Classic James Dean portrayal of teenage angst. Jim Stark (Dean) moves to a new town with his parents. He starts at a new school and immediately attracts the attention of the tough guys and the school nutcase (Sal Mineo). Natalie Wood, essentially a moll to the local gang of toughs, captures Jim's attention, prompting him to accept their challenges.
Jim has trouble with his parents. His mother is domineering, his father seems to cave in to her. Jim sees his father as weak, and a "chicken."
Throughout the course of the movie we can see that Jim is a good, honorable young man who makes bad choices, regrets them and tries to make them right.
The movie is a bit dated now, and I'm surprised by the amount of time these teens spend in the fetal position, but otherwise I think the hyperdramatic angst isn't that far afield from hyperdramatic angst today.
Definitely worth a watch.