The movie founders with didactic courtroom speeches, but it still ain't half bad. And it spread the memorable line from the novel; "Live fast, die young, and have a good looking corpse." The Willard Motley novel the movie is based on sounds fascinating, though (http://amzn.to/1ExNuNs). As is the life of Motley himself (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willard_Motley).
A by-numbers social conscience film in many ways, but bristling with Ray's sympathetic approach to the frustrations of young people (before they were given the handy socio-economic tag "teenager"). Nick Romano is very much a precursor to Dean's more middle-class character in "Rebel Without A Cause"