The rivalry between two gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other.
- Francis Ford Coppola
- Kathleen Rowell
- S.E. Hinton
- Zoetrope Studios
Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1965. Fourteen year old Ponyboy Curtis is the youngest of three orphaned brothers who live on the north side of town, the proverbial wrong side of the tracks. Sensitive Ponyboy used to have a good relationship with his oldest brother Darrel, but since Darrel became the household caregiver, he is always on Ponyboy's case. Caught in the middle literally and figuratively is third brother Sodapop, who dropped out of school to work full time. They all belong to the Greasers, a gang of boys from the north side also from working class families, often broken. Ponyboy's main concern is that any problem they may encounter, especially in their Greaser activities, will lead to the authorities splitting up their family. He also believes Darrel would have outgrown them and become something in his life if it wasn't for his loyalty to the gang and the need to take care of the family. The rest of the world sees the Greasers as all the same - the face being Dallas Winston, the most volatile one who has just been released from prison - despite each boy having his own specific view of life. Similarly, the world sees the Socs (short for Socials), the Greasers' primary rivals, as all the same - rich spoiled entitled boys with a sense of superiority from the south side of town - despite again each boy being his own person. A connection between the two gangs happens in the form of Ponyboy and Cherry Valance, which doesn't sit well with Cherry's Soc boyfriend, Bob Sheldon. As a result, an incident occurs involving the Socs, Ponyboy and fellow Greaser, sixteen year old Johnny Cade, an equally sensitive boy who wants a better life for himself, but seems stuck in a downward spiral with parents who don't give him the time of day. Beyond Ponyboy and Johnny's lives being threatened by that incident, the Greasers and the Socs agree to a rumble to settle things once and for all. Some of the boys realize the rumble will accomplish nothing, with the questions being if they can convince their colleagues of the same, and if not what the consequences will be.