Francis Ford Coppola was one of the best American directors of his generation, albeit his later work is not on a par. He formed part of the ‘New Hollywood’ movement of the 1960s and 1970s along with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas and Brian De Palma. He’s most famous for making the Godfather films and Apocalypse Now. In 1983, he made The Outsiders with cast of young actors who went on to become familiar faces. Coppola returned to the material in 2005, adding 22 minutes and re-released it as “The Complete Novel”.
After the death of his parents, Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell) lives with his older brothers Darry (Patrick Swayze) and Sodapop (Rob Lowe) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Along with Johnny (Ralph Macchio), ‘Dally’ (Matt Dillon), ‘Two-Bit’ (Emilio Estevez) and Steve (Tom Cruise) they’re part of the ‘Greasers’. A gang whose deadly enemies are the ‘Socs’. Ponyboy falls for the wrong girl (Diane Lane) which results in a tragedy which will change their lives forever.
The Outsiders: The Complete Novel is a remarkable coming-of-age story made with a talented cast and featuring beautiful cinematography (Stephen H. Burum). While I think it’s fair to say that the Director’s Cut doesn’t improve the film overall, there’s still the bones of a skilfully made yarn on show. It does lose its way (slightly) during the second half, largely due to the additions, but if you haven’t seen The Outsiders: The Complete Novel before it’s well worth your time.
The 4k restoration of The Outsiders: The Complete Novel is released in UK cinemas on 15 October.