Brando’s portrayal of Johnny in The Wild One (1953) directly influenced James Dean’s look as well as his most iconic film, Rebel without a Cause (1955). Brando never gave up being a rebel, causing trouble on and off-set until his death in 2004. I choose Brando because he started it all and, like me, he’s a rebel for life!
Dean lived his life by the motto: ‘live fast and die young.’ A life that ended, tragically, in an automobile accident in 1955 when Dean was aged just 24. This was the same year his most famous movie was released: Rebel without a Cause (1955). I choose Dean because he lived and died true to what he was: a rebel. Brando might have been the inspiration but Dean was the real deal.
Both Brando and Dean had a major impact on 1950s American culture. The so-called “greaser” phenomenon, that brought with it ducktail haircuts, leather jackets and an obsession with fast cars and motorcycles owes its origins to Brando and Dean and their iconic movies. Overseas in the UK, The Wild One (1953) was banned for being ‘a spectacle of unbridled hooliganism.’