The Cast Of 'The Outsiders:' Where Are They Now?

Entertainment | January 20, 2019

Left: Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio in The Outsiders. Right: Tom Cruise. Source: (IMDB/Warner Home Video)

In what movie can you find Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, and C. Thomas Howell? It's a heck of a cast, a who's who of male stars who went on to have massive box-office hits in the '80s and '90s, and it was assembled by director Francis Ford Coppola for the 1983 film The Outsiders. Where are they now, these young toughs?

This group of actors from The Outsiders included future action heroes of the silver screen, romantic and comedic leading men, teen drama mainstays, award-nominated performers, and, to be fair, a couple of one-hit wonders. The cast has been called a precursor to the "Brat Pack," a group of actors who were prominent in comedies and light dramas about young people in the '80s. 

Can You Imagine '80s Movies Without These Guys?

American actors Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, Thomas C. Howell, and Tom Cruise on the set of The Outsiders. Source: (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Outsiders takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a gang of "greasers" (or poor teens) from the poor side of town who are constantly at war with the "Socs" (wealthy teens) from the other side of town.

The seven characters in the film include the Curtis Brothers -- Darrel (Swayze), the oldest, Sodapop (Lowe), the middle brother, and young Ponyboy Curtis (Howell). Ponyboy and his friend Johnny Cade (Macchio) are the two characters caught up in the film's central drama, while Dallas Winston (Dillon), an older and more worldly gang member, has to help them out. Two-Bit Matthews (Estevez) and Steve Randle (Cruise) are also close friends of all the characters. Though only the Curtis brothers are related by blood, the seven young men constitute a family of sorts.

We're familiar with most, or all, of the cast of The Outsiders -- but where are they now?

Ralph Macchio Became The Karate Kid

Ralph Macchio as Johnny Cade. Source: (pinterest.com)

Today, Ralph Macchio is best known as Daniel LaRusso, a teen who learns karate to stand up to bullies in the 1984 film The Karate Kid and two sequels. He was also in My Cousin Vinnie, a moderately successful comedy that also starred Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. Macchio has recently returned to his Karate-Kid roots, reprising his character of Daniel LaRusso in the YouTube series Cobra Kai.

Now in his late 50s, he lives in Long Island, New York, and is not only an actor but producer as well and has two kids. Introduced by his grandmother, he first met his wife, Phyllis, a nurse practitioner, when he was 15 years old.

Patrick Swayze Stole Hearts As A Ghost And Dirty Dancer

Patrick Swayze as Darrel Curtis. Source: (pinterest.com)

Four years after The Outsiders, Swayze asserted himself as a major star and romantic lead with his role as a dancer in Dirty Dancing (1987) and followed that with another heartthrob role as a deceased lover opposite Demi Moore in Ghost (1990). Swayze was also a bankable action film star, as seen in Road House (1988) and Point Break (1991). 

Swayze was married for 34 years, to Lisa Niemi, up until his death at the age of 57. He lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in September of 2009, but he was a fighter till the end even helping to raise funds for cancer awareness.

Tom Cruise Is The Biggest Star Of Them All

Tom Cruise as Steve Randle. Source: (screenrant.com)

Tom Cruise had one of the more minor roles of the seven Outsiders boys but went on to become the biggest star out of the group. He established himself as an actor who could carry a film by himself in the comedy Risky Business (released the same year as The Outsiders), and broke through to the A list with Top Gun in 1986. Since the mid-'80s, Cruise has been a box office draw, starring in dramas, action films. He is the rare actor who can light up the screen in a big-budget blockbuster and also turn in nuanced, critically-acclaimed performances. Some of his best-received movies include Rain Man (1988), A Few Good Men (1992), Jerry Maguire (1996), Magnolia (1999), and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). He's also made six Mission Impossible movies, two Jack Reacher movies, and is scheduled to appear in a Top Gun sequel in 2020.

Cruise was married and divorced three times, Mimi Rogers (his first wife), Nicole Kidman (his second wife and who also played in Days of Thunder), and Katie Holmes (his third wife). He has three children, two of whom are adopted.

Ok, but here's the real question -- what was up with Tom Cruise's teeth in The Outsiders? In fact, the teeth you see in the film are Cruise's own. He caught a hockey puck in the mouth as a kid and lived for years with an ugly discolored chopper, which he chose to show un-capped for the movie. As we all know, Cruise went on to get his teeth fixed.

C. Thomas Howell Stayed Ponyboy

C. Thomas Howell as Ponyboy Curtis. Source: (screenrant.com)

As Ponyboy Curtis, Christopher Thomas Howell was the main character in The Outsiders (the movie, like the book, is supposed to be told from his point of view), and the film and role remain his most memorable work. His films following The Outsiders included Red Dawn (1984), The Hitcher (1986), and Soul Man (1986) -- popular movies, but not big hits. Howell has continued his career as a consistently working actor in both film and TV up to the present day.

He married Rae Dawn Chong in 1989 but was only married a short time and then later married Sylvie Anderson in 1992. Together they have three children and live in Stevenson Ranch, California.

Thee's Something About Matt Dillon

Matt Dillon as Dallas Winston. Source: (pinterest.com)

Handsome and brooding Matt Dillon had a hit with the feel-good retro movie The Flamingo Kid in 1984 but has often made artistic choices that don't rely on his matinee-idol looks. Films like Drugstore Cowboy (1989) and The Saint of Fort Washington (1993) won him critical praise, even if they weren't box office successes. Dillon has found success with roles in lighter fare, including Singles (1992), Beautiful Girls (1996), and There's Something About Mary (1998). His greatest critical triumph was his performance as Officer Ryan in the 2004 film Crash, which earned him Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations as Best Supporting Actor. He appeared in various music videos, such as “Fairytale of New York” and directed one called “Been There All The Time.” In a series called Wayward Pines, he played as a secret service agent. He maintained a relationship with Cameron Diaz for three years but broke up in 1998.  

Rob Lowe Went From The Wrong Side Of The Tracks To The West Wing

Rob Lowe. Source: (pinterest.com)

Rob Lowe is another Outsiders star who was considered one of the most handsome young stars of the 1980s. He was also a member of the "Brat Pack," a core of actors and actresses who appeared in numerous films together. Films like Class (1983), Oxford Blues (1984), St. Elmo's Fire (1985) and About Last Night (1986) established Lowe as a good-looking good guy -- a reputation that took a nearly fatal hit when a sex tape showing Lowe with an underage girl emerged in 1988. With time and humility, Lowe managed to re-establish his career and playing against type in comedies like Wayne's World (1992), Tommy Boy (1995) and the Austin Powers films. Lowe's greatest success was his run on the acclaimed political drama The West Wing, for which he was nominated for two Golden Globes and a primetime Emmy. 

Lowe met his wife, Sheryl Berkoff on the set of Bad Influence and together they have two sons, Matthew and John.

Emilio Estevez Was Prez Of The Brats

Emilio Estevez. Source: (mutually.com)

Emilio Estevez considered the unofficial "president" of the Brat Pack, starred in The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire, two Brat-Pack heavy films from 1985 that were directed by John Hughes and encapsulated the mid-'80s as seen by high schoolers and yuppies. Estevez also found box-office success with two Young Guns movies and the Mighty Ducks trilogy. 

He is the son of Martin Sheen and brother of Charlie Sheen, who are also well-known actors. Both Emilio’s father and brother both chose stage names rather than using their birth names. Emilio chose to be different. His father’s name is actually Ramón Estévez. Besides acting, Emilio also did some directing and his movie, Bobby was nominated for two Golden Globe awards.   

'The Outsiders' Remains A Compelling Movie To This Day

The Outsiders. Source: (pinterest.com)

The storyline of the movie centers around the Curtis brothers who lost their parents. The oldest brother goes to work to take care of his brothers but things heat up when the youngest brother and his friend Johnny end up getting attacked by a gang of the Socs for talking to their girls. As a gang of the Socs is dunking Ponyboy in the fountain appearing to drown him, Johnny stabs one of them -- and kills him. The scared Greasers flee the scene and seek the advice of Dallas, who tries to help them by getting them out of town. Towards the end of the movie, two of the “outsiders” die, but the movie still ends on a somewhat happy note. There is a lot of great acting in this movie that stirs emotions as well as holds its own as far as being entertaining.

The novel The Outsiders was written in 1967 by S.E. Hinton when she was still a student at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa. The book and movie also inspired a T.V. series in 1990 that picked up where the movie left off but only lasted one season.  

Tags: Brat Pack | C. Thomas Howell | Cast Lists From Popular Movies | Emilio Estevez | Francis Ford Coppola | Matt Dillon | Movies In The 1980s | Patrick Swayze | Ralph Macchio | Rob Lowe | The 1980s | The Outsiders | Then And Now | Tom Cruise | Tulsa Oklahoma

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Penny Chavers


Penny, besides writing, loves to spend her time with family and friends. In her spare time, she also enjoys playing the piano, board games, and taking online classes on topics that interest her.