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Re-reading The Outsiders with my child was a surprising treat

My son, who is now in the sixth grade, was assigned to read two books over the summer. I was so excited when I saw one of the books was The Outsiders. I loved reading that book when I was in school, and the movie adaptation was even better. As soon as he finished the book, I suggestion watching the movie.

What a treat to revisit the Greasers and the Socs! The opening music took me back in time to high school, when I watched this movie with my friends for the first time. As I watch with my son, I realized there was so much I didn’t remember.

The movie is over 30 years old

The movie came out in 1983. It was rated PG-13 for violence, teen drinking and smoking and some sexual content. It seems tame compared to many of today’s movies.

That cast!

I remembered the movie having a great cast, but could not believe just how great. How did they ever get so many stars to agree to be in one movie? Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez, Leif Garret and Diane Lane. Imagine how much a remake with these actors would have cost, even ten years later?

The characters have great names

I sometimes have trouble remembering what I ate for breakfast the yesterday, so I didn’t remember the names of every character. However, the minute my son mentioned the book, the names Ponyboy and Sodapop immediately came to mind.

Rob Lowe was not the star of the movie

In my memory, the never-aging, always-amazing Rob Lowe was the star of this movie. In reality, Sodapop has a relatively minor role compared to the characters played by Howell, Macchio and Dillon. Still, the scene where he comes out of the shower was worth the price of admission — or in this case, the rental. I hit the rewind button three times.

The Socs dressed awfully fancy for a brawl

The Socs show up to the big fight in Vineyard Vines attire. Who shows up to a fight where they know they are going to bleed and roll in the ground wearing a polo and penny loafers? No wonder the Greasers were victorious. They dressed to win.

The bonds of family and friendship

The Outsiders is a different type of love story. Cherry, Diane Lane’s character, is only a minor distraction. The powerful bond of these “brothers,” united by their common upbringing, makes up the heart of this story. Swayze does an incredible job conveying Darrel’s intense love for his biological brothers and his determination to keep their family together after the death of their parents. The Greasers are all brothers as well: an extended, somewhat dysfunctional, family connected by true love for each other. Johnny kills to protect Ponyboy. Ponyboy leaves his home to protect Johnny, and Dally takes his own life when he fails to save Johnny’s.

“Stay gold, Ponyboy”

Three decades later, there wasn’t a dry eye in my house when Johnny uttered these iconic last words. The simple phrase conveys his love and admiration for his best friend and his hope that Pony would change the world through his innate goodness.

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