Every generation has that actor. He or she is the icon of that generation and that time. Their lives and career are often tragically cut short, but their work lives on.
James Dean will always be remembered as the rebellious young man who lived fast, died young and is still revered, 60 years later, as one of the greatest actors of his era.
In 1955, he starred with Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo in Rebel Without A Cause, the ultimate teenage rebellion movie.
Jim Stark (James Dean) is a rebellious young man with a colorful past. He moves to a new town with his parents. They hope that with this fresh start, the past will be behind then. But where Jim goes, friends and foes alike are made.
This movie was one of the first to give a voice to the then teenage generation. 60 years later, the clothes, language, music and technology may have changed, but the emotions and the experiences of teenagers are the same.
A year later, Dean starred in Giant, opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. Based on the novel of the same by Edna Ferber, it is the multi-generational story of a Texas cattle rancher and his family. Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson) is a Texas cattle rancher who is in Maryland buying horses. He falls in love with Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor), the daughter of the man that he is buying horses from. A rivalry with cowboy (who will later on strike it rich as an oil tycoon), Jett Rink (James Dean) stretches over two generations.
This movie has it all. Multi-layered characters, an engaging story and three of the best actors of all time.
I recommend both.