review for The Outsiders on AllMovie

The Outsiders (1983)
by Michael Costello review

Francis Ford Coppola's teen melodrama, which seems to include nearly every young, male star of the '80s, inflates S.E. Hinton's coming-of-age story to such Homeric proportions that it sometimes borders on camp, but it does have moments of lyricism. In a film that unsuccessfully attempts to imitate the angst and widescreen look of Rebel Without a Cause (1954), the script pits a group of wrong-side-of-the-tracks "greasers" against the affluent "socs" in '50s Oklahoma. The teen soap opera, shaped as a cautionary tale by youth writer Hinton, is so overcrowded with characters that all remain sketchy, and the consequent objectification of all the posturing young men in tight pants evokes a two-hour jeans commercial with a mildly homoerotic subtext. Matt Dillon is solid as the leader of the self-styled outsiders, and Carmine Coppola's expansive score supplies an emotional depth the film itself is unable to muster. The cast of future stars includes C. Thomas Howell, Diane Lane, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, and Ralph Macchio.