When two poor Greasers, Johnny and Ponyboy, are assaulted by a vicious gang, the Socs, and Johnny kills one of the attackers, tension begins to mount between the two rival gangs, setting off a turbulent chain of events.
_**Artsy teen melodrama in mid-60’s Oklahoma from the perspective of a 16 year-old**_ In the Tulsa area in 1965 the rivalry between the Greasers (poor kids) and the Socs (rich kids) heats up after a gang member is killed. The Greasers supposedly responsible flee the area (C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio), but ironically end up being viewed as heroes. Matt Dillon costars while the notable peripheral cast includes the likes of Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, Diane Lane and Leif Garrett. “The Outsiders” (1983) was one of two films Francis Ford Coppola shot back-to-back based on S.E Hinton’s young-adult novels. This one was successful at the box office while the even more artsy “Rumble Fish” (1983) failed to draw an audience. Hinton began writing “The Outsiders,” her most popular novel, in 1965 when she was 16, inspired by two rival gangs at her school, Will Rogers High School, which is about 2.5 miles west of downtown. I bring this up because the movie definitely comes across as an overdramatic tale from the perspective of a teenager. The most mundane, trivial events are presented as life-or-death happenings, like going to a drive-in theater or facing your nemeses at a park where one person idiotically brings a switchblade to a fistfight. This explains why some people write the flick off as “the cheesiest and corniest movie ever.” In its defense, you have to acclimate to it in order to appreciate it. Go back to what was happening in your life when you were in your mid- teens and how a fistfight or breakup was an earthshattering event. The movie captures this very well. The original theatrical film runs 1 hour, 31 minutes, while the 2005 Director’s Cut runs 23 minutes longer and includes new music. It was shot in the Tulsa area. GRADE: B-/B