‘The Outsiders’ Still Inspiring Film Fans 36 Years After Its Release

The cast of the 1983 Warner Bros. film The Outsiders.
Warner Bros.

The iconic coming-of-age film The Outsiders continues to inspire film fans 36 years after its release. Based on the book by S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders chronicles the lives of a group of young men whose lot in life seems set, until an unlikely turn of events propels them in an entirely different direction.

The 1983 film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starred Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, and Leif Garrett. Several of the movie’s stars posted remarks about the film on their social media pages, showing how it not only changed the lives of those viewers who still watch it but the actors as well.

Rob Lowe posted a throwback photo of himself to Instagram decked out as Sodapop Curtis, celebrating the film’s release on March 26, 1983. He noted that the movie “changed his life” and that he was “honored” to be “part of a movie that continues to mean so much to so many.” He then told his followers to “Stay Gold,” an iconic phrase in the film spoken by the character of Johnny Cade (Macchio) as he lay dying.

“Stay Gold” is a reference to the Robert Frost poem Ponyboy recites to Johnny while the two are hiding out after Johnny killed Soc Bob. Ponyboy and Johnny were attacked in a park by Bob, Randy, and three other Socs. After they attempted to drown Ponyboy in a fountain, Johnny pulled out his switchblade and stabbed Bob to death.

A line in the poem reads, “Nothing gold can stay,” which is what Johnny told his friend during his final moments.

C. Thomas Howell, who played Ponyboy in the film, also posted to Instagram a note from a 6th-grade teacher, who used the book as part of their classwork, showing how both the book and the film still stand the test of time many years after its release.

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Shoutin’ out!????????

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The novel, written by S.E. Hinton, continues to resonate with young people. Hinton was just 15 when she started writing The Outsiders, continued to work on it when she was 16, and published it when she was 18-years-old.

Seven years after the film was released, a short-lived television series aired in 1990, but only lasted one season. An adaptation for the stage was also published the same year.

Hinton celebrated the 50th anniversary of the novel’s publication in 2017.

She spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the milestone event, stating “When a friend of mine got beaten up on his way home from school, I got mad and began a short story about a kid who got beaten up going home from the movies.”

As for her relationship with the film’s actors? Hinton noted that they are still close.

“We bonded really strongly because they’re these little boys, and they were tearin’ loose in Tulsa with no adult supervision, so I decided I was their mother and took over mothering ’em. I loved them very much, and they knew that I loved them very much, and they’ve never forgotten it. Rob used to call me Mom half the time.”