Here is a conversation from the movie Rebel Without a Cause 1:38.

Jim: Hi. Hi. Wait a minute. Hi. I've seen you before.

Judy: Well, stop the world.

What does Judy(Natalie Wood) mean by "Well, stop the world"?

  • 1
    She is being sarcastic. Such a momentous thing! Stop the world from spinning on its axis!
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 13:06
  • @TRomano That's a nice answer for me! Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 13:12
  • Yep, @TRomano, that sounds like an answer!
    – vstrong
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 13:51
  • 1
    @Makoto Kato: Planet Earth.
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 22:12
  • 1
    @TRomano You don't seem to understand my question. Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


Natalie Wood is using the expression

Stop the world

sarcastically when Dean says he's seen her before, it has the same meaning as

So what's, big deal
As if it's so momentous that the world should stop

she trying to play it cool and nonchalant with Dean whom she obviously likes.

It should not be confused with the 1961 musical

Stop the World - I Want To Get Off

Rebel Without A Cause came out in 1955.

A similar phrase is

stop the presses

which was used during the printed newspapers era when newspapers needed to be updated due to breaking news.

  • What does James Dean say after she says stop the world? I can't quite make it out, something about being polite? Do you know, Peter? Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 15:50
  • What does NW mean by you're a real yo-yo? I wonder. Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 15:51
  • 1
    It means she thinks he could be up and down, emotionally, "I bet you're a real yo-yo", Dean after all is the dark brooding type, in contrast to her friends in the car who are very happy-go-lucky.
    – Peter
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 17:57

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