The Outsiders Movie Poster Image

The Outsiders



Coppola's take on classic book has strong violence.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: November 28, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 114 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Through their experiences, some of the characters begin to question, and in some ways reject, the shallow divisiveness of high school cliques. Characters resort to violence as a solution to their problems, with consequences.

Positive role models

While the circumstances are not the best, it's strongly implied that Ponyboy has changed for the better as a result of his experiences as a "greaser" from the wrong side of the tracks in constant battle with the "Soc" rich kids on the other side of town. Johnny also sees the meaninglessness of teen gangs fighting over "turf," in the bigger picture. Teen characters struggle amid tremendous obstacles: parents who died tragically, parents who are abusive and neglectful, poverty, and bullying.


Storylines revolve around fighting and 1950s gang violence. A character is stabbed to death. Three of the characters save the lives of children who are trapped in a burning abandoned church; the children are screaming and the three characters sustain serious injuries requiring hospitalization. Fighting with knives, bottles, and fists. Armed robbery, gun to the face of the clerk, who fires his own gun at the assailant as he makes his escape; this same assailant dies of gunshot wounds when surrounded by the police. Talk of physical abuse from parents. 


A teen girl rejects the drunken sexual advances of her boyfriend while they're at a drive-in movie theater. At this same drive-in, a clearly drunk teen raises the skirt of a teen girl, exposing her panties. A "greaser" teen asks a teen girl with red hair, in so many words, if her pubic hair is the same color. 


Occasional profanity: "damn," "son of a bitch," "bastards," "wiseass." Middle-finger gesture. 


Cans of Budweiser beer clearly marked. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent drinking and smoking among teens. Some of the teen characters appear and act drunk. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Outsiders is the 1983 Francis Ford Coppola film adaptation of a novel detailing the coming-of-age of "greaser" teens in 1950s Tulsa as they contend with not just bullying and physical attacks from the rich kids on the other side of the tracks but also abuse and neglect from their parents at home, poverty, and bleak future prospects. 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. A teen girl rejects the drunken sexual advances of her boyfriend while they're at a drive-in movie theater. At this same drive-in, a clearly drunk teen raises the skirt of a teen girl, exposing her panties. A "greaser" teen asks a teen girl with red hair, in so many words, if her pubic hair is the same color. Occasional profanity includes "damn," "son of a bitch," "bastards," and "wiseass," and expect to see the middle-finger gesture. 

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's 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 on the student petition that started it all.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about class divisions. Why does Cherry tell Ponyboy that she can't 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?

  • Why do you think people -- and teens in particular -- feel a need to form cliques, gangs, and social groups that stand apart from others? How does this movie attempt to show the camaraderie but also the big-picture absurdity in being involved too closely with cliques, gangs, and social groups? 

  • In what ways is this movie a powerful example of a coming-of-age movie? What do you think is the timeless appeal of "coming-of-age" movies? What are some other examples of this genre? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1983
DVD release date:November 20, 1998
Cast:C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio
Director:Francis Ford Coppola
Studio:Warner Home Video
Topics:Book characters, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, High school, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:114 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:violence

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byhonestlyme May 1, 2012

My Insider View on the Outsiders Movie. Oh, what a positive review this will be!

It is a very good movie, there are positive (good-looking) role models and positive messages. For example, when Darry gives up college to keep his family together. The Outsiders encourages compassion and loyalty, and to not be limited by the boundaries of segregation. I mean, when Randy says, " I never thought a Greaser could do something like that", I thought, he finally got it. It also shows that fighting doesn't really solve anything. I mean, where did that get Johnny? When Johnny says "There's no point", it is actually very logical. "You can't win, even if you whip us, you'll still be where you were before. The bottom. Greasers will still be greasers and Socs will still be Socs." -Randy. THAT was a breakthrough, because it not only states that even the baddest ( Greasers) can still do good things ( Pony and Johnny saving the kids), but it makes your brain take the initiative and think 'fighting won't do anything' or 'Look where fighting got them, it put Johnny and Dallas in the hospital for crying out loud!'. For inappropriate content, there is language (the strongest being what did you say to me, you little sh*t?), although, taking in the circumstances, they ARE teenage boys who are being chased by the fuzz and being beaten up by Socs sooo..... yeah. There IS smoking, the youngest (Ponyboy, 14 yrs. old) is a major smoker, and they drink some beer. There is a bloody scene where someone is holding a bloody knife and another certain person is lying in a puddle of blood, and a big fight/ rumble scene. In nudity, there are shirtless scenes, a tiny glimpse of underwear, and a part where Sodapop ( the most attractive of the whole group, played by Rob Lowe) is coming out of the shower in only a towel, and the towel almost falls off. If it weren't for Steve and Darry being in the way, I think they would have had to put in censors in the movie, if you know what I mean. In that part, some girls in my class went OMG SO SEXY!!!! But other than that, a thought-provoking classic with some humor in it,too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bydancegirl3697 August 28, 2011

Great movie and book :)

I absolutely love this movie! Its so amazing! I saw this in 7th grade and all my friends absolutely obssesed over it. Yes, there is some violence and cursing, but otherwise, this is a very good story which my friends and I can just quote over and over again.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written byplez4giveCrue781 April 14, 2011

Stay Gold, Ponyboy. Stay Gold.

This is my second favorite movie of all time, and probably my most watched. I have the lines memorized. The nice thing about this is, it stays true to the book. I read the book first which helped me to understand the backstory more. I first watched this when I was in 8th grade (about 12/13 years old). It doesn't sugar coat anything. It's raw, emotional, intellegent, and is one of the most brilliant YOUNG cast ensombles to ever be shown on screen. C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio (you know, The Karate Kid before he was The Karate Kid), Matt Dillion, Rob Lowe and Emillio Estevez (of the infamous 80s "brat pack", Diane Lane, Patrick Swayze, even Tom Cruise before he made it big. I recommend this movie. Hands down. Yeah, yeah, so there is some bad language (nothing obscene, grotesque, or demeaning), some teen smoking/drinking, and a rumble, but that's nothing compared to what kids see in magazines, video games, cartoons, or television shows. It's a good family movie, in the way it teaches no matter how hard life may seem, family bonds conquer all.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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