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The Outsiders Special Edition

4

A Francis Ford belter that doesn’t involve war or horse heads

The Outsiders review

The Godfather. Apocalypse Now. A vintage bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from the Coppola winery.

Francis Ford Coppola is well-known for a lot of things, but The Conversation and The Outsiders probably aren’t top of the list. Thankfully, these two oft-overlooked films are finally getting their due on Blu-ray with gold-plated, extras-heavy packages.

While The Conversation was Coppola’s brainchild, The Outsiders – a story of rival teen gangs in ’60s small-town America – is based on SE Hinton’s bestselling novel. The initial cut, trimmed by producers before its release and missing several key scenes, left many readers feeling cheated.

In the early ’00s, the director’s granddaughter asked him to show the movie at her school. “I found myself embarrassed to show a movie which had so much left out from the book,” Coppola explains on the disc.

The new cut, previously seen on DVD, gives his take a deeper, more artistic context. Seen through the eyes of dreamy narrator Ponyboy (C. Thomas Howell), the battle between Greasers and Socs becomes a true coming-of-age story.

What originally looked arty and contrived – impossible, bluescreen shots of rapturous sunsets and a town where adults are nothing more than bystanders – now seems in keeping with Ponyboy’s wounded romanticising.

A classic ’80s movie – with roles for everyone from Tom Cruise to Patrick Swayze and a terrific Matt Dillon – The Outsiders has matured like one of Coppola’s Napa Valley wines from a good movie to a really good one.

Forget about less. Sometimes, more is more.

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