Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 film The Outsiders and his 2005 revisionary cut The Outsiders: The Complete Novel arrive on UHD in a nice 2-movie set from Warner Bros.
The Production: 4/5
In Tulsa, Oklahoma during the mid-1960s, a gang of poverty-stricken youths known as The Greasers are at constant odds with the more privileged Socs. While intoxicated, Soc member Bob (Leif Garrett) and his friends attack young Greaser Ponyboy Curtis in a jealous rage, thinking that 14 year old Ponyboy is making moves on his girlfriend Cherry (Diane Lane). Fearing that Ponyboy is being drowned, his friend Johnny (Ralph Macchio) stabs and kills Bob in self defense. The two young boys meet up with Dallas (Matt Dillon), out on parole, for advice. Dallas gives them $50, tells them to take a freight train to a neighboring town, and lay low in an abandoned church until he comes to find them. But the church catches fire while they are away, with local school kids trapped inside. Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dallas rescue the kids and then head home as heroes who must also face the circumstances surrounding Bob’s death, both with the authorities and with the Socs.
Legend has it that in the early 1980s, a class from the Sanger Unified School District in Fresno, California wrote a letter to Francis Ford Coppola asking him to adapt the novel by S.E. Hinton into a movie, enclosing a copy of the novel. Coppola was so moved by both the letter and the book that he purchased the film rights, acquired the financing, and shot the film on-location in Tulsa. The movie became a who’s-who of young talent shortly after its release, featuring performances by mostly unknown actors including C. Thomas Howell (his previous credit was a small role in Steven Spielberg’s E.T.), Ralph Macchio (whose next film would be The Karate Kid), Matt Dillon (his previous role was the lead in Disney’s Tex based on another S.E Hinton novel), Patrick Swayze (Skatetown USA), Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise (just months before Risky Business), Diane Lane, and Leif Garrett. Originally released in 1983, Coppola returned to the film in 2005 to re-edit the film to appease fans of the novel by including deleted scenes that were cut from that original release, and naming that cut The Outsiders: The Complete Novel. Coppola also rescored the film using popular songs from the era in which the movie takes place, removing much of his father’s syrupy instrumental score. This latter cut is a much deeper exploration of the characters, and is the preferred version by many, including myself. Warner has included both the 1983 theatrical and 2005 Complete Novel edition in this 2-disc set.
3D Rating: NA
For this release, Film Archivist and Restoration Supervisor for American Zoetrope, James Mockoski, has gone back to the original camera negative and scanned the footage in 4K, performing additional cleanup repair, and color timing before creating a new 4K digital intermediate for both versions from which this release was sourced. Each version of the film has its own UHD disc with HDR10, although for this review my main focus was on The Complete Novel. Much of the film has a cool blue tone to it (the exceptions being the bookends and the scene where Ponyboy and Johnny share their appreciation of the golden hour sunsets which are bathed in warm orange tones). Detail is very good, with a heavy but organic layer of film grain. Contrast is excellent, with deep black and even deeper shadow details during many of the darker nighttime sequences. Colors are natural and vibrant without appearing overly saturated. Purists will be happy that the film’s original red WB studio logo has also been restored on both versions.
Both versions have been remixed from their stereo sources, with the theatrical receiving a 5.1 mix while The Complete Novel receives a 5.0 mix, both in DTS-HD MA. Dialogue is mostly front and center in both versions, but surrounds have been mixed at an abnormally high volume, so much so that it often overpowers dialogue, and most of what is heard in those surrounds is music. Likely an artistic choice by Francis Ford Coppola, I found it highly annoying.
Special Features: 4/5
The newer extras can be found on The Complete Novel disc, while the older archival extras can be found on both discs. This set contains NO Blu-ray discs.
The Outsiders: The Complete Novel
**NEW** An Introduction to “The Outsiders: The Complete Novel” with Francis Ford Coppola (2160p SDR; 11:48): Coppola shares the letter he received from the Sanger Unified School District, discusses shooting the film in Tulsa, and returning to add many of the deleted scenes in 2005.
Audio Commentary with Francis Ford Coppola: Coppola discusses the making of the film and why some scenes were originally cut from the theatrical edition and now restored.
Audio Commentary with the Greasers and a Soc: Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe and Diane Lane discuss their experiences making the film. There is a 4 minute 40 second video introduction to this commentary track.
**NEW** Restoring “The Outsiders” (1080p; 19:00): Film Archivist and Restoration Supervisor for American Zoetrope James Mockoski, Colourist Gregg Garvin of Roundabout Entertainment, and Cinematographer Stephen H. Burum discuss much of the work that went into restoring The Outsiders.
Staying Gold: A Look Back at “The Outsiders” (upscaled 1080p; 26:27): The cast and crew look back at making the film.
**NEW** Outsider Looking In (2160p SDR; 7:51): Coppola discusses some of his favorite moments from the film.
**NEW** Stephen H. Burum on “The Outsiders” (1080p; 12:31): The cinematographer reflects on some of his favorite moments from the film and working with Coppola.
**NEW** Old House, New Home (2160p SDR; 11:04): Author S.E. Hinton and The Outsiders House Museum owner Danny Boy O’Connor discuss purchasing and restoring the house featured in the film.
On Location in Tulsa with S.E. Hinton (upscaled 1080p; 7:34): The author takes us on a tour of some of the shooting locations.
Screen Tests and Auditions: Fred Roos and Casting of “The Outsiders” (upscaled 1080p; 13:58): There are some familiar faces in this featurette, including Kate Capshaw, Anthony Michael Hall and Adam Baldwin.
Cast Readings (upscaled 1080p; 7:23): Over 20 years later, members of the cast read selections from the book.
Deleted Scenes (1080p; 14:44)
2005 Re-Release Trailer (1080p; 2:01)
2021 Re-Release Trailer (2160p HDR; 1:10)
The Outsiders (Theatrical)
Staying Gold: A Look Back at “The Outsiders” (upscaled 1080p; 26:27)
**NEW** Outsider Looking In (2160p SDR; 7:51)
**NEW** Old House, New Home (2160p SDR; 11:04)
On Location in Tulsa with S.E. Hinton (upscaled 1080p; 7:34)
Screen Tests and Auditions: Fred Roos and Casting of “The Outsiders” (upscaled 1080p; 13:58)
Cast Readings (upscaled 1080p; 7:23)
Deleted Scenes (1080p; 14:44)
1983 Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 1:10)
2021 Re-Release Trailer (2160p HDR; 1:10)
Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem both versions of The Outsiders in UHD on Movies Anywhere (although at the time of this review, it appeared that after redeeming your code, iTunes/Apple TV, Vudu, and Prime Video were providing only HD versions of the films).
The Outsiders looks terrific in UHD, but the new 5.1 and 5.0 sound mixes are a bit too heavy in the surrounds, and the digital redemptions are a bit frustrating.
Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.