The Warriors (1979) Review

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The Warriors (1979)

Directed by Walter Hill

Based on The Warriors by Sol Yurick

Starring: Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris, Tom McKitterick, Thomas G Waites, Terry Michos, Marcelino SΓ‘nchez, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Roger Hill, David Patrick Kelly, Lynne Thigpen, Ginny Ortiz, Mercedes Ruehl, John Snyder, Edward Sewer, Joel Weiss, Paul Greco, Apache Ramos

Running time: 93 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Cyrus, leader of the biggest gang in New York City (The Gramercy Riffs), calls together representatives from all the gangs in the city in order to call a truce and take over the city together. When Cyrus is shot & killed at the meeting, a gang from Coney Island called The Warriors is falsely accused. The Warriors must then fight their way through the city back to their home turf with every gang now after them for revenge over the death of Cyrus.

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My Opinion:

What’s with all these boy movies I’ve been watching lately? And I’ve just watched Hobo With A Shotgun. I really need a girly movie fix.

Anyway! My good friend Eric of The IPC recently dragged out an old review of his for one of his favorite movies EVER, The Warriors (his review is HERE). I’m old, like Eric, but had never seen it for some reason. So he (and Mr Mojo’s Work) went a bit mental & forced me to watch it Clockwork-Orange-style. But Eric isn’t really one to talk as he’s never even seen This Is Spinal Tap.

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I wasn’t sure about this as Eric likes a lot of dodgy horror movies that frighten me but I’m glad I decided to give it a chance. The Warriors is actually pretty damn great. If I didn’t like it, I promise I wouldn’t lie & would (nicely) say that I didn’t. But I did like it. I’ll also be honest & say there was one picture in his review that convinced me to give it a go:

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THAT is awesome. It made me think of the droogs in A Clockwork Orange. As I watched The Warriors, I annoyed everyone with tweets about it. This is what I said & it really does give you a good idea of what this movie is like:

This is like Beat Street crossed with Michael Jackson’s Beat It crossed with West Side Story crossed with Vanishing Point crossed with A Clockwork Orange crossed with Adventures In Babysitting! (I’ll add Xanadu to that now too, which the guy playing new Warriors leader Swan was also in. Crossed with The Bad News Bears. And especially The Lord Of The Rings). And, apparently, the story in the novel & movie is actually loosely based on some famous Greek story written by one of the students of Socrates! (I shit you not. Anabasis by Xenophon. Thanks, Wikipedia! Read about it – it’s really interesting!)

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I knew of The Warriors & knew what the poster looked like & everything but didn’t know much about it. I know it’s a cult classic but am actually surprised it’s not even more well known than it is. I think it deserves its “cult classic” status – it’s actually quite iconic (Especially the very beginning of the film when all the different gangs are gathered together & they all have their own unique look. GREAT opening – the best bit of the entire movie). It’s also a simple story yet, at the same time, a rather epic “journey through enemy territory” story (remember – it’s an ancient Greek tale). I’m not being too kind to it – I honestly think it deserves more credit than it probably gets.

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The Warriors is much better than I was expecting but it’s still not perfect. While I think it really does have moments of greatness, it does have weak moments as well. The beginning is fantastic as are some of the later run-ins with various gangs. But I think the film kind of peters out at the end, which was a little disappointing after such a great start. It just kind of seemed like an abrupt ending after the “long & difficult journey through the night”. However, I liked the sharp contrast between the ending & the rest of the film (night/day & very different surroundings). I suppose it was symbolic or something. Of… Whatever. I don’t know. It’s Greek! I also loved the final Joe Walsh song – I haven’t heard that in over 20 years!

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This is one of those films that I actually wish was longer. I’d love to have seen more gangs from the opening scene make an appearance later in the film. A run-in with these guys would have been great! (Hi-Hats, I looked it up):

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At least we get a battle with those cool ass baseball dudes (Baseball Furies) and a gang dressed like Dexy’s Midnight Runners with a leader on roller skates (Punks). We even have some girls! (The Lizzies). There are others but these are the ones I thought were the coolest. And, of course, we can’t forget our heroes – The Warriors.

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Then of course there’s the biggest & scariest gang, The Riffs, who are rather pissed off over the murder of their leader. Most the gangs in this actually come across as quite wussy but I would NOT want to piss these guys off:

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Finally we have the main rival gang, The Rogues, who are responsible for the death of Cyrus & the ones who framed The Warriors (that’s not a spoiler, you know that at the start). The main bad guy is a bit Spicoli in Fast Times At Ridgemont High with a really annoying voice. And he’s a total wuss:

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Summary:

The Warriors is worthy of its status as a cult classic. It has some very iconic moments and the deceptively simple storyline of a journey through enemy territory (it’s an Ancient Greek tale!). I’m glad I finally got around to watching it 34 years after its release.

My Rating: 9/10

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60 thoughts on “The Warriors (1979) Review

  1. “I’ll shove that bat up your ass and turn you into a popsicle.”

    Great review. I was wondering did you watch the original cut of The Warriors or the newer director’s cut with the animated transitions and Walter Hill narration?

    • I saw the original cut but now I’m interested in seeing the Director’s cut too! It sounds interesting. I did read how they didn’t have the budget or whatever to do his “comic book style” vision. I’m totally buying this movie now so I’m going to get both versions. Liked this movie A LOT. : )

  2. This is……

    …… very pleasing to me even though you dogged me out about Spinal Tap…. : (

    This movie is fantastic and that chase through the park is a movie classic.

    I’m SOOOO glad you liked it and that I was a part of this : )

  3. Excellent! Such a great movie. Every time I drive by the Wonder Wheel on the way to my father-in-laws house I think of The Warriors. And, as I point out every time someone posts a Warriors review, Vermin was my public speaking teacher in college.

    That poster (which Eric also used) is from the video game, which is also great because you get to fight most of those other gangs like the Hi-Hats. Now go play it!!

    • Haha – that’s cool! I wish I had a cool movie connection!!

      Yeah – I saw so many video game images when I looked this up. I want to play it! And I hate (and suck at) video games! But this one looks cool. I’m glad I watched the movie because, actually, I really kind of loved it. Because I’m a weird girl. πŸ™‚

    • Yes! Except… I don’t know. Lol. It’s a hard one to know if you should recommend it to people. It’s not for everyone. But I loved it. πŸ™‚ But I’m also old & love 70s & 80s movies a lot!

  4. Nice breakdown of all the gangs. I loved this film but wasn’t sure how it would seem to someone who hadn’t seen it at the time it came out. Some films are only good during the era they were released – perhaps this one can transcend its time period. BTW, mine goes to 11…

    • Well, because of my age I love most anything from the 70s & 80s anyway (especially late 70s/early 80s for some reason). So it’s really my type of thing to begin with. Not quite sure JUST how many people would like it seeing it now for the first time. The younger generation will probably think it silly, I’m sure, but it’s a pretty timeless story. I think some might like it. : ) I like it even more the more I think about it. Think it’ll be one of my favorites I watched this year for sure. And at least you’ve seen This Is Spinal Tap! πŸ™‚

  5. The warriors was one of my favourite films as a child. And did you know there is an excellent PlayStation 2 game of it that is really faithful to the movie. Glad you liked it πŸ™‚ and you’re so right about the Dexys Midnight Runners gang!

    • I loved it. πŸ™‚ Glad I gave it a try. I’m not a video game person but this is one I almost want to play! Lol! You know I was actually planning on amending this post to up the rating? It’s also going to be in one of my two “end of year” lists I’m going to post later this week about my favorite films I watched this year. The more I think about it, the more I like it. I’m a weird girl… πŸ™‚

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  7. Just watched it. I liked it a lot, but didn’t love it to death. Maybe if I think about more I’ll love it by the time I post my review πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the inspiration. I watched it b/c it was in your top 10!

    • Great! I’m just glad you didn’t hate it like Pitch Perfect!!! Lol : ) It’s funny you say that about thinking about it – it’s one of those I ended up liking more & more the more I thought about it and then as I wrote the review for it. That happens sometimes, which is great. I usually end up liking a movie LESS the more I think about it.

      • I’m writing my review as we speak (should be posting within the next few hours, keep on the lookout πŸ™‚ for it) and it’s true. in this case, it grows on you as you think about it over and over. Still won’t be giving it my top rating, but was very pleased with the movie. Thanks for the pseudo-recommendation πŸ™‚

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  12. You’re totally right about it petering out. It’s the definition of a cult classic and I loved it as a kid. It’s like a snapshot of a mythological NYC and I guess that ties in with the Greek story it’s based on (which I didn’t know about so thank you!). You’re actually pretty cool sometimes Mutant πŸ˜‰

    • Did I say it petered out? I should go re-read this since Eric shared it! πŸ™‚ I actually just re-rated a bunch of my old reviews & upped this to a 9.5. I loved it! You’re welcome – I’m glad I can be so useful & informative. And I’m cool ALL the time, dammit! Lol πŸ˜‰

    • I actually did this whole re-rated post recently where I re-rated movie reviews I thought I got wrong & I upped The Warriors to a 9.5. πŸ˜‰ I’d have to say it’s quite possibly my favorite movie I’ve watched since starting this blog. However, it’s not going to be for everyone. I love movies from the 70s & 80s more than anything & this was totally my type of thing. I have NO idea if you’d like it or not! :-/

      • Okaaaay….. Hopefully it won’t be like Hardware for you! Lol. I have to admit, though, that Hardware isn’t a good film (I just love it) but The Warriors actually IS very good. In my opinion, at least. πŸ™‚ Do you have Netflix? It’s on that right now.

      • Lol. Damn! I actually think Netflix has gotten better recently. I mean – the “new” movies are no good to me as I go to see most everything but they’ve been adding more interesting older films lately. Not sure on your horror side of things, though – I don’t look at that bit as often!

      • There was the odd good one but they just don’t update the selection often enough. If Body Parts is still there you should check it out, it’s kind of fun. I keep meaning to write it up.

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