When two poor greasers, Johnny, and Ponyboy are assaulted by a vicious gang, the socs, and Johnny kills one of the attackers, tension begins to mount between the two rival gangs, setting off a turbulent chain of events.
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Richard Corliss Because it falls in with the undulating rhythm of the life of its heroes, for whom a fatal fight and a quiet night have almost equal importance, the picture never manages to reach the peaks of satisfying Hollywood melodrama.
Variety Staff Well acted and crafted but highly conventional.
Dave Kehr The film is unremitting in its morbid sentimentality, running its teenage characters through a masochistic gamut of beatings, killings, burnings, and suicides.