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by S. E. Hinton

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Differences Between The Outsiders Book And Movie

What are all the differences between the movie and the book The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton?

Differences between the movie and the book versions of The Outsiders include that Sodapop is more developed as a character in the book, that Dallas Winston appears with black hair in the movie when he had blonde hair in the book, and that the geographical divide between the rich Socs and the greasers is between the west and east sides in the book but the north and south sides in the movie.

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Bullgatortail hits the nail on the head when naming the differences here, but I would like to expand upon the one that I thought was the most glaring when first reading the book and watching the movie (and then using the movie to teach the book for many years):  the neglect of the character of Soda.  Let us look at the character of Soda (full nickname of "Sodapop") in the book and then conclude with what we know of him in the film.

As Ponyboy 's big brother, one would think Sodapop Curtis would have received a bigger billing in the film.  Soda is almost seventeen and has dropped out of high school.  Regardless, he is the guardian of the Curtis family and always attempts to make peace.  He is also the most gorgeous of the Curtis brothers.  Sodapop got his nickname because of how happy and cheerful he always is.  He has no need for liquor because he gets drunk on life, especially anything having to do with horses or rodeos.  Sodapop is also a very understanding character who always...

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James Kelley eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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jmtn | Student

These are both great responses. To expand a bit: the differences between the film and the novel depend upon which version of the film you’re watching. The original version, released in 1983 begins later in the plot, at the point where Ponyboy and Johnny meet Dallas and go to the movies. The recut film, released in 2005, includes a new, extended opening scene, featuring Ponyboy’s voice over, his walk home from the theater, and the inciting incident of the Soc’s jumping him.

Does the difference matter? It does. In the original film, the first conflict between the groups occurs when Two-Bit, Johnny, and Ponyboy are walking the girls, Cherry and Marcia, home from the movies, and encounter their boyfriends. In this scene in the movie, it appears that both groups are equally aggressive, and they are equally eager to engage in a fight.  When Pony and Johnny meet the Soc’s again, in the playground, resulting in Bob’s death, it is an extension of what appears to be the central conflict – whether or not the Greasers have “picked up on” the Soc’s “women.”

Compare this to the first conflict in the recut film: Ponyboy is walking, alone, coming home from the movies, and not looking for trouble. He is outnumbered and can do little to protect himself. In the aftermath Pony is shaken, Johnny is nervous and withdrawn, and the gang discusses “normal” issues like homework, going to the movies, dating, etc.

The result is that in the original film, the audience has less sympathy for the Greasers. It seems that both sides are equally aggressive and equally guilty of prolonging the ongoing feud. The recut, 2005, film, is more closely aligned with the novel, showing Ponyboy as a reluctant aggressor, who, like Johnny, is a victim trying to survive in a hostile world, and live a normal, peaceful life.