Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 1955. Warner Bros.. Story by Nicholas Ray, Screenplay by Stewart Stern, adaptation by Irving Shulman. Cinematography by Ernest Haller. Produced by David Weisbart. Music by Leonard Rosenman. Production Design by Malcolm C. Bert. Costume Design by Moss Mabry. Film Editing by William H. Ziegler, James Moore. Academy Awards 1955.
The original teen angst masterpiece that made James Dean a movie star and later a permanent icon following his untimely death. Sal Mineo plays an awkward adolescent who can’t fit in with any of the brutal teenagers in his tiny little town; Dean plays his only friend, a cool dude for whom social acceptance means nothing. Natalie Wood had her first notably serious role as Dean’s girlfriend. Written and directed by Nicholas Ray, this one has been imitated by thousands of movies ever since, but there’s just nothing quite like the original.