Movies shape the world around us and feed popular culture. Each film produced has a different message to convey. Directors, writers and actors use film to reflect their message. The Wild One, released in 1953,starring Marlon Brando, directed by Laslo Benedek and written by John Paxton, is a film filled with teenage rebellion. During the 1950’s society was filled with middle-class values and the pressure to conform (Dirks p1). At the time most movies portrayed conventional middle age characters. Benedek and Paxton wanted to give teenagers an exciting symbol of rebellion (Dirks p1).
Benedek and Paxton wanted to bring a true rebel to light. Rebel, as defined by the Oxford American Dictionaries is“ a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established ruler.” The Wild One begins with a pack of motorcyclists coming onto the screen cruising down the highway. Before anyone speaks, you can tell that Johnny, played by Brando, is the leader of the pack, and his gang of followers wait on his every move. By casting Brando Laslo and Benedek were going against the type of actor that was usually cast in typical 1950’s films. Brando once said “Nobody tells me what to do” is dialogue from the film (The Wild One) that Brando admitted he lived by his entire life (The Official Website of Marlon Brando). Brando was not the average actor of the fifties, by casting him as a main character all ready set the film to be controversial.
The gang moves on into a town and start drag racing their bikes for beers. The boys are in this town to get away and maybe stir up a little craziness. “Reckless and vandalistic they live for the sensation”(Crowther). There is no apparent reason for Johnny and his gang to be in this town. Paxton and Benedek are using Johnny and his gang to go against the traditional values of small town America.
Johnny is asked, “What are you rebelling against?”, he replies “What have you got?” Movie critic, David Denby comments, “The fifties outlaw...