I don't know if I've ever seen Rebel all the way through, but Lord knows, I've seen enough clips of it on the 100 Best Yada Yada lists.
Let's not talk about the movie. Let's talk about James Dean. Regardless of whether you think he's sexy/cool/hot or not, there's that Star factor. He had, Steve McQueen had it, and a few others had it. I'm not sure if we have Stars today the same way we had Back in the Day. I think we (the public) know too much about our stars and that's colored the way we perceive them. Look, I still like a good Harrison Ford movie, but his Star factor plummeted for me when he took up with what's-her-name and left his wife.
That kind of story might have been hushed up thirty years ago. Of course, it works the other way, too. Sometimes I'll find out things about a star and think, "that guy has more character than I thought he had." Doesn't happen often, but it does sometimes.
I know that when I write my heroes, I always think of actors whom I think are not only handsome in some way, but have character. I imagine that actor in the role and think, "What would he do? How would he look?" My current project has a Hugh Jackman guy in the lead role and he's going through a ton of changes through 9 books (yes, you read that right. 9 books). I'm having fun looking up "old Hugh", "young Hugh", "bald Hugh", etc.
So let's hear it for the stars (past and present). They make our current writing projects a lot more fun.