What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that THE OUTSIDERS is a film adaptation of a novel detailing teen gang violence in the 1950s. Characters drink, smoke, get in fights, harass schoolchildren, use knives and guns, and commit murder. One character is severely burned and dies. Additionally, the film deals frankly with class stratification. Several of the main characters have troubled home situations.
What's the story?
The Curtis brothers and their friends run with a pack of wrong-side-of-the tracks greasers who smoke endless packs of cigarettes and spend most of their time looking for trouble. When Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell) and Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio) have a run-in with a pack of socs after a drive-in movie, Johnny stabs one of the socs. At the advice of their friend Dallas (Matt Dillon) they hide out in an abandoned church, but a tragic chain of events has already begun to unfold.
Is it any good?
THE OUTSIDERS, Francis Ford Coppola's inspired adaptation of S.E. Hinton's novel, combines a talented ensemble cast with an engaging story. It is in some ways a scare film. Characters suffer for their bad behavior, and occasionally the treatment seems a bit heavy-handed. Coppola's direction is brilliant, as evidenced by his attention to detail. In particular, the soundtrack manages to contribute to the drama without feeling manipulative.
The collaborative work of the young cast also serves as a testament to the director's skill. Coppola even wrenches a convincing performance out of Patrick Swayze as the oldest Curtis brother. As the pretty, popular cheerleader Cherry, Diane Lane manages to avoid coming across as condescending. The real stars of the show, however, are Howell as the sensitive Ponyboy and Dillon as the time bomb Dallas. The special edition DVD entitled, The Outsiders - The Complete Novel features several extras, including over 22 minutes of original cut footage, a new soundtrack featuring songs by Elvis Presley, and a news segment piece on the student petition that started it all.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about class divisions. Why does Cherry tell Ponyboy that she cannot talk to him at school? What makes the division between the socs and the greasers readily apparent? What can explain the origin of the rivalry between the two groups?