Actors: Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris
Director: Walter Hill
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
The Warriors combines pure pulp storytelling and surprisingly poetic images into a thoroughly enjoyable cult classic. The plot is mythically pure (and inspired by a legendary bit of Greek history): When a charismatic gang ... more »
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Who are the Warriors ? I want all the Warriors !!
P. Ferrigno | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 10/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Walter Hill ( "48 Hrs", "Hard Times", "Extreme Prejudice" ) shows his directing flair for action, drama and style in this crackling 1979 movie about a Coney Island gang falsely accused of murder and fleeing from their accusers....the other NYC gangs and the New York City Police Department.
Hill successfully adapted to the screen the moderately popular novel by author Sol Yurick who worked with the NYC Dept of Welfare in the 1950's. Yurick used the basis of ancient Greek history and the torturous trek home by Greek soldiers after their leader , Cyrus the Younger, was killed in the Persian Wars...and simply updated the setting to modern day NY and it's raging gang warfare embracing the five boroughs !
Set amongst a hostile, nocturnal world of neon lit train stations, baseball bat wielding gang members and lethal, gun toting women "The Warriors" moves along at a frenetic pace with a fine selection of young actors taking the lead. Michael Beck plays the cool headed, war chief "Swan", seeking to get the other members back home to Coney Island alive and in one piece. James Remar is unforgettable as the woman chasing, hot headed "Ajax"...always out to prove his manhood with his fists. And David Patrick Kelly is perfect as the murderous, but cowardly leader of the Rogues.
Attending a combined meeting of dozens of street gangs deep in the South Bronx to hear the Gramercy Riffs plans to control the streets of New York, the Warriors are wrongly accused of the shooting death of their charismatic leader, "Cyrus". The finger of blame pointed their way, they flee via any means they can and upon their way back to home base encounter violent opposition from the low life "Orphans", the shaven headed "Turnbull AC's", the face painted "Baseball Furies", the seductive all female gang, the "Lizzies" and even rifts within their own ranks lead to trouble.
The film was roundly savaged by several sections of the community (mainly law enforcement & welfare groups) upon it's release for apparently inciting gang violence and it's poor depiction of inner city street kids, and yes, there were several nasty incidents at theatre's upon the film's release, but these have been blown well out of all proportion. Although, I must say when the film was released in my country (Australia) it was already riding a wave of notoriety, and attracted "bad boys" in their droves to watch this "infamous" gang flick. When viewed in the cold light of day, the film is actually fairly cartoon like in it's depiction of urban violence and most anyone who receives a beating seems to be left just rubbing their head and moaning ( think Sylvester the Cat ) in discomfort !
Actor Thomas G. Waites who played the Warriors gang member "Fox", disagreed with the script and effectively walked out in mid-production, so a grip doubled for Waites in several scenes and Waites' name was removed from the final credits. Additionally, the "Fox" character's fate was re-written to have him die in the film after being hurled in front of a subway train.
Interestingly, out of a on screen line up of promising young talent, very few of the cast went on to any real major fame & fortune in Hollywood. Lead actor Michael Beck (Swan) went on to appear next in the sugary "Xanadu" with Olivia Newton-John, and by his own admission, it was not a great career move, and his film career unfortunately never really flourished. James Remar (Ajax) has easily experienced the most success (with about 70 feature film's under his belt) and he has continued his motif of tough, aggressive leads in films like "48 Hrs", and plenty of "straight to video" action fare...plus Remar even crops up regularly on "Sex and the City" & "Third Watch" re-runs ! (It's good to see that hard hitting "Ajax" never left New York.) And the terrific David Patrick Kelly has kept busy, usually in other sinister, criminal roles...check out his performances in "Commando", "The Crow" & "Wild at Heart" !
Sadly, young actor Marcellino Sanchez who played graffiti artist "Rembrandt" died from cancer only a few years after the films release.
The recently released "Ultimate Directors Cut" of this cult classic has several superb extras. Apart from an introduction from director Walter Hill, and some interconnecting comic panel art between sequences in the feature, the DVD has four mini featurettes chock full of interviews with key cast members and production staff discussing key sequences in the film, plus the phenomenal cult following that has developed for "The Warriors".
A colorful, exciting and fast paced film...albeit corny in places with that silly love story sub plot with bee stung lipped, Deborah Van Valkenbergh..."The Warriors" is a bona fide cult film with a legion of fans across the globe."
The 2005 Unwatchable Director's Crippling DVD - a travesty b
Mr Vess | Cracow | 10/06/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"After almost a year of anticipation, the trumpeted "ultimate director's cut" of the beloved 1979 camp classic arrived - and it made George Lucas's belated Star Wars reeditions, with their already proverbially inane "Greedo shooting first" and "Hayden Christensen's head inserted over Sebastian Shaw" changes look like genuine improvements.
Walter Hill just managed to do what medicine previously thought unimaginable - he raped himself. He took a film loved by no less than four generations and murdered it, spat on it and desecrated its corpse.
The "ultimate cut" was turned into an imbecilic quasi-comic book film. Hill destroyed numerous legendary scenes by inserting awkward zooms, awkward cuts at pivotal moments, and - oh, heaven have mercy - freezes and transitions into "stylized" pseudo-comic book panels (actually seemingly made with the emboss filter of Photoshop), often complete with inane "thought bubble" comments.
Case in point - the scene in which the Warriors encounter the Furies. A powerful scene in which tension grows with every second, conveyed only through the actors' eyes and Barry de Vorzon's slowly creeping-up score. At least that is how it looked originally... because in the new version, at the second when the tension just began growing, the "new" film freezes and transforms into an idiotic comic book panel complete with - oh, God, why?!? - an imbecilic bubble comment stating "Holy sh..., the Baseball Furies!". That's how bad the new version is - and this isn't even the worst example.
He shattered the mystery of the ambient "Wonder Wheel" opening by inserting an absolutely unnecessary animate reference to Anabasis before it. And, worst of all, he obliterated the wonderful ending scene. You know it - it is the symbolic take showing the survivors as they walk away from the memory of the night of horror towards the - perhaps hopeful - fresh dawn. I called this scene "the walk to nowhere - somewhere - everywhere".
In the new version, the walk is frozen after a few seconds and spliced into four idiotic comic book panels which then remain on screen. That single change is so wretchedly disgraceful that it defies belief. It is akin to taking, say, the closing scene of "The Godfather" and cutting it at the moment when Michael Corleone sits and thinks, rolling end credits at that moment rather than following it to show the legendary "new don" conclusion.
As the final insult, the DVD does not offer any worthy extras. There are some standard featurettes, but not much beyond that. Hill "does not believe in commentaries", apparently, so this is absent, but doesn't he believe in viewers' rights to watch deleted scenes, either?
It's true that most deleted scenes, in any films, on any DVD, are usually worthless and epitomize drivel - yet even truly bad ones are often included, since any viewer devoted to any film is always interested in seeing extra footage from it. I understand that Walter Hill may feel ashamed of those scenes and does not want them to be viewed even as a curiosity. I would not be surprised if some of them had not even been shot by him (particularly the infamous, awful day opening) - that would make his objection against their inclusion perfectly justified. However, considering that deleted scenes that do make it to existing DVDs as extra features very rarely represent all material that was cut from the film, and taking into account the typical running time of most rough cuts and workprints from late 70s, I would suspect that there was well over half an hour of alternate or additional footage shot - and that would be enough to choose some interesting snippets for the disc. And, Mister Hill... however bad even the worst deleted scene was, it would be practically impossible for it to be worse than the comic book insertions in the Ultimately Disgraceful Cut.
If there is anything worth having in this disc, it's the new cover. It restores the original 1979 poster - the famous gang conclave in the park, with the tagline "They are the armies of the night". (The UK version has this cover, anyway. The US release apparently features an idiotic, oversaturated "Photochop" of a random scene from the film instead - identical to the previously available DVD's cover, but tinted in "angry" MTV red now...)
If that travesty is indeed representative of the concept that Walter Hill originally had in his mind in 1979, then I praise the studio board that changed it into the version that the audience knows and loves."
Sam Shaber speaks for her father
Samshaber (firstname.lastname@example.org) | New York City | 11/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm David Shaber's daughter, Sam, (Samantha.) My father wrote the screenplay for The Warriors, and I'm hoping this "review" gets printed because he just passed away on Thursday morning, November 4th, of a sudden burst anneurism. With so many "Warriors" fans out there, I thought you would want to know. I'm incredibly warmed by these wonderful comments about this film and I know that if he read them (although he had barely learned how to search the internet before he died) he would chuckle in his lighthearted way and say something like "Oh, well isn't that nice," all-the-while refusing to take credit for any of it. But I know he deserved that credit, having taken a dark, psychological study of gang warfare and infusing it with a classic but clever and topical, good vs. evil story. (And maybe I shouldn't admit it, but my dad didn't really like the baseball face-paint idea which I believe was one of Walter Hill's additions - he thought that was too unrealistic and "Hollywood"...) Anyway, I do hope the movie is re-issued with the extra scenes at some point, and for those real "followers" I just discovered that you can find a complete list of his produced titles on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) if you want to check it out. The Warriors is indeed an AFFECTING picture, whether you love it or hate it. So thanks for your comments and take care, -Sam."
IF YOU ARE A FAN OF THE FILM, SKIP THIS VERSION!! PLEASE!!
Mike Suchcicki | Pensacola, FL USA | 11/18/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of this film for years and was eagerly anticipating the "Director's Cut," only to be dismayed when I realized that all Hill did was add childish, amateurish, comic-book-style transitions for the scenes, making a mockery of his own film! In his taped intro, he admits that some might not like this version of the film. What was your clue, Mr. Hill? The fact that you ruined your own movie? Imagine taking "The Godfather" and, in between every scene, cutting to a shot of John Cleese saying, "And now for something completely different ... " and you'll get an idea of how badly Hill junked up what was a solid, gritty, fun, action-packed thriller."