Great Characters Wiki

John Crawford (often referred to as Plato) is one of the two deuteragonists of the 1955 coming-of-age Warner Bros. film, Rebel Without A Cause. He's an emotionally disturbed, anguished orphan who was abandoned by his divorced parents and left in the care of his nanny/housekeeper. He's very shy, lonely and desperately wants to be loved.

He was portrayed by the late Sal Mineo.

Why He Rocks

  1. Just like the other two leads his character served as a deconstruction of the "trouble-making teenager" trope back when the film came out. In his case, he's just an innocent orphan who wanted to be loved, and definitely means no harm.
  2. This is the acting role that had put Sal Mineo on the map, and made him a household name.
  3. While none of the three leads had good relationships with their parents (especially their fathers), Plato probably has the worst case of all. While Jim doesn't like the his father is so timid and a pushover, and Judy's father barely pays any attention to her and doesn't want her to grow up into adolescence, Plato has a father who flat-out abandoned him as a toddler and didn't return in years, and a mother who's always going away on long trips, leaving Plato to be looked over by his black nanny/housekeeper.
  4. Him, Jim and Judy make a great team and great friends as they completely love, trust and respect each other in a family-type of way. This is especially notable towards Jim, to the point where Plato worships him and treats him like a father figure. A perfect example of this shown in action is when he immediately came to Jim's defense when he realizes Buzz's gang would try to kill Jim as a way to avenge their dead leader.
  5. He's an innocent, timid, shy, but also polite and well-meaning boy who's easily the least troublesome member of the main trio.
  6. His death scene is very emotional and tragic.