Parents' Guide to

The Outsiders

By Carly Kocurek, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Coppola's take on classic book has strong violence.

Movie PG-13 1983 114 minutes
The Outsiders Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 33 parent reviews

age 14+

Messages aren't worth the costs

The Outsiders was assigned to my child's 6th grade class. When I watched the movie, I was appalled and surprised at the graphic nature of the violence. In addition to constant teenage drinking and smoking, the film shows a murder by stabbing, domestic violence, and the deaths of two of the main characters, including one who is shot to death by the police in the final scene. While the film does have some powerful messages about in-groups and out-groups and the search for identity, the additional messages about flaunting parental authority, how boys are to treat girls, violence as a method to solve problems, and the searing images of the brutal deaths of teenage boys is too much. Reading the book was intense enough for our child. 8th grade is the earliest anyone should have to watch this movie and even then much of the content should be unpacked and discussed. The film could be used to talk about grief, loss, and searching for a voice, but is too complex (and violent!) for a simple comparison of a novel to a movie adaptation. The book is probably 12+, but the movie is certainly 14+.
age 14+


this movie highlights drugs gang violence achohol and is very mature. my daughter had to read this as a book in English in the 7th grade i do not agree with this i think students should be at least 14 years old to read this book or watch the movie. if you allow your child to watch this i am about to tell you a lot of subjects in this movie are harsh and mature.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (33 ):
Kids say (150 ):

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.

Movie Details

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