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Rumble Fish (1983)

Book Vs Movie Podcast

Book Vs. Movie:
Rumble Fish
The 1975 Novel Vs. the 1983 Movie

Rusty James is a 14-year-old kid in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who lives a troubled life in 1975’s Rumble Fish, written by former teen sensation S.E. Hinton who published her first work (the YA classic The Outsiders while a freshman in college in 1967.

James spends his days getting into fights, hanging out with best friend Steve, trying to find time for his girlfriend Patty, and, most of all, idolizing his older brother, The Motorcycle Boy. The events leading up to his time in the reformatory make up for the main action, and the audience sympathizes with a kid who can’t seem to catch a break.

The 1983 film was co-written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Simultaneously, he created The Outsiders adaptation, which would become a cult classic. With some of the same cast members (including Matt Dillon and Diane Lane) and the addition of Mickey Rourke, Nicolas Cage, and Dennis Hopper–Coppola aims for a French New Wave look and feel. Filmed on video and in black and white, the movie has been a mainstay at film festivals and retrospectives for decades.

With her flair for getting into the minds of her teen subjects and realistic portrayals of angst and loneliness–Hinton is a legend in the world of YA Fiction, and her films remain popular with her fans.

So what are the main differences between the book and the film? Which version did the Margos like better? Have a listen!

In this ep the Margos discuss:

  • The background of S.E. Hinton and her unusual career
  • The changes Coppola made with the original story.
  • The cast of the 1983 film: Matt Dillon (Rusty James,) Mickey Rourke (The Motorcycle Boy,) Diane Lane (Patty,) Dennis Hopper (Father,) Diana Scarwid (Cassandra,) Vincent Spano (Steve,) Nicolas Cage (Smokey,) Chris Penn (BJ Jackson,) Lawrence Fishburne (“Midget,”) William Smith (Officer Patterson,) Glenn Withrow (Biff,) Tom Waits (Benny, the Bartender,) Sofia Coppola (Donna,) and S.E. Hinton in a cameo performance.

Clips used:

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