- Ponyboy Curtis: Narrator and the youngest Curtis brother, 14 years old, gets good grades and runs track.
- Sodapop Curtis: The middle Curtis brother, 16 years old, a high school dropout who works at a gas station.
- Darrel "Darry" Curtis: The oldest of the Curtis brothers, 20 years old who has been caring for his brothers since their parents died in a car crash.
- Dallas "Dally" Winston: The roughest of the Greasers who lived on the streets of New York City for three years.
- Keith "Two-Bit" Mathews: A wise-cracking kleptomaniac.
- Steve Randle: Sodapop's best friend since grade school.
- Johnny Cade: Ponyboy's best friend. He's 16 years old and lives with his alcoholic and abusive mother and father.
- Sherri "Cherry" Valance: Bob's girlfriend, attends the same high school as Ponyboy.
- Robert "Bob" Sheldon: Cherry's boyfriend who is stabbed and killed by Johnny.
- Randy Adderson: A friend of Bob's and Marcia's boyfriend.
- David: A member of Bob and Randy's gang who attempted to drown Ponyboy in the fountain.
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