Rebel Without a Cause

Character Analysis of Judy

Natalie Wood

Character Traits of Judy

In the movie, Rebel Without a Cause, Judy is played by Natalie Wood. Judy is...

Lonely- Judy doesn't have anyone who understands her. Her father has become distant. The group of rebellious people that she hangs out with aren't her real friends. She doesn't have anyone that understands her until she spends the night with Jim and Plato after the chickie fight.


Dramatic- Judy was very dramatic. At one time early in the movie, Judy said, "Who lives?" It was very depressing of her to say, but also dramatic. Judy has a pretty good life except for her daddy problems. She doesn't need to be dramatic.


Rebellious- Judy rebels against her father because he has become distant.

Main Problems

Since Judy is a rebellious character in the movie, she gets involved in many problems. At the beginning of the movie, we meet Judy at the police station, which isn't a good place to meet anyone. She has been brought in to the police station late at night after running away from home. She had run away from home because her father called her a tramp. As a young child, we can tell that Judy probably had a great relationship with her father. Now that she has gotten older, her father has expected her to grow up, but she is the same Judy as she was before. Judy still wants to give her father a kiss when they greet one another, but he thinks she is too old for that. She is hurt because she thinks of it as just an innocent kiss while her father sees it as inappropriate.
Judy rebels against her father for attention. She hangs out with people who aren't her real friends and who just do rebellious things. Her boyfriend, Buzz, is a part of this group. He likes to create problems with everyone. When he met Jim Stark, he started problems with Jim. Judy just sits around and watches the show. It makes her look rebellious and that's all she wants.

Symbol- The Chickie Run

One problem that Buzz starts with Jim is a chickie run. This comes about after the two have a knife fight. Jim won the knife fight and so Buzz challenges him to a chickie run. Jim didn't even know what a chickie run was until he got to it. The first one to jump out of the car is a chicken. The chicken is the looser. Although Jim jumped out first, Buzz wasn't able to get out of his car, he drove off a cliff, and died. I think that makes Buzz the looser even though Jim is the chicken.

If it weren't for this event in this movie, many of things wouldn't have happened. If the chickie run wouldn't have happened, Judy and Jim wouldn't have fallen in love.

Did Judy Learn from her Experiences Throughout the Movie?

I think Judy is the same Judy as in the beginning of the film.

Theme- Belongingness & Family

The theme that I think is most prominent in this movie is Belongingness and Family. Everyone acts differently around the different groups of people they interact with. I act differently around my family then I do around my group of friends at school. I relate to many different groups of people; everyone does! Judy related to her family much differently than she did with the group of rebellious people she hung out with and even more differently than she did with just Jim and Plato.

Why do you think Judy's father treats her the way he does?

Judy is a daddy's girl. Her father no longer kisses her because he says she is too old for that, but she doesn't feel that way. Her father is distant with Judy yet very loving and physical towards the younger sibling, but why? There comes a time in a child's life when they stop hugging and kissing their parents because they are too old for that. The child may feel uncomfortable giving their parents a hug or kiss. The parent wouldn't normally feel weird about it, but in the movie Judy's father does. I don't think that Judy's father should think it's weird because it is an innocent kiss.