[4K Ultra HD Review] ‘Rebel Without A Cause’; Available April 18, 2023 From Warner Bros

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Director: Nicholas Ray

Cast: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo

Release Date: April 18, 2023

A Review By: Kevin Lovell

Disc Rating: 8.5/10


James Dean stars in a movie that shocked the United States with a performance that still electrifies the screen twenty-five years after his untimely death prior to the film’s release. In this archetypal drama of teenage angst and rebellion, three high school students who should lead idyllic lives in their stable, comfortable suburban families explode with a violence and sexuality that their parents cannot understand. This film–which ripped the façade from the post-war American dream to expose the rage of the country’s youth–resonates with an energy that has made it a modern classic and a powerful coming-of-age story.

Please Note: Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.

[4K Ultra HD Review] 'Rebel Without A Cause'; Available April 18, 2023 From Warner Bros 1

‘Rebel Without a Cause’ tells the unforgettable tale of a high school student trying to settle in with his parents in a new town and at a new school due to his parents trying to run from the problems that have plagued the teen already. As he tries to control his anger and gets quickly involved with some of the more troublesome other students due to his inability to avoid conflict or take insults with a shrug, he eventually forms an unexpected bond with two other students; a conflicted young woman living near his new home who herself is mixed in with the dangerous crowd and a young loner with a dark side who he befriends after the boy is drawn to him by the unexpected kindness he shows toward him. But these three new friends will soon discover that they may need each other even more than expected when a tragic accident sends events down a troubling path leading to unavoidable confrontation and violence on the horizon.

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The iconic cinematic masterpiece ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ was first released in 1955 and directed by Nicholas Ray from a story also by Ray, a screenplay by Stewart Stern and an adaptation by Irving Shulman. The capable writing and guidance behind the camera is only marvelously complemented by a noteworthy cast led by James Dean who delivers a powerful and unforgettable performance, and additionally starring Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Ann Doran, Corey Allen, William Hopper and more, with each offering noteworthy and fully capable performances that helped to make this coming of age story such a relevant masterpiece and one that still holds up today.

Perhaps one of the most famous film classics of all time both due its quality, powerful story, and capable acting, plus of course the tragic loss of James Dean who died far too young and prior to the film’s release. ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ is an emotional coming of age tale that accompanies three high school students whose paths come together for both good and bad when tragic circumstances and uncertainty result in trouble on every side. It’s tense, powerful and romantic, with a touching focus on unlikely friendships and bonds formed amid unfortunate circumstances. ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ has held up extraordinarily well against the test of time and still serves up a remarkable, moving and impeccably crafted cinematic gem that will surely never be forgotten; still widely recognized and praised today more than 65 years after its debut. For those of you that have never had the chance to give this one a shot, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to make a point of doing so. It’s a true masterpiece of cinema that should not be missed.

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Joining WB’s other notable April releases of cinematic gems ‘Cool Hand Luke (which you can read my 4K UHD review of HERE) and ‘The Maltese Falcon’ (you can also read my 4K UHD review of that release HERE) as part of Warner’s 100-year celebration, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment also brings home the unforgettable James Dean starring masterpiece ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever. The new release brings the iconic favorite home featuring a stellar new Ultra High Definition video presentation with HDR-10 that keeps the fan-favorite looking better than it ever has before, and the great new video presentation is further boosted by a new Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that expands the auditory range of the beloved coming of age tale. It also makes for a pleasant surprise considering that an Atmos presentation is certainly somewhat of a rarity for films of this age. The release also features a nice collection of previously released extras which can be found on the combo pack’s included Blu-ray disc. It’s an altogether quite worthy 4K UHD debut for this masterpiece of cinema that should have dedicated fans thoroughly satisfied. If you’re already considering a purchase but might be on the fence for one reason or another, this one is definitely worth picking up and is highly recommended.

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The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ features a full 2160p Ultra High Definition presentation with HDR-10 presented in its original 2.55:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding as a whole and delivers a sharp, clean and beautifully filmic presentation from start to finish that’s absent of any unexpected problems arising along the way. The presentation shows substantial improvement in nearly every area within including character clothing, facial details and scenery, while still retaining its share of grain and other welcome artifacts that are representative of the source material. The HDR addition also contributes a fairly similar, yet cleaner and more vibrant color palette combined with deep, rich black levels that don’t disappoint and it all comes together to bring this cinematic masterpiece home looking more impressive than it ever has before. Overall, this is a magnificent Ultra High Definition video presentation from Warner Bros. that holds up splendidly throughout and should thrill fans of this classic film.


Somewhat surprisingly considering the film’s age, the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp, and sharp audio presentation throughout. The new presentation utilizes all seven available channels on multiple occasions in order to send the iconic music, along with vehicle and nature activity, plus plenty of other minor effects throughout the various speakers when fitting, and always making certain that all dialogue and other audio elements occurring along the way remain clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is a solid new Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that may not be a complete overhaul but works well for the film and it shouldn’t have any trouble pleasing fans and newcomers alike.


The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ includes a solid collection of previously released extras, the majority of which can be found on the release’s included Blu-ray disc. Included on both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray disc is an ‘Audio Commentary by Douglas L. Rathgeb, Author of The Making of Rebel Without a Cause’, while the Blu-ray additionally includes some other carryover extras such as Featurettes, Deleted Scenes and more including ‘Behind the Scenes: James Dean Remembered’ (running approximately 66 minutes in length), ‘Behind the Scenes: Rebel Without a Cause: Defiant Innocents’ (running approximately 36 minutes), ‘Behind the Scenes: Dennis Hopper: Memories from the Warner Lot’ (approximately 10 minutes), along with ‘Screen Tests’ (6 minutes), and Wardrobe Tests’ (5 minutes). Also included are some ‘Black and White Deleted Scenes Without Sound’ (approximately 10 minutes altogether) and ‘Color Deleted Scenes Without Sound’ (approximately 13 minutes altogether), plus ‘Behind the Cameras’ with ‘Natalie Wood’ (8 minutes), ‘Jim Backus’ (6 minutes), and ‘James Dean’ (8 minutes). The ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (approximately 2 minutes) for the film is also included.

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*Please note that the above images are taken from the previously released Blu-Ray disc included in the 4K UHD Combo Pack and resized. They do not represent the quality of the 4K Ultra HD disc itself and will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on the 4K UHD & Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.

Disc Rating: 8.5/10

‘Rebel Without A Cause’ Arrives on 4K Ultra HD & Digital April 18, 2023 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment

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