Take The Rebel Without A Cause Classic Movie Quiz!
By: Olivia Cantor
About This Quiz
Rebel Without A Cause came out in 1955, and it was the first time that the youth of America were depicted honestly — as troubled teens caught in between many personal issues. It still rings true today, and that’s why the film became a classic. Think you know enough about the film? Then take this quiz and find out!
What is the main story of "Rebel Without A Cause" about?
This landmark film directed by Nicholas Ray centers on middle to upper-class teenagers affected by parental issues. Before this film, it was unheard of in American pop culture to discuss teen angst and rebellious youth. This film definitely set a trend we’re still seeing in cinema and pop culture today.
The film headlines this cool actor, who was immortalized in cinema but died before the film even came out.
James Dean played Jim Stark, the troubled teen trying to get along with life amidst his angsty surroundings. The epitome of ultra-cool, he didn’t live long enough to see this film’s premiere, let alone enjoy his cool star status after it showed. What a loss.
During the film’s opening credits, a dazed Jim is seen on the street playing with this kind of toy.
It’s not clear where Jim came from that night. But he just showed up on the street and chanced upon a small toy: a monkey playing cymbals.
Jim was apparently brought to a police station because he was picked up on the street. What was their “official" reason for arresting him?
The dazed Jim ended up being picked up by the police and brought to the police station. The night shift cops couldn’t pin anything serious on him other than plain drunkenness.
Another teen, a girl named Judy, was apparently picked up by the police the same night as Jim’s arrest. Who played her part?
A teen girl rebel with her own issues, Judy was played by Natalie Wood. This star of American movies was actually of Russian descent.
Why was Judy arrested?
Judy ended up wandering around the streets, breaking curfew. She told the police she wanted to get out of her house after her father called her a "dirty tramp.” My, she has issues!
Another teen boy was picked up by the police that night, John “Plato” Crawford, the one who shot some puppies with his mother’s handgun. Who played Plato?
Sal Mineo’s portrayal of the bullied and emotionally tormented Plato is an important role in the history of emerging new cinema discussions. It’s just sad that the actor had to die a tragic death, like the other two leads in this film.
Jim's first interaction with Plato in the police station involves him offering this article of clothing to Plato.
Plato was with his dedicated housekeeper-guardian in the police station, where he felt a bit cold. Upon seeing this, Jim instinctively offered his jacket so the boy could keep warm. Awww.
Jim’s real troubles emerged when his parents arrived to pick him up from the police station, but ended up arguing there. Fed up with the drama, Jim uttered this classic line.
Jim’s real source of his angst came out that night at the police station. In the midst of his parents' bickering, he just wanted to tell them how he felt, and he shouted “You’re tearing me apart!”
Apparently, Jim has an issue with these two adults in his life, which he said causes his dad to become “mush." Who are these people?
Jim always sees his mother and grandmother gang up on his father. He felt that "they turn him into mush” so he also doubts his own level of masculinity.
During Jim’s first day of school at Dawson High School, he apparently did this unthinkable thing while trying to get inside the school premises.
The Dawson High School insignia is laid out on the front steps at the school entrance. While it’s directly on the path, people are already used to avoiding it — but not Jim, who accidentally stepped on it, and got called for it.
A transferring higher class student, Jim found out that he has to catch up with the juniors and seniors of his new school in a field trip to this kind of place.
A planetarium is an indoor structure with a dome-shaped ceiling where the map of space is projected. A beautiful and somewhat accurate imaging of stars, constellations, and galaxies can be studied there by students of all ages.
What is the official name of the real-life observatory which housed the planetarium where Jim’s class went for their field trip?
Griffith Observatory is located on the high area of Griffith Park which gives a great overview of downtown Los Angeles. It was named after a mining philanthropist Griffith J. Griffith.
Judy apparently hangs out with a group of teenage misfits, led by this guy.
Buzz appears to be the leader of a group of teenage misfits who Judy hangs out with. And from the way Buzz and Judy treat and kiss each other, it looks like they’re also an item.
What did Buzz and his group do to Jim’s car?
After the planetarium field trip, Buzz and his gang taunted and waited for Jim to approach his car, which they all circled. To taunt him even more, they punctured one of its tires to give him a flat. Bad boys!
Apparently, Buzz and his gang always carry this weapon with them, each one of them it seems.
Buzz and his gang seem to be adept at handling switchblades as their gang's weapon of choice. But that is somehow disproven when Jim was able to disarm Buzz’ switchblade without a hitch. Toughie!
What sets Jim off?
Every tough guy or underdog hero has a trigger that sets them off. Jim’s trigger is being called “chicken” or being alluded to as such by clucking chicken noises.
Buzz challenges Jim to go up a high cliff where they will resume their dueling. What kind of “fight” will they have there?
After Jim disarms Buzz with the switchblade, the gang thought of continuing this dueling between the two by staging a Chickie Run. It needs ample preparation, so they set a proper night schedule for it.
In Jim’s house, the teen boy gets frustrated when he chances upon his father cleaning up a tray of plates and wearing one of these.
Jim is apparently having an issue with how his father’s masculinity is somehow being diminished as he grows up. Seeing his dad wearing an apron adds to that frustration. Hey, it’s the ‘50s so gender equality stuff is still a future thing.
In Judy’s house, this teenage girl is apparently having some Electra issues with her dad, throwing a small fit when her dad forgot to do this.
It just feels so icky strange for a 16-year-old to demand a kiss on the lips from her father. It’s more awful if she starts the pecking herself. Really, Judy?
If you look closely, one of Buzz’s misfit friends is this rebel-like Hollywood actor who starred in Easy Rider.
A very young Dennis Hopper could be seen in "Rebel Without A Cause" as one of Buzz’s goon-like friends. Coincidentally, he played the character named Goon.
Apparently, a Chickie Run involves racing two cars, acquired in this manner.
A Chickie Run involves two racers using stolen cars to race each other towards a cliff, and whoever jumps out last before the car reaches the cliff is the chicken. What a way to size up one’s manhood, huh!
Plato suddenly appears at the Chickie Run venue, and declares to Judy that he and Jim are this.
The loner Plato seems to idolize newcomer Jim so much that he’s willing to lie about their friendship status. The poor kid lies to Judy, telling her that Jim is his best friend and invents details about Jim to prove it. Oh Plato...
Before the Chickie Run, the two racers ask Judy to hand them some of this.
Buzz was the first one to ask for a handful of dirt from Judy. When Jim saw this, he mimics the gesture, even if he doesn’t know what it’s for. Do as the Romans do, Jim.
Buzz loses the Chickie Run because he can’t get his car door open in time. Why is that?
In a bit of wardrobe malfunction, Buzz’s jacket sleeve has a loop that got caught in the door handle of his car. He had a hard time coming out of it, and he ended up driving over the cliff while inside the car. RIP dude!
As a groveling teen with so much angst, Jim uttered this line to his father the night he “won” the Chickie Run.
Jim felt that he never did anything right. That’s why his parents always try to fix things by running away and moving from city to city. So he felt he needed to do something right, and confess this Chickie Run thing to the police. Oh, this poor unfortunate soul!
James Dean’s iconic cool guy look is made up of this fashion ensemble in the film.
The simple red jacket over a plain white t-shirt plus blue denim jeans is the simplest outfit any teen could come up with. But when immortalized by James Dean onscreen, it became a sort of fashion statement imitated by people offscreen, even up until now.
When he was trying to stand up to his mother while she was giving him a dressing down the night of the Chickie Run incident, Jim had this disappointing epiphany about his dad.
"You can’t stand up for me,” a beleaguered Jim told his crutching dad, during a confrontation with his mother. That’s when he realized that his dad is not as powerful a masculine figure as he ought to be, in his son’s opinion. He’s only human, Jim!
Buzz’s misfit friends roughed up Plato so they could get this from him.
Buzz’s gang thought Jim ratted them out to the police, so they want to find out where he lived. Plato was ambushed for this info — and they got it. Oh no!
Plato wanted to warn Jim and protect him from the goons, so he thought of bringing this.
Unsure whether he could use it against people and not just puppies, the determined Plato retrieved his mother’s handgun and ran out with it. He’ll do anything to protect his perceived "bestie!"
Buzz’s misfit male friends thought Jim talked to the police about the Chickie Run incident. So they went to his house and did this:
The gang of misfits was brave enough to nail a live chicken hanging from the door frame of Jim’s house. I guess they’re not smart enough to keep things simple or quiet!
To escape Buzz’s misfit friends, Jim and Judy ran away to this kind of place, a hideaway Plato once pointed out to him.
When Plato was with Jim at the outdoor deck of Griffith Observatory, he pointed out a huge abandoned mansion he visited from time to time. Jim remembered this detail and brought Judy there to hide for a while.
Hanging out and chatting with Jim and Judy at the mansion, Plato — who confessed that his mother made him see a shrink — gets asked by Jim, “Well, what’s your problem?” Since this is the 1950s and desire of any kind is mostly suppressed, this is Plato’s underlying, yet hinted at, "problem” in the film.
"Rebel Without A Cause" has been hailed for bravely hinting at gay issues during a time when it was disallowed in Hollywood. Hinting at Plato’s homosexuality as his underlying problem, director Ray placed these hints — most notable was how Plato regards and looks at Jim with the utmost of desire — to make Plato’s character more tortured.
Buzz’s misfit friends finally found the trio hiding in the abandoned mansion, so Plato pulled out his gun and shot at some of the gang members, until these people arrived.
The police were led by a tip about the whereabouts of the kids who were possibly connected with the Chickie Run case. Their presence at the mansion prompted Plato to run towards the nearby Griffith Observatory instead.
The finale of the film takes place back at the observatory, where Plato runs and encounters the police who end up shooting him. Jim gets frustrated about the encounter, because of this supposedly safe act.
Jim already tried to surrender to the police to save Plato from harm. But when they saw Plato still holding a gun, they shot him point blank. What a melodramatic ending to a tragic story.
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