8. Rebel Without A Cause Breaks Down Society Barriers Of 1950sThe Movie:
James Dean plays Jim Stark, a rebellious young man who attempts to side-step what his family, his school, his fellow students, and basically everyone else expects him to do and be. The Reality:
Rebel Without a Cause is widely considered to be not just an examination of a loss of American idealism, but also of the inherent conflicts between generations of people. Rebel was one of the first films to truly question the cloying, transparent "happiness" of the 1950s, and really tap into the despair that lurked beneath. Jim is a bad boy who smokes and drinks ad nauseum, while getting into fights and trying to chase tail; he couldn't be further from the ideal American teen, and yet this rebelliousness engaged with an entire generation of youngsters, who appreciated someone tapping into their own feelings of pressure against expectation, and their own desires to break free. The film certainly wasn't a sole cause for the teenage rebellion that some argue helped to kick-start the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s, but there's no way it hurt; there is no greater cinematic icon for the movement than James Dean.