I last saw this movie when I was about 10 or 11. All I remember is not liking as much as some of my friends, who worshiped this movie. Anyway, for all intents and purposes, this is a completely fresh review.
Guess what? I don't like it now. It's completely empty and ridiculous. The story is really thin and there is almost zero character development. The good guys are always good, the bad guys are always bad. There's no progression. Everything we see in the movie proves what we were told in the first 10 minutes. Cherry likes Pony Boy after about 20 seconds on-screen. This isn't development, it's just a plot device. Pony Boy is always a good guy, as is Johnny.
Ralph Macchio provides the only bright spot of acting in the movie. His story is the only character development in the movie. Besides that, Matt Dillon must be the most clean-cut, least-menacing bad egg in the history of movies. It's kind of laughable to watch him in this movie playing the "bad boy".
Watching this movie, one wonders what the hell happened to Francis Coppola after Apocalypse Now. Did he shut it all down since the 70s were over? Said "well, I guess I just ruled an entire decade of film. I better shut it down and give someone else a chance"? Because this movie is executed so poorly it's kind of sad. Really strange edits, and the final rumble has about the same level of drama as a boxer and a punching bag. Then the cheesy overlays of Johnny while Pony Boy reads his letter? Had the production value of a Lifetime movie.
JSS - Bad, Good movie. Supposed to be good, but sucked. At least I like to hope FFC was trying to make a good movie here.
If you want to see a much, much better movie about the division between the "haves" and the "have nots" also starring Ralph Macchio, re-watch Karate Kid. He's from Reseda, she's from The Hills. They swept his leg and he still won. A great movie. Reminds me that you're gold when you're a kid.