- Angst? What Angst?: Grace gets raped by the brakeman and reappears after a Time Skip cheerfully in the background. Granted some time has passed but still. This is partly a result of the adaptation where Sally was the one who got raped and ended up killing herself from the trauma.
- Broken Base: The ending. One half feels that the original Downer Ending was more realistic and made a powerful statement about just how much of a Crapsack World society was at the time - and that a happy ending turns it into somewhat of a Broken Aesop. The other half says that a happy ending helps give some optimism to a very grim and bleak story.
- Fridge Horror: Although Aunt Carrie looked like she was welcoming the kids to stay with her, would she have made them work as whores to earn their keep?
- Heartwarming Moments: Eddie's father's reaction to him selling his car to get some extra money."I'll never be more proud of you than I am now."
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Once you realise where you recognise Eddie's voice from, you wonder why he doesn't just head to Pleasure Island instead.
- Ho Yay: Eddie and Tommy are incredibly close, care deeply for each other and have several touchy-feely moments. The end scene has Eddie giving Tommy an affectionate nuzzle. Early in the film he even refers to having a "date" with Tommy.
- Narm Charm: Eddie's little somersault at the end. Silly and a bit too schmaltzy sure. But still Adorkable, and he actually did the stunt for real.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Eddie's "Reason You Suck" Speech to the judge about how society tries to take the homeless out of sight and out of mind rather than actually doing anything about the problem. Also the very harrowing scene where the police - who admit they think this is extreme - hose down the teens to get them to leave the junkyard.
- Stoic Woobie: Eddie has to grow up very fast and very harshly, but he keeps on going and trying to make the best of a bad situation.
- Tear Jerker:
- Eddie selling his beloved car Leapin Lena just for $22 so his parents can have some extra money.
- Tommy having his leg amputated. Although his friend tries to comfort him, he gives a heart-breaking speech about all the things he won't be able to do now.
- Unbuilt Trope: Lord of the Flies is thought to be the Trope Codifier for the Teenage Wasteland. This predates it by nearly twenty years and reads like a deconstruction of said trope. The teens are forced into hardship by the economic troubles of the day and do what they have to do just to survive. They're treated like lowlifes by a society that would rather ignore them than help them.
- Values Resonance: The film's messages about how economic hardships affect the youth of the day are all too relevant in the wake of the 2008 recession - which saw many teenagers drop out of school or else be taken out simply because their families needed the money. The statements about homelessness and society's attitude towards vagrants have also aged very well.
YMMV / Wild Boys of the Road