Characters / The Outsiders

The Greasers

Ponyboy Curtis

The main protagonist of the book. His parents died when he was younger, so he lives with his two brothers, Sodapop and Darry. He's fourteen, and very intelligent; he even skipped a grade. Played by C. Thomas Howell in the film.

  • Badass Bookworm: Definitely takes his school work the most seriously.
  • Berserk Button: Being called "white trash with long greasy hair".
  • Break the Cutie: He's the youngest member of the group, and he sure does go through a whole lot. Getting wrapped up in a murder, running away from home, dealing with the death of his best friend.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: To some extent.
  • Hero Worship: When the gang is introduced his description of his brother Sodapop makes it obvious just how much he admires him. He even mentions loving Soda more than he did his own parents.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Just when you think he's had one, he finally passes out for three days after Dallas dies.
  • The Hero
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: He's really fond of his hair, and Johnny even tells him that he and Soda had the coolest hair in town. Too bad for Pony, because he has to cut and bleach it after he runs away.
  • Tagalong Kid: Played with in that the gang consists of the childhood friends of his older brothers, but Steve seems to be the only one that truly considers him as such. He's shown to hang out with Dallas and Two-bit without the presence of either of his brothers, and is very close with Johnny.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?

Johnny Cade

Sixteen years old and Pony's best friend. Both of his parents are abusive, and his real family is the gang. Played by Ralph Macchio in the film.

  • Abusive Parents: His father beats him every time Johnny is home and his mother ignores him.
  • Beware the Nice Ones / Beware the Quiet Ones: He was always nice but after his jumping he became even quieter and started carrying a switchblade with the intent to kill whoever try to jump him like that again which he does.
  • Break the Cutie: Four months before the start of the story, Johnny got jumped by four Socs and got badly beaten, since then, Ponyboy describes him as being constantly jumpy and is very sensitive.
  • The Chick
  • Hero Worship: As stated by Ponyboy, Johnny completely idolizes Dally.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: It was ultimately the fire rescue which killed him, that helped increase his and Ponyboy's chances of getting cleared of the murder charges that would have put Johnny in jail and Ponyboy into a boy's home.
  • I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: Bob. Good thing he did though, or else Pony would be dead instead.
  • In-Series Nickname: Johnnycake.
  • Team Pet: Described as being the gang's and, separately, Dally's pet.
  • Tempting Fate: Not that Johnny himself ever did, but it is mentioned a few times throughout the novel that the gang couldn't get along without Johnny. Look at what happens after he dies.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: He's undoubtedly more pure of heart than just about everyone else in the story, and ultimately dies from his injuries saving children from a burning building.

Sodapop Curtis

Pony's older brother, the middle child. Though smart and handsome, he's a dropout who works at the same gas station as his older brother, Darry. Played by Rob Lowe in the film.

  • "Awesome McCool" Name
  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Ponyboy, more so in a lovable way than Darry, who lets it out by yelling at him.
  • Bishōnen
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Ponyboy states this about him in the book, saying he always runs around in socks.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: In the final chapter, he is finally overcome by everything that's happened, and what finally drove him to the breaking point is when Sandy returns his letter unopened.
    • He has another one when he's finally had enough of his brothers' arguing and putting him in the middle, tearfully reminding them that all they have is each other.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Steve.
  • The Lancer: Shares this with Dallas.
  • Mr. Fanservice
  • Nice Guy
  • Only Sane Man: Often has to mediate between his brothers.
  • Papa Wolf: Not as much as Darry, but still has his moments. After the rumble Ponyboy sees him straddling an unconscious socs muttering to himself, later Darry explains that the Soc was the one who kicked Ponyboy in the head and Sodapop kept pounding him during the rest of the fight.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?

Darrel "Darry" Curtis Jr.

Pony and Soda's oldest brother, who took over the family after the death of their parents. He's often a jerk to Ponyboy, but this is really just how he expresses his feelings. Played by Patrick Swayze in the film.

  • Adult Fear: Ponyboy running away. Made worse when he meets up with Johnny, get’s jumped by Socs, accidentally gets caught up in a murder, and has to run from the law.
  • Aloof Big Brother: His relationship with Ponyboy has some strain, mainly because of all the other responsibilities he's saddled with.
  • Anti-Hero: Though less so in the film.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Though Pony has his doubts that it’s really there.
  • Big Good: As the oldest greaser, he's the unofficial leader.
  • Blessed with Suck: Multiple times, Ponyboy mentions that the only thing that separates Darry from being a Soc is the gang, and because of their parents dying, he couldn't go to college, and had to look after Pony and Soda.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's tough on his brother and seems to view him as an annoyance, but he does love him and watches out for him.
  • The Leader: Unofficial one, being the strongest and oldest.
  • Papa Wolf: He always look out for Ponyboy during a rumble (Soda can handle himself).
  • Promotion to Parent: Their parents passed away in a car accident, leaving him to figure out how to keep themselves fed and a roof over their heads.
  • Team Dad: Team Big Brother is probably more appropriate, but all the other greasers, even Dallas, look up to him as a leader.

Dallas "Dally" Winston

The roughest member of the gang, who has also been to prison the most. He's Johnny's idol. In the film, he's played by Matt Dillon.

  • Anti-Hero: When Pony tells him that he and Johnny murdered Bob, he helps them by giving them the supplies they’ll need to temporarily go up to an abandoned church.
  • Despair Event Horizon: He loses it after Johnny's death
  • Freudian Excuse: Dally became a hardened thug because he would have died years ago if he didn't, his father didn't care about him and grew up on rough streets.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's resigned to the fact that he is a worthless criminal, it's even stated in the novel that he always gets what he wants, but there isn't anything he wouldn't do for the other greasers.
  • The Lancer: Shares this with Soda.
  • Incoming Ham: During the rumble scene when he busts out of the hospital.
    Dallas: Don't you know a rumble's not a rumble without ME!
  • Large Ham
  • Lovable Rogue
  • Suicide by CopTricks the police into shooting him by pointing an empty handgun after he robs a store after Johnny's death.
  • Undying Loyalty: He may be a delinquent with a rap sheet a mile long, but once he's your friend, he's your friend for life.

Keith "Two-Bit" Mathews

Another member of the Greaser's gang. Played by Emilio Estevez in the film.

Steve Randle

Another member of the gang, who has been Soda's best friend for as long as he can remember. He doesn't particularly like Ponyboy, but he's not a jerkass. Played by Tom Cruise in the movie.


Cherry Valance

A high school cheerleader who Johnny and Pony meet at the movies. She takes a liking to Ponyboy, stating that he's not like other Greasers, and this was enough to eventually open her eyes to what they are really like. Dated Bob before he was killed by Johnny. Played by Diane Lane in the film.


Cherry Valance's boyfriend before he attempts to jump Pony and Johnny, and ends up getting killed by the latter. Played by Leif Garrett in the film.

  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Apparently it's only when he is drunk that he does so much bad stuff.
  • Asshole VictimHard to feel sorry for him when he's stabbed to death by Johnny.
  • Big Bad: The closest thing the book has to one, since he's the Soc who bullies Pony and Johnny the most. After he dies about one quarter of the way in, he becomes a posthumous Bigger Bad.
  • Hidden Depths: According to Cherry, who says that he could be sweet sometimes. Randy also liked him for some reason.
  • Jerkass
  • Karmic Death
  • Spoiled Brat: Randy even laments that he'd probably still be alive if his parents had disciplined him once in awhile.

Randy Adderson

Bob's best friend, and one of the boys from the group of Socs that jumped Johnny on the night that Bob was killed. He refused to participate in the rumble. Played by Darren Dalton in the film.

  • Dirty Coward: A possible interpretation.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The day before the rumble, Randy seeks out Ponyboy to tell him that he (Randy) will not be participating. Not only that, but he practically pours his heart out to the younger boy, admitting that the Soc-Greaser feud is nothing but an exercise in futility and that he's so sick of all the fighting that he's ready to leave town.
  • Hidden Depths: He's not just some jerkass with nothing to do but jump Greasers.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Possibly...? If any of the Socs reach this level, it's him (aside from Marcia and Cherry). He didn't stop David from almost drowning Ponyboy, but Bob's murder definitely triggers something inside of him.


A friend of Darry's while he was in high school. They were both on the football team, but he was able to go to college when Darry wasn't, and they now hate each other. Darry was able to release his jealousy on him during the rumble.

  • Face–Heel Turn: This is implied, as he and Darry used to be friends, but after years without seeing each other, they end up facing off at the rumble instead of making up.
  • Informed Ability: The whole reputation of Paul playing on the same football team with Darry implies that he is just as tough as Darry. Yet Darry lays him out in the first few punches before he runs away.
  • Jerk Jock


Cherry's best friend and Randy's (possibly former) girlfriend. She was with Cherry at the movie theater when they met Pony and Johnny.

  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: She only appears once in the beginning of the book before disappearing. She does, however, reappear in the short-lived TV series.