Blu-Ray Review: The Outsiders

The Outsiders has been recut for this new Blu-Ray and DVD release. Adapted from S. E. Hinton’s 1967 novel by Francis Ford Coppola. The Outsiders was originally brought to Coppola via a letter from a California high school class and their teacher, who had expressed that this was their favourite novel and pleaded from him to make it.  Some twenty years later, it has been revisited and restored, reintegrating 22 minutes of cut footage with a new beginning and ending. The original score composed by his father Carmine Coppola, has also been replaced with a soundtrack more appropriate to the era, including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Ventures.It is a coming of age story set in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The town is divided in to two groups “the socs” short for socials, preppy high schoolers who come from rich backgrounds and “the Greasers”, who are poor and supposedly the bane of this society. The two constantly clash in battles over turf.

Our focus is on Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell) and his friend Johnny Cade, two young greasers who get caught up in a fight with some drunks socs resulting in  Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio) killing one of them to defend his friend. They are forced to go on the run and tensions rise between the two gangs.

We mostly get caught up in the relationship of Ponyboy and his brothers Sodapop (Rob Lowe) and Darrell (Patrick Swayze) who are a disjointed family, but the nature of the Greasers is that they are like a family unit within themselves so all care for each other, even when put out by their own flesh and blood.

The casting is a bit of a marvel if you haven’t experienced this film before with it being a who’s who of 80s teen actors, with the likes of Tom Cruise & Emilio Estevez playing bit parts and Matt Dillion owning his role as the rebellious troublemaker Dallas Winston, he was essentially the 80s James Dean.

It has dated somewhat with very hallmark old fashioned filming techniques present, such as rear projected backdrops of the sunrise and superimposing of characters voicing. Though it is not a classic along the lines of films such as Standby Me, West Side Story or Rebel Without a Cause, it is enough of a classic tale, with great ensemble cast that it is worth a watch.

3.5/5

Extras: There is a massive host of extra features present on the Blu-Ray & DVD Special Editions of this film.

  • An Introduction with Francis Ford Coppola
  • A Feature Length Audio Commentary with Francis Ford Coppola
  • A Feature Length Cast Commentary with C. Thomas Howell, Diane Lane, Ralph Macchio and Patrick Swayze with contributions from Matt Dillon and Rob Lowe recorded separately
  • Staying Gold: A Look Back at The Outsiders Retrospective Documentary
  • Author S.E. Hinton on location in Tulsa
  • The Casting of The Outsiders Featurette
  • Cast Members read extracts from the novel
  • Archival NBC’s News Today from 1983 The Outsiders Started By School Petition
  • Six Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
Reviewer: Dexter Kong
Rating: 12 (UK)
Release Date: 31st October 2011 (UK)
Format: Blu-Ray & DVD
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio
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