Generic Conventions of Teen Movies in the 1955 Film Rebel Without a Cause

Generic Conventions of Teen Movies in the 1955 Film Rebel Without a Cause

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Generic Conventions of Teen Movies in the 1955 Film Rebel Without a Cause

'Rebel without a cause' was the first ever film to be targeted at the
newly established Teenage audience and caused the creation 'Teen
Movie' genre because of its incredible success. The creators of Rebel
without a cause saw that there was enormous potential for the teen
audience as they had never been targeted before and they had money to
spend on entertainment as they had no outgoings at all. The film
starred James Dean as Jim Stark the troubled teenager in a new town.
He is portrayed as the outsider and the protagonist as he fights his
oppressive authoritative figures.

James Dean: Role Model for teenagers

[IMAGE]The main theme running through this film is the outsider being
absorbed into the new community and the struggle for acceptance. This
can be seen in 'Rebel' as Jim is trying to be incorporated into the
new town and how he strives to overcome many obstacles. This theme can
also be seen in other films such as 'Save the last dance' as the white
protagonist Sara Johnson tries to fit into the very proud black
society. The narrative of initiation can be tied into the absorption
theme in that in Rebel the chicken run must be completed before Jim
will be accepted by buzz and the bully gang. This theme is reflected
in later films such as grease where the race must be completed to
resolve conflict between the opposing groups. Another theme which is
almost always seen in teen movies is the boy/girl romance. In rebel
without a cause this theme is reflected by the relationship between
Judy and Jim. This can also be seen in later films such as the
American ...


... middle of paper ...


...Pie where the
adults are seen as boring and only viewed as obstacles for the
teenager's hedonism. American Pie challenges this convention as it
uses an adult, Mrs Stiffler - a young mother trying to cling on to her
youth - who seduces the intellectual 'Geek' character, Paul Finch.

Rebel without a cause paved the way for hundreds of films targeted at
the teenage audience. It was created because there had never been a
genre which offered teenagers a way to communally express their
emotion before. The film gave iconic status to the name James Dean,
and gave thousands of teenagers a role model to follow. The film can
be seen in many other films which are constantly being added to the
genre. Hundreds of other teen films have elements of Rebel without a
cause and follow the generic conventions which it established in 1955.

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