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The Best James Dean Movies

Updated June 11, 2019 465 votes 188 voters 18.4k views10 items

List RulesVote for your favorite movies, regardless of critic reviews or how big the role was.

List of the best James Dean movies, ranked best to worst with movie trailers when available. James Dean's highest grossing movies have received a lot of accolades over the years, earning millions upon millions around the world. The order of these top James Dean movies is decided by how many votes they receive, so only highly rated James Dean movies will be at the top of the list. James Dean has been in a lot of films, so people often debate each other over what the greatest James Dean movie of all time is. If you and a friend are arguing about this then use this list of the most entertaining James Dean films to end the squabble once and for all.

If you think the best James Dean role isn't at the top, then upvote it so it has the chance to become number one. The greatest James Dean performances didn't necessarily come from the best movies, but in most cases they go hand in hand.

This list includes The Dark, Dark Hours, Trouble Along the Way and more.

"This list answers the questions, "What are the best James Dean movies?" and "What are the greatest James Dean roles of all time?"


  • Rebel Without a Cause is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best James Dean Movies
    Video: YouTube
    Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American drama film about emotionally confused suburban, middle-class teenagers. The film stars James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood. Directed by Nicholas Ray, it offered both social commentary and an alternative to previous films depicting delinquents in urban slum environments. Over the years, the film has achieved landmark status for the acting of cultural icon James Dean.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Natalie Wood, James Dean, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus
    • Released: 1955
    • Directed by: Nicholas Ray
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  • East of Eden is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best James Dean Movies
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    East of Eden is a 1955 film, directed by Elia Kazan, and loosely based on the second half of the 1952 novel of the same name by John Steinbeck. It is about a wayward young man who, while seeking his own identity, vies for the affection of his deeply religious father against his favored brother, thus retelling the story of Cain and Abel. The film stars Julie Harris, James Dean, and Raymond Massey. It also features Burl Ives, Richard Davalos and Jo Van Fleet, and was adapted by Paul Osborn. Although set in early twentieth century Monterey, California, much of the film was actually shot on location in Mendocino, California. Some scenes were filmed in the Salinas Valley. Of the three films in... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: James Dean, Burl Ives, Raymond Massey, Lois Smith, Albert Dekker
    • Released: 1955
    • Directed by: Elia Kazan
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  • Giant is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best James Dean Movies
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    Giant is a 1956 American drama film, directed by George Stevens from a screenplay adapted by Fred Guiol and Ivan Moffat from the novel by Edna Ferber. The film stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean and features Carroll Baker, Jane Withers, Chill Wills, Mercedes McCambridge, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Rod Taylor, Elsa Cardenas and Earl Holliman. Giant was the last of James Dean's three films as a leading actor, and earned him his second and last Academy Award nomination. Nick Adams was called in to do some voice dubbing for Dean's role. ... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Dennis Hopper, Rock Hudson, Rod Taylor
    • Released: 1956
    • Directed by: George Stevens
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  • Sailor Beware is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best James Dean Movies
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    Sailor Beware is a 1952 comedy film starring the comedy team of Martin and Lewis and is an adaption of a 1933 Kenyon Nicholson play of the same name. It was released on February 9, 1952 by Paramount Pictures. The working title was At Sea with the Navy. This was the fifth film collaboration of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, who would make 16 movies together before their partnership's end.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: James Dean, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Vince Edwards, Leif Erickson
    • Released: 1952
    • Directed by: Hal Walker
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