Behind the scenes: Rebel without a Cause

Nine rare shots of James Dean behind the wheel, lounging on set and wielding a knife during production of the all-time great teen film, Rebel without a Cause.

Lights, camera and action on a night-time shoot for Rebel without a Cause (1955), with James Dean taking his place behind the wheel as outsider teen Jim Stark

Lights, camera and action on a night-time shoot for Rebel without a Cause (1955), with James Dean taking his place behind the wheel as outsider teen Jim Stark

Stars Natalie Wood and James Dean, in that unforgettable red jacket, hear from director Nicholas Ray in a quiet moment between filming

Stars Natalie Wood and James Dean, in that unforgettable red jacket, hear from director Nicholas Ray in a quiet moment between filming

James Dean and Corey Allen (as troublemaker Buzz Gunderson) film the thrilling knife-fight scene on the terrace of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

James Dean and Corey Allen (as troublemaker Buzz Gunderson) film the thrilling knife-fight scene on the terrace of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

The two tragic stars of Rebel without a Cause – Dean and Natalie Wood – share a moment between takes. Dean died in a car crash in 1955, one month before the film was released; he was 24. Wood drowned in 1981, aged 43.

The two tragic stars of Rebel without a Cause – Dean and Natalie Wood – share a moment between takes. Dean died in a car crash in 1955, one month before the film was released; he was 24. Wood drowned in 1981, aged 43.

A script read-through with (left to right) director Nicholas Ray and stars Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood and James Dean

A script read-through with (left to right) director Nicholas Ray and stars Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood and James Dean

Between takes, Dean slouches in his chair with his on-screen parents Jim Backus and Ann Doran (who play Mr and Mrs Stark) and a cast of cops at Griffith Observatory

Between takes, Dean slouches in his chair with his on-screen parents Jim Backus and Ann Doran (who play Mr and Mrs Stark) and a cast of cops at Griffith Observatory

Breakfast with a view over Los Angeles, with actors James Dean and Jim Backus

Breakfast with a view over Los Angeles, with actors James Dean and Jim Backus

Milking the moment: director Nicholas Ray checks his viewfinder before filming a turbulent moment between James Dean and Natalie Wood

Milking the moment: director Nicholas Ray checks his viewfinder before filming a turbulent moment between James Dean and Natalie Wood

An on-location cigarette and a chat between Nicholas Ray and James Dean

An on-location cigarette and a chat between Nicholas Ray and James Dean

Rebel without a Cause is currently screening at BFI Southbank.

Read more

Back to the top