Thus handicapped by the script's utter implausibility, which is alleviated not one whit by the strained direction of Nicholas Ray, Dean's delineation is far below the arrestingly high standards set by the above-mentioned portrayal in "Eden." His supporting cast, both its juvenile and adult components, are projected with even less effectiveness. Employment of CinemaScope and WarnerColor accord the feature an air of opulence which should tend to bolster its fiscal future. David Weisbart produced.
Dean, denied love and affection at home by his bickering parents, seeks recognition by joining an adolescent gang. He and Natalie Wood, a young member of the group, develop a child-like love. After interludes of angry violence, the slaying by police of Dean's best friend finally brings the boy and his parents together in a bond of common understanding and the indication that peaceful times are ahead.
A challenging drama of today's teenage violence... The raw rugged story of Jim Stark... a kid who plays cops and robbers with real cops... What makes him tick like an unexploded bomb? Warner Bros. 111 min.