The film follows the story of Ponyboy, a young greaser living with his two older greaser brothers. For the youth in Ponyboy’s town, class warfare is an everyday occurrence, as the impoverished greasers and the upper class “socs” constantly antagonize each other.
The plot is kicked off when Ponyboy and his friend Johnny are attacked by a gang of socs, resulting in the death of one of their attackers. This escalates the already unstable relations between the two factions, and Ponyboy and Johnny have to go into hiding.
It’s a coming of age story, and mainly deals with themes of learning to understand those who are different and finding a meaningful purpose in life. On the whole I’d say this was an enjoyable and sometimes touching flick, but not incredibly memorable. The story sometimes feels aimless, and the plot seems better suited for a novel than the big screen. Still, there are some memorable characters and performances in the film, though it’s also padded up with dozens of excess characters we barely learn anything about (who I’m sure are more fleshed out in the novel.) The drama can feel a little hammy and melodramatic at times by today’s standards, but it’s never truly obnoxious. Also, look out for tons of big stars in the background, though none of them really play characters pivotal to the plot.
Overall I’d give this film a 7/10, a good watch but not something I’d really go out of my way to recommend to anyone. However, if you’re a fan of 80’s coming of age flicks or greaser movies, this film is probably worth your time. Also, if you’re a fan of the novel, it’s probably worth checking out this adaptation to see if the story “stays gold.”