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The Outsiders: The Complete Novel (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

The poor Greasers and the rich Socs clash in this teen drama about class distinctions and teen angst based on the S.E. Hinton novel.

Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 film The Outsiders from the S.E. Hinton novel was a very important film for me in my early teens, as it must have been for many other young teenagers and continues to be to this day. My Eighth Grade teacher assigned the novel to our class to read only a year or so after the film had been released and then I sought out the film that very summer. I was taken with the characters and the story that involved all youths, no real adults of note to be found.

The story, set in small-town Oklahoma, follows the misspent days and nights of two different gangs of youths, the Greasers, from the south side of town, are the underprivileged “hoodlums” and the Socs, the well-to-do kids from the good side of town with all the advantage life has to offer. The social order means these kids from different parts of society aren’t meant to associate, but that doesn’t stop them from getting into violent altercations that will eventually lead to terrible circumstances for the young 14-year-old greaser Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell) and his friend, 16-year-old Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio). A violent clash with a group of Socs who cross the invisible border into greaser territory late at night and catch Pony and Johnny alone in a park at night will leave one Soc dead, and Johnny and Ponyboy on the lam in the country, where they will learn lessons about life, true courage, and coming of age.

Coppola’s film stars a virtual who’s who of 1980s “brat pack” stars, some of whom would go on to much greater heights. The late Patrick Swayze plays Darrel Curtis, Ponyboy’s oldest brother, Rob Lowe is Sodapop Curtis, the middle Curtis brother. Also starring is Matt Dillon as the somewhat dangerous Dallas, Emilio Estevez as Two-Bit, Tom Cruise as Steve, Diane Lane as the Soc girl “Cherry” Valance and Leif Garret as Soc Bob Sheldon.

The Complete Novel version contains added scenes that bring the film more in line with the novel, including an opening scene where Ponyboy is brutally attacked by a gang of Socs and a new ending. Big chunks of Carmine Coppola’s (Francis’ father) score have also been removed and replaced with songs apropos to the era and characters, including music from Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. The soundtrack has also once again been remixed from a 5.1 mix into a 5.0 mix. See below.

The Video

The Outsiders has been restored in 4K from the original camera negative and brought to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in a HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) HDR10 encodement framed at 2.39:1. It has a MaxLL 1484 and a MaxFALL of MaxFALL 146. The original cinematographer Stephen Burum was closely involved in overseeing the color timing and HDR for this new presentation. The presentation is wonderful upgrade over the previous HD release from StudioCanal I had reviewed a few years back, which looked quite smooth. Here, the film grain looks fully preserved, crisp, organic, and we also get spectacular new levels of detail, like the amount of nuance in clouds or the new level of depth obtained in shadows. WCG ‘pop’ wonderfully, especially in sequences like the “nothing gold can stay’ scene of chapter 14 at the 00:54:21 point. The colors of the sundown have beautiful nuance and the silhouettes of the characters against the backdrop help show off the added dynamic range.

The Audio

The Outsiders: The Complete Novel gets a new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 mix that does a strong job presenting the music of the era from Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others, while bringing some very active surround channels. Some may find the aggressiveness of the surround channels a little off putting for this film, but I find it quite fine and dynamic, bringing the sound alive in a new way. The sound on the theatrical disc is also very good, with the romantic score from Coppola’s father filling the channels with good balance.

The Supplements

Warner packs this release with a great selection of bonus features. The audio commentary from Coppola is superb and the featurette on the restoration reveals just how much this title has been upgraded.

  • Movies Anywhere Digital Copy Code
  • Complete Novel Cut & Theatrical Version
  • An Introduction to The Outsiders: The Complete Novel with Francis Ford Coppola (4K; 00:11:48)
  • Commentary by Francis Ford Coppola
  • Watch The Outsiders with the Greasers and a Soc—Commentary by Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, and Diane Lane
  • Restoring The Outsiders (1080p; 00:19:00)
  • Staying Gold: A Look Back at The Outsiders (1080p; 00:26:27) – Archival featurette with interviews with the cast, crew, and author
  • Outsider Looking In – Francis Ford Coppola in the key scenes of The Outsiders
  • Stephen H. Burum on The Outsiders (1080p; 00:12:31) – Stephen H. Burum, cinematographer and longtime colleague and friend of Coppola, offers his thoughts on working on The Outsiders and Rumble Fish.
  • Old House New Home (4K; 00:11:04)
  • On Location in Tulsa with S.E. Hinton (1080p; 00:07:34) – An archival featurette offers a tour of the Tulsa locations featured in The Outsiders with author S.E. Hinton.
  • Screen Tests and Auditions: Fred Roos and the Casting of The Outsiders (1080p; 00:13:58)
  • Cast Readings (1080p; 00:07:23)
  • Deleted Scenes (1080p; 00:14:44):
    • Pony Gets Jumped and Dallas gets Released
    • Pony, Johnny, and Dallas at the Rexall Store
    • We’re Disguised (1983 Version)
    • Fugitives in the Church
    • The Curtis Brothers Reunited
    • Pony and Dallas Visit Johnny’s Deathbed
    • Pony Calls His Teacher (Early Cut)
  • Trailers:
    • 2005 Re-Release Trailer
    • 2021 Re-Release Trailer

The Final Assessment

A fantastic upgrade of one of Coppola’s beloved classics, presented here in its theatrical and Complete Novel cuts.

The Outsiders: The Complete Novel is out on 4K Ultra HD November 9. 2021 from Warner Bros.


  • Rating Certificate: Complete Novel: PG-13 | Theatrical Cut: PG
  • Studios & Distributors: Zoetrope Studios | AMLF | Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Written By: Kathleen Rowell (screenplay) | S.E. Hinton (novel)
  • Run Time: 115 Mins. (Complete Novels) | 92 Mins. (Theatrical)
  • Street Date: 9 November 2021
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: HDR10
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH | French | Spanish
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