Christine's take on what was cool in the 80s.

The Outsiders

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We went to see The Outsiders because my brother was reading the book for school at the time and he was desperate to see the film, as he was adoring the book. I didn’t object because I love going to the movies plus I was a huge Matt Dillon fan.

So, what can you say about this film that hasn’t been said already? It’s superbly cast and the story is, like the book, a classic. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. In a nutshell, Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell) yearns to prove himself and be accepted by his older brothers’ gang, while at the same time finding his first love and dreaming of a life beyond his dead end existence. His gang, The Greasers, are poor, live on the wrong side of the tracks and are considered troublemakers and hoods. The rival gang, Socs (as in socialites) are rich and thought well of. What’s different about The Outsiders, however, is that the rich kids target the Greasers and Ponyboy lives in constant fear of them, as does his good friend and fellow Greaser Johnny, who knows what it’s like to be beaten up by the Socs (and his father). There’s far more to the story than that of course – but that’s the basics.

Both my brother and I loved the film and it introduced me to Robert Frost’s beautiful poem ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay‘, which I fell madly in love with. We had no internet back in the day of course but, luckily my mum had a book on Robert Frost, which I sought out. I found the poem, wrote it out and stuck it to our fridge where it remained for literally years. I actually recently read a blog by a guy who says he and his friends still say: ‘Stay gold’.

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down today.
Nothing gold can stay.

The story just hit home with we teens of the day and the film was a definite hit. It also, obviously, launched the careers of the cast – many of whom would work together again quite a few times. Some actually consider The Outsiders the first Brat Pack movie due to Emilio and Rob’s presence although for me personally, I don’t feel it is. Despite the guys, I’d say it’s a pre-Brat Pack movie. It doesn’t have the feel of one; it’s set in the 60′s and the term hadn’t even been coined yet. But, that’s me.

For fun, and to spruce up the page – I’ll include extra pics below and elaborate on cast success and crossovers.


Darry (Darrel) Curtis – Patrick Swayze

Patrick would go on to co-star with C. Thomas Howell and Darren Dalton in Red Dawn. He’d come into his own in Dirty Dancing and Ghost.

Sodapop Curtis – Rob Lowe

Rob would go on to co-star with Emilio in St. Elmo’s Fire. I never really felt he reached his full potential, as The Outsiders and St. Elmo’s Fire were what he was most known for – until The West Wing of course.

Ponyboy Curtis – C. Thomas Howell

‘Tommy’ would go on to co-star with Patrick Swayze in Grandview USA and Patrick again with Darren Dalton in Red Dawn. Probably his best known film outside of The Outsiders is The Hitcher. He also had a lead role in TV’s Kindred: The Embraced before it was canceled due to the tragic and untimely death of co-star Mark Frankel.

Johnny Cade – Ralph Macchio

Ralph didn’t co-star with any of his fellow Greasers, sadly – but he did go on to kick ass in the magnificent Karate Kid. He also co-starred in the hit comedy My Cousin Vinny.

Dallas (Dally) Winston – Matt Dillon

Matt would go on to co-star with Diane Lane in Rumble Fish and had worked with Emilio previously on Tex – all 3 films (including The Outsiders) were based on S.E. Hinton’s books. Matt was pretty much already a star by this stage, having been in Little Darlings (where I discovered him) and My Bodyguard - both hits. He would go on to be in other hit movies The Flamingo Kid and acclaimed Drugstore Cowboy before the decade was out.

Keith (TwoBit) Matthews  – Emilio Estevez

As stated, Emilio had previously worked with Matt on Tex but he would go on to work with good friend Rob in St. Elmo’s Fire. Emilio is probably the most diverse of the group as he writes, directs and acts. He obviously made a huge name for himself in the 80′s as founder of the Brat Pack (with Rob) and starred in several hits including The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire and Stakeout, to name but a few.

Steve Randle – Tom Cruise

Mr. Cruise hasn’t co-starred with any of his fellow Greasers to my knowledge but he certainly made a name for himself. Much to my chagrin, Risky Business and Top Gun made him a star and because people are stupid he’s gone from strength to strength. In The Outsiders, he’s obnoxious and just tries too hard and frankly, nothing’s changed. He’s totally overrated and is a mediocre actor at best.


Sherry (Cherry) Valance – Diane Lane

Diane would go on to co-star with Matt in Rumble Fish. Unfortunately while critically acclaimed by several people, including none other than Sir Laurence Olivier, Diane has never made it big. The most I know her from is Judge Dredd and A Perfect Storm.

Bob Sheldon – Leif Garrett

Leif had already been a fairly huge teen idol due to music and The Outsiders was a brief return to acting for him. He’d been acting since 1969 but had diverted to singing and that’s how I knew of him, as one of my neighbor friends was mad about him. Leif didn’t co-star with any other cast members to my knowledge and due to drug problems & the 80′s being so different musically, he never really regained his star status.

Randy Adderson – Darren Dalton

(Poor Darren, this was the best pic I could find of Randy :/ )  Darren would co-star with Patrick Swayze and good friend C. Thomas Howell in 1984′s Red Dawn. He never really made a huge name for himself in anything else and is mainly a ‘guest star’ in TV shows. He also is a screenwriter, although sadly he’s never written anything big.


The Curtis Brothers

Sweetly, Dallas really cares about Johnny

bff’s Sodapop and Steve – tragically unexplored in the movie. one small scene would’ve sufficed.

Funnily, I always thought these two should’ve been reverse cast, as Ralph looks so much younger than Tommy. However, Tommy actually is younger than Ralph. Ralph was born in ’61 and CTH ’66. Ralph is 22 here!

Cherry actually likes Dallas but really, who wouldn’t? ^.^ Matt & Diane would go on to star in Rumble Fish directly after The Outsiders

Ralph didn’t shower for days and would rub dirt on his face to portray Johnny.

I love this scene. It’s so funny. As a point of interest that is  S.E. Hinton playing the nurse

I always loved Two Bit. Emilio played him perfectly. He was lovable/funny but you don’t want to mess with him

I loved this scene too. It has a poignancy to it that stays with you. You also learn of the Curtis’ parent’s fate.

I enjoyed the church scenes. You suspect the boys are perhaps more sensitive & a little more enlightened than the others and the church scenes explore that beautifully. They read; talk about their lives and enjoy sunsets

Matt actually thought he’d lost the part of Dallas because he was sent home from his audition so quickly. In fact, he’d been cast quickly because he was perfect. And he is. He’s just great.

I just love this pic. There’s the whole ‘wrong side of the tracks’ thing going on. Plus Tom looks cute

It was Emilio’s idea to have Two Bit really into Mickey Mouse. idk why Cruise thought Steve ate like a two year old …

This is a still from a deleted scene. Johnny’s drunken mother attacking him. Luckily, Two Bit walks by and steps in. Personally, I think they should’ve kept it in the film.

LOL @ Tom Cruise in this shot

As usual, Patrick was great. He brought strength and sensitivity to Darry along with a sincerity that he brought to all his characters.

The fantabulous cast

Again, if you haven’t seen this film, try to. It’s simply a classic.