For many people, when they here the words ‘Brat Pack’, they think of those great 80’s John Hughes movies such as ‘The Breakfast Club’ & ‘St. Elmo’s Fire.’ Although Hughes ran with the ‘Brat Pack’ baton, he wasn’t biological father of the group. That honor goes to Francis Ford Coppola and his lesser know, but equally classic 80’s film – The Outsiders.
The movie brought together an incredible cast of young stars, including C. Thomas Howell (probably best know now for TV’s Southland), Matt Dillon (There’s Something About Mary, Wild Things), Ralph Macchio (the original Karate Kid), Rob Lowe (St. Elmo’s Fire, The West Wing), Emilio Estevez (The Breakfast Club, Young Guns, Bobby), Tom Cruise, and the late great Patrick Swayze.
The Outsiders is a coming-of-age drama set in the 1960’s American Midwest, following a rivalry between 2 gangs – ‘The Greasers’, who are, as you would expect, a denim and leather clad street kids, and the opposing ‘preppy’ ‘Socials’ (Socs). When Ponyboy Curtis (Howell) and Johnny Cade (Macchio) have a chance encounter with one of the Soc’s girlfriends (Diane Lane), the violence escalates, leading to Johnny stabbing one of the Socs in self-defense. Scared for their lives, the Greaser boys go on the run, until an unexpected a act of heroism leads to the Johnny getting arrested for murder, and the rivalry between the 2 groups coming to a violent conclusion.
This version of The Outsiders includes a number of additional scenes which weren’t in the 1983 release, helping to bring it closer in line with the original S. E. Hinton novel. Couple that with the stunning transfer of the original widescreen print, the movie has never looked better. The sound is equally well presented, with a classic hits from Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis setting a great tone for the film.
The disc comes jam-packed with extras, including a short intro and introspective commentary from director Francis Ford Coppola. Many of the cast also give an entertaining commentary track including C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Diane Lane, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe and the late Patrick Swayze. Additional goodies include Staying Gold: A Look Back at The Outsiders Retrospective Documentary, a featurette on the casting, cast members reading extracts from the original novel, archival news footage, and of course the traditional deleted/extended scenes and theatrical trailer usually found on these releases.
This really is the definitive release of The Outsiders, and with hours of extras is worthy addition to any movie collection, or as a great Christmas gift.
9/10 – The definitive release of a classic 80’s movie.