The first film that helped create the legend of James Dean, it's basically an updating of the biblical story of Cain and Abel to California, during the WWI years.Dean plays a troubled youngster, who is involved in a heated rivalry with his brother (Richard Davalos) for the love of their father (Raymond Massey). Dean believes his father thinks of him as a bad seed, and he stoops to the lowest means of getting his father to think of his son as a somebody. However, Dean simply further complicates things, which aren't helped by the fact that he's falling in love with his brother's girlfriend (Julie Harris).
Extremely fine performances by all, including Dean, Harris, Massey and Jo Van Fleet (in an academy-award winning role) as Dean's mother. This has an element of realism that still holds up today.
The subject never fails to strike a nerve among decades of young people, who I think this film is well geared to.