
Rebel Without a Cause Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 13+


I have heard about this film my entire life, but only saw it last year. I thought it was just ok, not a big deal, but I guess films on teen angst were kinda new in the 50s. James Dean looked very old to be playing a teen. He had bags under his eyes and forehead wrinkles. Probably from all the smoking. I think this film is suitable for anyone 13+ as they would be able to relate to issues in this film.
age 13+


I am 33 years old but I don’t care I like this movie. It stars the late James dean and Natalie wood.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (9 ):

Despite outdated touches -- these punks don't listen to rock music, but rather big-band swing -- Rebel Without a Cause still comes on strong. From the opener of live-wire actor James Dean drunk in the gutter, there's a sense that this film means business. It was indeed an iconic screen drama of the 1950s, serious-minded, superbly acted, and designed to illuminate the hot topic of juvenile delinquency -- which huffy authorities at the time blamed on everything from Bill Haley's Comets to comic books.

Here (although no quick fixes are offered) the diagnosis is grounded in Freudian psychology; it's hormones and parents, in Jim's case his bewildered, ineffectual dad and domineering mom, in Judy's case a father repulsed by the girl's maturing sexuality. Alienated and aimless despite their affluence, the lonely kids form their own gangs. Compared to the generally Disney-esque treatments of adolescents onscreen back then, Rebel remains forceful and un-phony.

Movie Details

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