Search - Once Were Warriors on DVD

Once Were Warriors
Once Were Warriors
Actors: Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison, Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell, Julian Arahanga, Taungaroa Emile
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
R     2003     1hr 42min

An urban Maori family deals with great difficulties in adjusting to normalcy in urban New Zealand.


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Movie Details

Actors: Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison, Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell, Julian Arahanga, Taungaroa Emile
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: New Line Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/02/2003
Original Release Date: 03/03/1995
Theatrical Release Date: 03/03/1995
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 42min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 14
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Maori
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Movie Reviews

Reclaiming The Past
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 04/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Gripping, heartfelt drama about a dysfunctional Maori family struggling for survival in the government provided urban housing project (i.e. slums) of New Zealand. This is a violent, hardhitting film. Fortunately the story ultimately transcends the violence and offers some hope for a brighter tomorrow. 'Once Were Warriors' is a story of reconnecting with one's heritage and rediscovering who you are and what you can become.

Three other excellent movies dealing with the same theme of failed assimilation and destruction of indigenous cultures are: 'Where the Green Ants Dream', 'The Fringe Dwellers' (DVD - Region 4 only) and 'Rabbit-Proof Fence.' All three are Australian films dealing with the plight of the Aborigine.

I would also recommend Emerald Forest (DVD) which deals with tribes living within the tropical rainforests of South America."
Superb acting and a point well made
takintime | Raleigh, NC USA | 02/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It isn't hard to see why this movie garnered so many kudos after its release. The acting is superb. (Note: Temeura Morrison later stated that he was "scarred" for quite a while emotionally and mentally after playing Jake.) The unexcelled acting in AND the directing of this film, in this viewer's opinion, show the exact nature of family violence more clearly than other presentation in any media ever has. At first I was unwilling to see another film dealing with the subject, especially since I the results of domestic violence almost daily on my job. Now I say that if you watch only one film on the matter in your life, make it this one. For an American viewer, the fact that all the action takes place in Auckland, New Zealand helps give the distance needed for an honest perspective on the theme. Then the highly skilled actors (may we see more of all of them!)play the story out as it happens to thousands of families all over the world, totally stripping domestic violence of any excuse to be. By the heart-rending and horrific end of the movie there can be no doubt in anyone's mind that neither substance abuse, cultural conditioning, disenfranchised cultures, poverty nor a host of other things often invoked as "reasons" justify turning one's household into a war zone. Most family violence perpetrators are not hardcore psychopaths; they are "Jakes", and they have no excuse for what they do to their families. A beautiful film that makes its point without resulting to melodrama and sensationalism. It's a credit to all involved with the production that we look in on the lives of one family in crisis and realize, knowing that this scene is repeated thousands of time daily worldwide, the ultimate devastation brought about by "routine" family violence. A brilliant presentation. A "must see.""
An astonishingly powerful film!
Chapulina R | Tovarischi Imports, USA/RUS | 10/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Set in New Zealand, this excellent film portrays a small urban subculture of disenfranchized Maori, focusing on one disfunctional family. All the characters are compelling. There's Jake, the hard-drinking, brawling husband, always bitterly aware that he comes from a long line of slaves. And Beth, his full-blooded Maori wife, from a royal tribal line. Their sons: Boogie, ward of the court and sentenced to a Maori-centric boys' home; and Nig, prospecting for membership in an urban tribal gang. There's Grace, their sensitive 13-year-old daughter, who writes fanciful stories for her younger siblings and a homeless boy who lives in a car. And there are Jake's party-buddies, his beloved extended "family" -- "uncles" to his kids. The accents, ethnic traditions, martial arts, and particularly the facial tattooing of the Toa will appear "exotic" to the American audience. But the alcoholism, unemployment, domestic violence, teen delinquency, and child abuse are themes common anywhere. These subjects are presented with compassion. You'll come to genuinely care for all the characters. Even for Jake who, despite his brutality, is a tragic human being. I highly recommend "Once Were Warriors". The soundtrack alone will blow you away. The performances by all the actors are extraordinary and the ending will leave you breathless. Don't miss this one!"
Horrible transfer. wait for the US release
enea ceku | lynn, ma USA | 11/24/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I love this movie and am so surprised that no one is putting together a decent package together for it. i mean, it's such a brilliant film that an edition like this should not be allowed to see the light of day. the sound is in mono, the picture has cutts and dust all over. too dark at times. where is Criterion when you need them. you're better off buying the vhs edition. way better. this edition does no justice to what Tamahori intended us to see. avoid it (...). a rippoff in every sense."