This pack contains a photocopiable Student's Guide and a Teacher's Commentary

In the Student's Guide the film is segmented into units of 10-15 minutes duration. This facilitates work in the normal class period. There is a series of questions for each sequence that guides the viewing of the students and encourage them to keep a personal Response Journal.

The Teacher's Commentary is a well researched separate booklet which covers issues raised in the guide.

Each pack is priced @ € 40.00, postage free. Titles are shipped on receipt of payment. Delivery is by Standard Post: next-day delivery in Ireland, and 2-10 days for international orders.

Extract from Teacher's Commentary​

Let the film roll until Two-Bit and the boys part outside Johnny's house

Dallas looks, every inch, the ‘hood’ with his jerky movements, his leather jacket, his greased hair and shades. He looks cheekily after the girl who passes by. When asked about his plans he declares that whatever they end up doing for the evening it won’t be anything legal. The aggressive beat and vocals of "Gloria", by Van Morrison, suit this mood of rebellion and "aggro". The price in the shop window, 75c, and the automobiles set the action in the 1960’s.

The knife fight seems to spring from nowhere. It is a perfectly normal means of expression here. The police arrive and our three move on. This sets the atmosphere of confrontation and the use of violence to settle disputes. Adults are a rarity in this world and those who do appear are often shown as incompetent and as very poor role models. The exception is Ponyboy's parents but they are dead. The film is from his point-of-view so we get the impression that nobody can measure up to them especially to his father.

Dallas is very rough with the little kids. He declares his dislike for them and chases them off his patch. Pony and Johnny help him. They are easily led by him, but later Johnny will stand up to him in the drive-in, surprising everyone, including himself. Then, after he has let beauty and grace into his soul in the dawn scene, he will do what is right by the kids in the church, in spite of what Dallas thinks. Dallas says he doesn’t like kids and later tells Pony to look after himself and nothing can touch him, but he has a soft spot for Johnny and tries to protect him. This sense of responsibility he feels towards Johnny is something that he doesn’t understand, something that he can’t work out for himself because he has never had anyone in his own life to take responsibility for him. When Johnny dies he goes berserk.

The boys dodge paying into the drive-in. Later we see two Socs getting out of the boot of a car, so there is not much difference between the groups in this respect - they are all teenagers and get up to mischief. Cherry is having a row with Bob and leaves him because of his drinking. Dallas is very rude to her. "I'm never nice!", he tells her. He just can’t bring himself to communicate in a straightforward way.

The action on the drive-in screen parallels the rejection of Dallas, and the slapping of Two-Bit. This is often the case in films when a picture, screen or radio will comment, often ironically, on the main action. One character is thrown out of a window and another is hit over the head by a scantily clad lady. Two-Bit, like Dallas, is dressed in leather and wears his hair greased back. He, too, enjoys being offensive. The girls he offends are dressed like Cherry in neat, modern clothes. Ponyboy and Johnny are not wearing leathers and they are younger than the rest. As he declares that Sodapop is a drop-out his tone of voice tells us that he is slightly ashamed. He goes to school and is civil, so he would seem to have more in common with the Socs than with the Greasers.

Dallas is not used to having people talk back to him. Cherry surprises him, but Johnny bowls him over completely. This shows that Johnny is not totally sheepish. He can stand up for himself and what he believes in.

In the shop the Greasers or Socs can be easily distinguished by their leathers or baseball jackets, respectively. Ironically, as Pony and Cherry get talking and sharing ideas across the social barriers of Greaser/Soc and Northside/Southside, we are shown two near-rows between other members of the groups. Pony and Cherry are the exception in this world of rigid conformity and social taboos. He tells her that Johnny is so nervous because he has been recently beaten up by a Soc, and was marked by his rings. The close-ups later of Bob suggest that he is the culprit, in Johnny’s eyes at least. Cherry tells him not to have any illusions about the Southside, that things are rough all over. The Northside/Southside divide is re-inforced by Two-Bit. The suggestion is that he comes from the wrong side of the tracks.

As they walk along the outside of the drive-in after the show, Cherry questions Pony about his older brother, Darrel, who now has the role of head of the family foisted on him. Pony leans on the fence and we see a pole dividing the pair of them in the composition. Fences and divisions! Pony and Cherry seem to be destroying them but they still stand.

We find out that all is not well for Pony at home. He blames Darrel but maybe he’s still grieving for his parents and doesn’t realise the hard task that Darrel has landed himself with in trying to keep the family together. Darrel later refers to the fact that the police would have the two younger brothers in a boys’ home if they got into any trouble.

As the fight looms the cutting is very fast. The camera shows the boys in close-up and Johnny’s eyes are drawn to Bob’s rings. Close-ups like these invite us to look into the minds of the character as we can see every detail of their facial expression. Two-Bit has no hesitation in meeting force with force. Disputes are settled by violence here.

Despite all the communication and the intimacies of the evening, social taboos will not allow Cherry to recognise Pony in school. She says that he is a "..... nice boy" and knows that they have a lot in common but more separates them. The fences stand!

The aggressive "Gloria" theme creeps in again as the boys gather their things after the row. This music unifies the action of this first section of the film - the evening starts and ends with it - and it captures the aggression and the closeness of violence to all the characters in this world. Talking here is the exception when a dispute arises. Might is right.

Two-Bit throws away Marcia’s number, as he recognises the futility of trying to break the fences down. So does Cherry. Pony seems to be the only one who can behave as an individual, without the restrictions that his group would impose on him. Johnny has shown that he may be that way inclined too, when he speaks up to Dallas. Two-Bit recognises that Pony is different from the rest of them, when he says that he would never have used the broken bottle.

When we met Two-Bit in the drive-in he was swilling beer. Now he is going off to get drunk. Later he’ll have Budweiser for breakfast in Pony’s house and he breaks open the beer on the way to the rumble. This is his world. This is all he knows and he's willing to defend this world with violence if ever it needs defending.

We have now been introduced to the main characters and groups. The setting is well established and the theme of divisions and group rivalry, suggested in the credits by the railway tracks has been consolidated. Pony is the one who can cross these tracks. Will the group conventions prevent others from doing the same? The issue of prejudice and stereotyping has been raised as well as the issue of the importance of a good family life. Violence as a means of settling disputes has appeared in the Tim Shepard incident and outside the drive-in.

Extract from Student's Guide: 

Let the film roll until Two-Bit and the boys part outside Johnny's house

What kind of a character is Dallas? (Refer to his Facial Expression, Gesture/Actions, Costume and the Props he uses.) Can you make out his answer to the question,"What are we gonna do?" How does the Van Morrison song "Gloria" fit into the scene?

From what you've seen so far, where is the film set? Can you suggest when it is set? How do the boys react to the knife-fight? What kind of a world do they live in?

How does Dallas treat the young boys? What kind of a person is he so far? What does he say about kids? Does he mean what he says?

Would you agree that Pony and Johnny are being led by him?

Are you surprised at how the three boys get into the drive-in?

They cross the paths of two girls. Why is Cherry in such bad humour? How does Dallas' treatment of Cherry fit in with our idea of him so far?

Re-play the shot in which Dallas leaves, saying, "I know where I'm not wanted." Examine the whole screen. Can you spot someone else who is not wanted?

We meet Two-Bit, as he goes about making a nuisance of himself. What has he got in common with Dallas? What makes them different from the other teenagers in the film? In what ways are they all similar? Notice the drive-in screen as Two-Bit is slapped by the angry girl.

Why did the girls not recognise Pony and Johnny as Greasers? What has Pony in common with Cherry? How does he feel as he tells her that Sodapop is a "dropout"?

Why is Dallas surprised when Johnny tells him to leave her alone?

In this sequence there is much talk of how people look. What distinguishes each group in the shop scene? How did Johnny get so nervous and scared? What has Cherry got to say about being a "Southside Soc"?

How do you feel about Dallas now? Has your idea of Johnny changed?

What is Two-Bit talking about when we cut back to the group?

Freeze the frame as Pony and Cherry stop outside the drive-in to talk about his older brother, Darrel. How is the frame composed? How does the image fit in with all the talk of Greasers and Socs, Northside and Southside? What have Johnny and himself got in common, according to Pony?

When Bob and Randy arrive the tension mounts. How is it built up? What catches Johnny's attention? Why will Cherry not associate with Pony in school? What is her opinion of him?

What is on the soundtrack as Two-bit picks up his jacket? What effect has this song got on the atmosphere of the scene? How is Johnny pictured as the Socs drive off?

Why does Two-Bit throw Marcia's number away? What does he say about Pony and the broken bottle? What does this tell us of his view of Pony? Where is he going as he leaves the boys?

What issues have been raised in this film so far?