Kidadl

65 James Dean Quotes From The Hollywood Cultural Icon

Contents
James Dean quotations for your friends.

Share this article

Subscribe for virtual tools, STEM-inspired play, creative tips and more

James Dean was a revered American actor who is remembered fondly by many.

He's best known for 'Rebel Without A Cause', a movie about teenage rebellion and adolescence, which was released in 1955. He enacted the role of Jim Stark, a warm-hearted yet troubled teenager who goes through various transformations throughout the movie.

James Dean also starred in 'East of Eden' (1955), and 'Giant' (1956), which was released after his death. Due to a fatal car crash, James's encountered his untimely death at 24 years old. Many remember the icon as being a prolific entertainer who had held within himself a reservoir of untapped potential.  James Dean was a multifaceted individual who talked not only about film and movies, but also about life, death, and immortality. Many of the quotations in this article are the American actor's thoughts about the movie business, his life before film, relationships, and love. If you love James Dean, then you're going to love this list of James Dean quotes!

If you loved this list of James Dean quotes, you should check out Marlon Brando Quotes and 'East of Eden' Quotes.

Best James Dean Quotes

James Dean quotes are touching.

Here are the Best James Dean quotes all for you.

1. "There is no way to be truly great in this world. We are impaled on the crook of conditioning."

- James Dean.

2. "Only the gentle are ever really strong."

- James Dean.

3. "Being a good actor isn't easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I'm done."

- James Dean.

4. "The gratification comes in the doing, not in the results."

- James Dean.

5. "...And above all, you must be honest with yourself."

- James Dean.

6. "I wouldn’t like me, if I had to be around me."

- James Dean.

7. "If I can keep this up and nothing interferes with my progress, one of these days I might be able to contribute something to the world."

- James Dean.

8. "An actual right is something that governments need merely to secure, not to implement."

- James Dean.

9. "I also became close to nature and am now able to appreciate the beauty with which this world is endowed."

- James Dean.

10. "To me, the only success, the only greatness for man, is in immortality."

- James Dean.

11. "I have sacrificed a physical bond, for a metaphysical relationship. I am the ultimate idealistic lover."

- James Dean.

12. "I am trying to find the courage to be tender in my life."

- James Dean.

13. "You try to be yourself, do only what you've always done and like to do, and right away, you're tagged as an oddball."

- James Dean.

14. "If a choice is in order —I'd rather have people hiss than yawn."

- James Dean.

15. "I don't want anything seventy-thirty. Fifty-fifty's always good enough for me."

- James Dean.

16. "Racing is the only time I feel whole."

- James Dean.

17. "If you’re not afraid, if you take everything you are, everything worthwhile in you and direct it at one goal, one ultimate mark, you’ve got to get there."

- James Dean.

18. "The only thing I've seen so far are just raccoons running all over."

- James Dean.

Iconic James Dean Quotes About Acting And Movies

These fabulous James Dean quotes will deepen your respect for his intellect and acting prowess.

19. "Without that space, an actor is no more than an unthinking robot with a chest-full of push-buttons."

- James Dean.

20. "Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world. You are all alone with your concentration and imagination, and that's all you have."

- James Dean.

21. "...And I've discovered that most young men do not stand like ramrods or talk like Demosthenes. Therefore, when I do play a youth, such as in Warner Bros. 'Rebel Without A Cause', I try to imitate life."

- James Dean.

22. "The only way to make a scene realistic is to do it the way you know it would really happen."

- James Dean.

23. "An actor should be judged by his performance only."

- James Dean.

24. "The cinema is a very truthful medium because the camera doesn’t let you get away with anything."

- James Dean.

25. "I can't let in the light. It will destroy my performance like light destroys film."

- James Dean.

26. "If a picture is psychologically motivated, if there is truth in the relationship in it, then I think that picture will do good. I firmly believe that rebel without a cause is such a picture."

- James Dean.

27. "You can do 'Hamlet' while performing cartwheels... as long as the audience sees your eyes - you can make the performance real."

- James Dean.

28. "How can you measure acting in inches?"

- James Dean.

29. "When an actor plays a scene exactly the way a director orders, it isn't acting. It's following instructions. Anyone with the physical qualifications can do that. "

- James Dean.

30. "Film only works in the dark. Tear it all open and let in the light and you kill it."

- James Dean.

31. "To my way of thinking, an actor's course is set even before he's out of the cradle."

- James Dean.

32. "An hour or two of learning from the masters is usually enough to recharge my artistic batteries."

- James Dean.

33. "So the director's task is just that to direct, to point the way. Then the actor takes over. And he must be allowed the space, the freedom to express himself in the role."

- James Dean.

34. "To me, acting is the most logical way for people's neuroses to manifest themselves, in this great need we all have to express ourselves."

- James Dean.

35. "I don't mind walking the tight rope. Something strong is holding it."

- James Dean.

Famous Quotes About James Dean

James Dean had many influential friends and peers. Many famous people have spoken about James Dean and the impact he had on their lives. Here are James Dean famous quotes and sayings about the American icon and actor.

36. "James Dean was the damaged but beautiful soul of our time."

- Andy Warhol.

37. "It’s better, really, to go out in a blaze. That’s why we love Marilyn, and James Dean."

- Micheal Cunningham.

38. "You could call T. Rex the James Dean of dinosaurs: it lived fast and died young."

- Stephen Brusatte.

39. "[Stuart Sutcliffe] was really our leader, and he was really into the James Dean thing. He idolized him. Stuart died young before we made the big time, but I suppose you could say that without Jimmy Dean, The Beatles would have never existed."

- John Lennon.

40. "I liken it to a kind of star or comet that fell through the sky and everybody still talks about it. They say, 'Ah, remember the night when you saw that shooting star?'"

- Julie Harris.

41. "Most sources agree that Dean’s best work came under rarefied, idealized conditions..."

- Val Halley.

43. "…there was a saying that Marlon Brando changed the way actors acted, James Dean changed the way people lived. I believe that."

- Martin Sheen.

44. "Some guys are born to lean. He's definitely one of them. James Dean was another."

- Jandy Nelson.

45. "He had absolute unerring control over his body."

- Val Halley.

46. "..But he's a good boy, my Jim. A good boy, and I'm very proud of him. Not easy to understand, no sir. He's not easy to understand."

- Winton Dean.

47. "But of course, in one sense, Dean never died - his existence is superior to such accidents. One must have heroes, which is to say, one must create them."

- James Salter.

48. "I watched, for the umpteenth time, James Dean in 'Rebel Without A Cause'."

- A.K. Kuykendall.

49. "As Dean saw it, the issue was talent, but his confidence in himself was never contagious."

- Val Halley.

50. "All of us were touched by Jimmy, and he was touched by greatness."

- Natalie Wood.

Riveting James Dean Quotes About Life

This list of James Dean quotes by the actor truly showcases his views about life, death, and the in-between.

51. "My purpose in life does not include a hankering to charm society."

- James Dean.

52. "Remember: Life is short, break the rules (they were made to be broken) Forgive quickly..."

- James Dean.

53. "If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live after he's died, then maybe he was a great man."

- James Dean.

54. "Death can’t be considered because, if you’re afraid to die, there’s no room in your life to make discoveries."

- James Dean.

55. "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."

- James Dean.

56. "I'm not going to go through life with one arm tied behind my back."

- James Dean.

57. "An actor must interpret life, and in order to do so must be willing to accept all the experiences life has to offer. In fact, he must seek out more of life than life puts at his feet"

- James Dean.

Famous James Dean Quotes From Movies

James Dean was a phenomenal actor.

Elia Kazan was the film producer who selected James Dean for the film 'East of Eden'. If you love 'Giant', 'East of Eden', or any other James Dean film, then you're going to love this list of the best James Dean movie quotes.

58. "You are tearing me apart! You say one thing, he says another, and everybody changes back again."

- Jim Stark, 'Rebel Without A Cause'.

59. "I don't have to explain anything to anybody."

- Cal Trask, 'East of Eden'.

60. "Leslie Benedict: Money isn't everything, Jett.

Jett Rink: Not when you've got it."

- 'Giant'.

61. "You can wake up now, the universe has ended."

- Jim Stark, 'Rebel Without A Cause'.

62. "Plato: Do you think the end of the world will come at nighttime?

Jim Stark: Uh-uh, at dawn."

- 'Rebel Without A Cause'.

63. "You sure do look pretty, Miss Leslie. Pert nigh good enough to eat!"

- Jett Rink, 'Giant'.

64. "Plato: I used to lay awake in my crib at night and listen to them fight.

Jim Stark: Can you really remember back that far? I can't even remember what happened yesterday."

- 'Rebel Without A Cause'.

65. "You know something? You read too many comic books."

- Jim Stark, 'Rebel Without A Cause'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for James Dean quotes then why not take a look at Hollywood quotes, or Harrison Ford quotes.

Author

Written By

Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

Was this article helpful?

Subscribe for virtual tools, STEM-inspired play, creative tips and more

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s and and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.