The coming-of-age drama, based on S. E. Hinton‘s classic novel of the same name, hit theaters in March 1983 and helped to kickstart the careers of several of its stars. In particular, Macchio received rave reviews for his turn as Johnny Cade in the battle of the Greasers and Socs.
“I read the book when I was 12 years old in seventh-grade English class. It was the first book that I ever finished cover to cover,” the Karate Kid actor told Parade in 2017. “S.E. Hinton — like J.K. Rowling of today — started a lot of young kids reading in school. I was immediately connected to it.”
Macchio was drawn to Johnny before even being cast in the project. “I always felt [Johnny] sounded like I looked,” he recalled. “Big puppy dog eyes, dark hair. He was the runt. I was never the biggest guy in class. But I didn’t come from his backstory by any stretch. … Johnny was a kid whose mother was an alcoholic. His father was abusive, and home was the last place he wanted to be. Those were the challenges, but I embraced them.”
Lowe, for his part, looked back on how Coppola turned Hollywood’s Brat Pack into “wrong side of the tracks guys,” sharing behind-the-scenes secrets with Kelly Clarkson in 2020. “[He] found a bunch of different actual greasers who were now grown-up adults and made us go spend the night and live with them,” the “Literally” podcast host said on The Kelly Clarkson Show at the time. “They came to us at rehearsal and, like, ‘OK, so we’re gonna divide you up. Rob, Tom, you guys are gonna go stay with Bill and Sandy whoever.’ And we just went to their little house and had dinner.”
The costars “ended up in the basement on two cots” — and neither of them were thrilled with the setup. “I mean, who vetted them? Really?” Lowe joked. “Do you think Francis Ford Coppola spent a lot of time vetting these people? I can tell you, he didn’t. He was [sitting] with an espresso and watching some fancy Fellini movie and went, ‘Yeah, yeah that sounds great’ and went back to his espresso.”
Decades after its release, The Outsiders is still widely recognized as an all-time classic film. Scroll down to see what the cast is doing now: