The Outsiders (1983)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
Genres: Coming-Of-Age, Drama, Teen Drama
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Francis Ford Coppola Francis Ford Coppola
C. Thomas Howell C. Thomas Howell
Matt Dillon Matt Dillon
Ralph Macchio Ralph Macchio
Patrick Swayze Patrick Swayze
Rob Lowe Rob Lowe

7.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: February 28, 2006
Based on the novel by S.E. Hinton that nearly every middle-school student has read at least once, tonight's film takes place in the fifties and centers around two "greasers" known as Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio) and Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell). It all begins when these two kids, along with their greaser friend Dally (Matt Dillon), decide to sneak into a drive-in movie theater for a night of entertainment. There, Dally finds himself seated behind a hot young redhead who he proceeds to heckle, and he basically makes an ass out of himself in front of both his friends and this lady. Johnny tells Dally to cool it, to which Dally gets up and storms off. The young lady then introduces herself as Sherri 'Cherry' Valance (Diane Lane) to these two boys, and along with Cherry's female friend, the foursome enjoys the movie before walking off into the night with Ponyboy's greaser friend Keith 'Two-Bit' Mathews (Emilio Estevez). Things take a turn for the worse, however, when Cherry's soc (pronounced "so-sh") boyfriend and his friends drive up... and needless to say, they're not too happy to see these lowly greasers hanging around with Cherry. Some fierce words are had and some weapons are drawn, but it ends at that for the moment.

With the night seemingly over, Two-Bit takes off and both Johnny and Ponyboy decide to head home. Johnny's house is the first stop, but the two find out that his parents are fighting before they even get to the front door, so the two decide to kill some time in an empty lot. After killing said time, Ponyboy goes home and Johnny stays to spend the night in this lot. Upon arriving home, Ponyboy's older brother and legal guardian Darry (Patrick Swayze) throws a fit about him having been out so late and, against the pleadings of his brother Sodapop (Rob Lowe), proceeds to push him to the floor. Ponyboy runs out the front door and back to the empty lot, with the plan of both he and Johnny running away. Cooler heads eventually prevail, and the plan then turns into cooling off in the park for a while before returning home. When they arrive at the park, the car full of socs that spotted them with Cherry earlier drives by, and as luck would have it, they spot these two greasers out by their lonesome. A beat-down ensues, which ends when Johnny pulls out his switchblade and murders one of the socs. The movie just continues onwards from there, but I feel as though I've spoiled too much already with this plot overview, so just give the movie a watch to find out what happens next.

Tom Cruise also has a part in this movie as a greaser, but he doesn't have a hugely memorable part. He gets more than a couple of scenes, but regardless, the part isn't very important. With him in mind and all of the actors listed up above, I ask you, dear reader: recognize just a few of the actors who have parts in this movie? This was the first big movie role for all of them with the exception of Tom Cruise (who appeared in Taps prior to this movie) and Matt Dillon (who appeared in My Bodyguard). Yes, this movie kick-started a lot of careers, and it's easy to see why; this is one hell of a good movie with excellent performances from (personal opinions aside) some of the most successful names in Hollywood.

What makes this movie work so well is the storyline. While it's not entirely faithful to the book (this is supposedly remedied in the Complete Novel version, which I have not seen), it's close enough and features all of the important things needed to move the film along and tell the story. The book, in case you weren't aware, has been required reading in schools from the seventies up until at least the time yours truly was in middle school, so that should speak volumes more than my words could about the timelessness and greatness of the story within those pages. While the film has been "Hollywood'ized" a bit for this presentation, it still stays pretty close to the novel, and as such, it's very storyline-oriented and does not feature a whole lot of fast-paced action. Sure, there's a couple of action scenes (especially towards the end), and there are a couple of humorous scenes, but for the most part, this story is told through the dialogue between Johnny, Ponyboy, and to an extent, Dally. While this may seem a bit dull to those of you who expect explosions and car chases in your films, it works out beautifully here when you figure in the excellent storyline and the great performances from all involved.

Overall, this is one of those rare films that will forever remain a timeless classic. Even though it was originally released over twenty years ago, it still doesn't feel dated (well, with the obvious exception of it being set in the fifties) and it's still a brilliant film. Stay gold Ponyboy, indeed. 10/10.
doney #1: doney - added 03/01/2006, 06:02 AM
i read this book in year 9, it was cool, also watched the movie, but dont remember much about it, coz it was sorta disjointed, only watching it in 50 minute periods after we all read the book....
monkeyman_24 #2: monkeyman_24 - added 03/04/2006, 09:33 PM
I read the book in grade 8 and we watched the movie... they were... meh. But the book was better.
AttnDefDis #3: AttnDefDis - added 08/27/2010, 10:30 PM
I also read the book and saw the movie in the 8th grade. Hee hee. Awesome. I remember liking the book better than the movie, but the movie was good. The best part was seeing all of those people who had become big names share the screen when they were starting out. Patrick Swayze was great.
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