"You're tearing me apart!" ― Jim's most famous line
James "Jim" Stark is the titular main protagonist of the 1955 coming-of-age Warner Bros. film, Rebel Without A Cause. He's a mischievous but kind-hearted emotionally troubled teenager with issues over his weak, pushover father and his overbearing mother who refuses to own up to her son's actions.
He was portrayed by James Dean in one of his only starring roles.
Why He Rocks
- Back in the 1950s, his character served as a deconstruction of the "bad boy teen" trope. In a world of momism and crumbling facades of adult authority figures, he longs for old-fashioned honor. He’s not wild, he’s just aching because he can’t see how to make his life honorable.
- He's also one of the most iconic, noteworthy characters of the 50s for all of the reasons mentioned above.
- James Dean does a great, iconic performance as the titular rebel that continues to be beloved and parodied to this day.
- Despite occasionally being mischievous, he's shown to a kind-hearted teen at heart and a great person to be around. He's brave, strong, caring, responsible, gentle and sweet with peaceful instincts as stated by Judy at one point, hence why Judy sees him as more of a father figure than her actual father. He unhesitatingly befriends and stands up for the meek Plato on his first day of school, takes care of people who have shown him kindness, and has enough of a conscience left that he practically leapt to take responsibility for the death of his drag-race opponent.
- Him, Judy and Plato make a great team as they completely love, trust and respect each other in a family-type of way.
- He has a rather depressing background considering he has a father who can't hold his own ground and an overbearing mother who can't face his problems, and he and his family are always moving. Considering he tone towards all this he's a very relatable characters toward other teenagers with similar issues.
- During the blade fight, he had shown to been an incredible fighter, although he had shown to have restraints and limits on how much damage he's willing to cause as shown he threw his fighting knife away and even tried to avoid the fight with Buzz in general.
- Some of his actions and dialogue may be a bit confusing for modern day viewers.
- His sense of eager to to get into a fight or competition whether he's called a chicken can be pretty risky at times. Such as when he got in a knife-blade fight on a rooftop with Buzz, which could have gotten him stabbed to death, or when he agrees to do the "chickee run" which was a car dive off of a cliff-edge which ended up becoming a death sentence for Buzz, and nearly got Jim killed as well. Seriously, if it wasn't for his sudden sense of realism, Jim would've been a goner.