The Outsiders (1983)
With this adaptation of S. E. Hinton's debut novel "The Outsiders", Francis Ford Coppola introduced a whole new generation of actors, who would go on to become some of Hollywood's biggest stars over the course of the next few years and decades. The story is a coming-off-age tale set in an unspecified American town during the early 1960s, where the dividing line between the north and south side of town, between the working-class "greasers" and the upper-class "socs", defined the upbringing, youth years and prospects for the future for all the characters we get to meet. Focusing on the greasers – and more on the ties and comradery between them than on the greaser culture as such – The Outsiders is a tenderhearted, unobtrusive film full of semi-obvious observations and character-developments. As such, it feels like the school essay that the novel more or less started out as. Still, the film has a perception and understanding for these kids, their time and their surroundings that makes it resonant and believable. Artistically, this is by no means Coppola's best work, and all of these actors would go on to deliver better work later on in their careers, but both their characters and their performances have stood the test of time quite well. Look for Coppola's pal Tom Waits in a cameo as a bouncer in a bar. C. Thomas Howell won the Young Artist Award for Best Young Motion Picture Actor for his performance as Ponyboy Curtis.