S.E. Hinton's novella detailing the lives of impoverished, small-town Oklahoma "greasers" and their struggles with the sadistic, overprivileged "socs" is a perennial favorite among young readers. When I learned that the movie had been made after an 8th grade class wrote a letter to Francis Ford Coppola urging him to do so, I decided to give the book a whirl, and kind of regretted doing so. Fortunately, however, this is one of those rare occasions where a film is better than the book, thanks largely to Coppola's visual stylings. The film is still hurt by the book's trappings and the acting is pretty atrocious, although I did enjoy Matt Dillon's performance in a cast of budding actors which includes Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Diane Lane, Ralph Macchio, and Rob Lowe.