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 Sánchez, 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
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.
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.
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:
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!)
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.
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!
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):
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.
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:
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:
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