Movie Reviews By Bil Antoniou
Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 1983. Zoetrope Studios, AMLF. Screenplay by Kathleen Rowell, based on the novel by S.E. Hinton. Cinematography by Stephen H. Burum. Produced by Gray Frederickson, Fred Roos. Music by Carmine Coppola. Production Design by Dean Tavoularis. Costume Design by Kathleen Gore-Misko, Ernest Misko. Film Editing by Anne Goursaud.
Whatever has made S.E. Hinton’s novella such a hit with juveniles for generations is nowhere to be found in this shallow adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola. Teens in a small Oklahoma town are divided into two categories: the Greasers, or poor kids whose fashionable jeans and slicked up hair mark them from miles away, and the Socs (pronounced SOshes) or socialites, the privileged kids in khakis and wool pullovers poised on taking over their father’s law firms and becoming major sock-drawer alcoholics; no love is lost between these two classes of rebellious kids. The story mainly focuses on C. Thomas Howell‘s Ponyboy, an innocent who is thrust into a world of endless violence after his best friend Johnny (Ralph Macchio) defends him against some nasty Socs and ends up killing one of them. The two hit the road, but a turn of events sees them back in town and needing to face up to a big rumble between their group and their enemies’ before anything is put to rest. Themes of brotherhood, family, or the destructive nature of American capitalism and class are ignored in this thimble-deep film, one more interesting for the appearances of many future Hollywood stars (Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez) than for anything substantial in its content.