I've never watched director Nicholas Ray's 1955 classic Rebel without a Cause before, and honestly after watching it for the first time I can honestly say that it is not only my favorite film that we've watched so far but also one of my all time favorite movies.
I want to watch it again and again; it's crazy. The film's protagonist Jim Stark (James Dean, in his third and final feature film) had troubles every time he moved; he always ended up the outcast of his school and nobody really took the chance to get to know him before passing judgement. He also had troubles at home, especially with his dad who he felt was weak because his over-powering mother, always nagging both Jim and his father, telling both of them what to do, and what is right and wrong. It didn't help having his grandmother (on the mother's side) who was exactly like Jim's mother coming around to add onto the troubles by doing exactly what she does. As you can see the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.
Anyway, Jim has just moved to a new town and a new school to start fresh. The first person he meets as he walks to his car to go to his new school for the first time, is Judy [is this the first time he sees Judy? What about the opening scene in juvenile hall?]. They make friends, but Judy kind of keeps it on the low because of the fact that he's the new kid that nobody knows, and she's a part of the "popular crowd" with a jerk for a boyfriend who is also part of this little clique they have going on [is Buzz simply a part of the clique, or is he ostensibly the gang's leader?]. He [Jim] also meets Plato who becomes his guy best friend along the way and Plato pretty much looks up to him and tries to follow in his footsteps. Once he comes in contact with the "popular crowd," the boyfriend of Judy picks on him and ends up getting him to get into a knife fight with him.
Jim Stark really shows him what he's made of at the end of the fight by half a knife to his throat and his head pulled back over a high up ledge. Judy's boyfriend then challenges Stark to a "chickie run" which is when two cars race toward a cliff that drops off into gigantic rocks and a body of water. Jim agrees to the challenge and when they do this "chickie run" Judy's boyfriend (sorry can't think of his name) gets his jacket stuck on the door handle making it impossible for him to get out. Jim gets out of his car in time, but Judy's boyfriend runs his car and himself right off the cliff and obviously dies.
Suddenly everyone scattered, and Jim decides that he has to tell the cops what happened because it's just not right that everyone left him there dead like that. The boyfriend's friends begin looking for Jim Stark and Judy, Plato, and Jim [this is kind of a strange construction/syntax] end up hiding in an abandoned mansion to get away from the friends [is this statement accurate or precise?]. And I should just stop there because I'm just giving too much away.
The plot of the movie was seriously amazing, and I could watch this movie multiple times and not get bored. Let's see if any other films can top my fave of this year in your class [the gauntlet is thrown; I am glad this film struck a chord with you Deana. That said, I would like to see you go deeper with your analysis. The triangle of characters, Jim, Plato, and Judy, is established very early in the film. You touch on the parent/teen conflict within the Stark family, but what about the others? Also, why not add an image, especially in light of the fact you are discussing an American icon?]!