Picks and Pans Review: The Outsiders: 25 Years Later

updated 09/15/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

• It was a movie that launched a generation of Hollywood heartthrobs and leading men. A look back at the '80s teen classic

Back in 1983, a group of up-and-coming young actors starred as warring teens in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders—the movie version of S.E. Hinton's beloved coming-of-age novel. Twenty-five years later, fans still approach Ralph Macchio—who played the ill-fated Johnny—to recite favorite lines. "People yell out, 'Stay gold!' and, 'Do it for Johnny!'" says Macchio, now 46. But the movie is also legendary for its cast, which included Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon and others who went on to stardom. "When it came out there was a sense of immediate chaos—I felt like we were a part of the Beatles," says C. Thomas Howell, 41, who played sensitive Ponyboy. The adulation continues today: After Howell's 15-year-old daughter recently screened the film for pals, "now she says, 'Dad, it's really creepy, all my friends think you're hot.'"

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