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

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The movie follows the plot very carefully. 

The movie and the book have a lot in common.  As a matter of fact, S.E. Hinton was involved in the making of the movie and was on the set with the actors. She also played a nurse in the movie (she is Dally’s nurse).  With the author so involved in the development and production, you could see that the film would be similar to the book.

The movie is from 1983 and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the director of The Godfather. The movie uses the Robert Frost poem mentioned in the book, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” to create its theme song.  The movie also begins with Pony writing his essay, which is the story that becomes The Outsiders.  We find this out at the end.  The basic plot and dialogue is the same, with the story following Pony (C. Thomas Howell) and Johnny (Ralph Macchio). 

There is a big difference between a movie and a book.  In a book you can be inside the characters’ heads and experience what they experience.  Movies try to create this same feeling through music, cinematography, and dialogue.  However, one of the biggest differences between the movie and the book is that the characters are not as well-developed in the movie.  It often just seems like a bunch of boys. 

Johnny and Pony go on the run, as in the book, and also hide out at the church. While there, they play cards and read Gone with the Wind.  They also watch the sunrise, and Pony recites the Robert Frost poem for Johnny.  This is a meaningful moment in both the book and the movie. 

"The mist was what was pretty," Johnny said. "All gold and silver."

"Uhmmmm," I said, trying to blow a smoke ring.

"Too bad it couldn't stay like that all the time."

"Nothing gold can stay." I was remembering a poem I'd read once. (Ch. 5) 

While character development may not be as strong in a movie, exciting events can sometimes come to life.  The rumble between the boys, and Dally’s death, are interesting to watch.  This is an advantage that movies have over books. 

So, in summary, the movie does not have as much character development because we lose Ponyboy’s thoughts.  Johnny and Dally’s death lose some of their meaning.  However, the movie does generally follow the plot of the book and it is fun to watch some of the events come to life.

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The Outsiders

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