40 Years Later, Francis Ford Coppola Shares Audition Tapes of Future Stars of ‘The Outsiders’

THE OUTSIDERS, from left: Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon (rear), Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, 1983,
Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

It’s unlikely that anyone knew at the time what a success the classic 1983 film The Outsiders would become, along with the now-superstar cast. Or maybe Coppola knew, because he’s kept the footage of their auditions all these years, and on Wednesday, he released some of it on his Instagram.

In the reel, you can see clips of Tom Cruise, Diane Lane, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and Patrick Swayze auditioning for their roles in The Outsiders, based on author S.E. Hinton’s 1967 novel of the same name, which followed a group of rebel teens in rural Oklahoma.


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“42 years ago we cast The Outsiders in a unique way. We had all the actors together on a soundstage and would alternate different actors reading for different roles,” Coppola wrote in the reel caption. He went on to explain that having the actors watch each other audition “could’ve been a volatile situation, [but] it turned into a very positive one.”

“There emerged the natural respect and sense of colleagueship among them,” the filmmaker added. “The result worked beautifully and reminded me of my days as a camp counselor.”

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March 2023

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