Directed by Walter Hill
Starring Michael Beck, James Remar, David Patrick Kelly
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital Mono
Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
The future is ours...if you can count.
I have a small pile of unwatched Blu-rays, but last night I was in the mood for something I already knew. After much deliberation, I went with The Warriors.
I like to analyze why I enjoy certain movies so that I can understand myself more, but this one is tricky.
I know that I don't like watching violence or people getting beaten up, unless there's a point to it. I certainly don't think it's cool to watch a fight or someone being hurt. I have no fascination for gangs in general. The acting isn't up to much and dialogue is limited. I couldn't pick out a selection of scenes that were meaningful or memorable. So why do I enjoy watching this movie?
I do like the setting. Released in 1979, it was intended to have a somewhat futuristic look. It still seems dated to me though.
The first 15 minutes sets up the story so I don't think talking about it is much of a spoiler. The gangs are requested to attend a meeting by Cyrus, the leader of the biggest gang. Those attending are allowed to send nine members from their gang and weapons aren't allowed. Cyrus points out that members from rival gangs are standing together without anyone getting wasted. He also observes that there are 60,000 gang members in New York and only 20,000 police. Instead of fighting over a few yards of turf, the combined force could take over the city. That's an interesting idea. Unfortunately, gangs being what they are, one of the gang members (Kelly, Twin Peaks) hasn't obeyed the truce and shoots Cyrus, killing him. He points at the Warriors, claiming they did the shooting.
So the nine gang members are surrounded by rival gangs, weaponless, fifty miles from home. Both the police and the rival gangs are after them. The story shows what happens when they try to make it back to their home turf. Nine innocent men on the run; Hitchcock would be proud.
As I said, that's the first 15 minutes. The remainder of the story deals with the journey home. Will they all make it? Will any of them?
The soundtrack adds something and a local radio station monitors the progress of the Warriors. The original music by Barry De Vorzon fits in well and makes the whole thing an atmospheric experience.
Various encounters with other gangs and the police ensue. The gangs all have their own colors and way of doing things.
It's such a simple story, but it works. It's become something of a cult classic over the years in the same way that Escape From New York has.
I'm still not sure why I like it so much. Do I place myself in their position? Is it nostalgia for my childhood? Most of the characters are merely sketches, although some have a bit more depth. There are quiet periods where we just see the Warriors walking around, although the scenes are filled with tension because a threat could appear at any time.
After all that, I'm still not sure.
Would I recommend this? Sure. It's not what you would think just by looking at the title or the cover. If you can see it for free, it's worth checking out. Maybe you'll have the same reaction as me.
This is a surprisingly good transfer for a movie of its age and limited budget. The sound quality is a little lacking, being just DD 5.1.
on October 7, 2005
One of the common complaints about the original dvd release of The Warriors was always about the lack of features, mono sound and the overall presentation of such a cult classic. Paramount obviously listened and convinced Walter Hill to re-visit the film. The results are very nice. Not only, has the picture been remastered (much sharper than the previous) but the audio has been upgraded to DD 5.1 (really nice range from high to low). Four featurettes tell The Warriors story from the beginning to how the film became a surprise success. Too bad they couldn't track a lot more of the cast for interviews but the main ones are there (Swan, Ajax, Mercy and of course, Luther). I'm not going to spoil how the film has been modified but it definitely gives it a different feel and I enjoyed it. I first saw The Warriors when I was 12 and I've watched it numerous times over the years and the film never feels dated because Hill's vision had a very futuristic element to it and it still holds that magic even to this day. Buy it!!!
on June 20, 2004
It is difficult to take Walter Hill's 1979 classic "The Warriors" seriously today. Ostensibly a picture about various street gangs in New York City, the movie paints a rather quaint, almost cartoonish portrait of crime in the Big Apple. I knew from the start the movie wasn't going to give us a gritty interpretation of the thug lifestyle. Why? A gang traveling to a big summit in the Bronx takes time out of their busy schedule to purchase and then feed subway tokens into the turnstile so all the members can board the train. How's that for a big, bad group of street goons? I imagine now that a gang doing this would be marked for extermination just on the principle of the thing. Still, that doesn't mean "The Warriors" isn't entertaining; it is, massively so. It's so entertaining, and made such a big splash at the time, that Italian filmmakers began ripping it off in their low budget films. "The Bronx Warriors," for example, contains several scenes obviously lifted from this movie. The only difference is that Hill's movie manages to work despite its flaws while the Italian effort looks unconvincingly cheesy. Whatever your take on this movie, we must admit it has been influential.
The plot is simplicity itself. A gang from Coney Island called the Warriors gets an invite to attend a massive rally twenty-seven miles away. All the big gangs in the city will be there, including the Riffs, the most powerful band of street thugs in New York. The leader of the Riffs, Cyrus, plans to consolidate the various crews of street criminals under his benevolent rule. Through a mix of charisma and charged oratory-lots of "can you dig it" thrown around for the benefit of the goons-Cyrus brings the crowd to its feet. Unfortunately for him and for the Warriors, Luther (David Patrick Kelly), with his gang called the Rogues, assassinates Cyrus in the middle of his speech. In the resulting chaos the Warriors take the blame for the murder. Even worse, the leader of the Warriors, Cleon (Dorsey Wright) falls in the resulting melee. The rest of the Warriors make a run for it, now with Swan (Michael Beck) leading the gang. Every street thug in the city wants a piece of the Warriors, especially the Riffs. Swan and his crew must make it back to Coney Island before falling prey to the Turnbull AC's, the Lizzies, the Orphans, the Baseball Furies, the Boppers, the Rogues, and a hundred other gangs big and small. Too, the men in blue wish to ask the Warriors a few questions about Cyrus's sudden demise.
The rest of the film recounts the Warriors' journey home. Their efforts center on the subway, but everyone else knows this is the method the hunted crew will take. Every time the Warriors finally get on a train, some incident arises that stops them cold. A fire on the track forces the crew to make their way to the next train on foot, opening them up to the murderous retribution of the other gangs. In one neighborhood, our heroes run up against a "minor league" gang called the Orphans and a mouthy harridan named Mercy (Deborah Van Valkenburgh), and must battle their way free. An encounter with the cops at the subway forces the Warriors to split up. Eventually, a few of the members fall prey to other gangs, to the police, or narrowly escape doom at the hands of knife and gun wielding women. As if things couldn't get worse, a radio disc jockey (Lynne Thigpen) sends out artfully coded messages about the location of the Warriors, thereby urging other thugs to join in the free for all. Will the surviving members of the Warriors get home in the end? And will it really matter if they do?
Xenophon's "Anabasis," the tale of a band of Greeks caught behind Persian lines that had to battle their way back home, forms the basis of Hill's "The Warriors." Everything from naming the king of the gangs Cyrus to the final showdown on the beach comes right out of this ancient Greek text. Most viewers won't know this of course (I didn't at first; I read it somewhere), but would be content to merely sit back and watch the antics unfold. You've got gang members dressed like baseball players with painted faces swinging bats in a park, the leader of the Orphans looks like Eric Bogosian with a hangover, and plot holes run through this movie like subway tunnels. The flaws in "The Warriors" are epic in scope. Why, for instance, doesn't the gang simply take a cab or steal a car and get home in a hurry? Are we to assume that a street gang has no money to hire a driver or the ability to hotwire an automobile? Some hoods these guys are! Too, I always thought New York City is the town that never sleeps. Well, the denizens of the Big Apple snoozed the night away when this film was made. No one appears on the streets, no cars drive by, and no one comes out of their apartment buildings to see what's going on. And if the police are so interested in stopping the Warriors, why not just stop the trains from running? It's to the film's credit that despite myriad plot problems, "The Warriors" still works.
The DVD's picture transfer looks great. Unfortunately, it is a Paramount release with only a trailer as an extra. That's right; no commentary, interviews, behind the scenes fun, or anything else diehard fans would like to see. While I can't say this is my favorite movie, many people swear by it. It's another example of the larger problem with Paramount's DVD department. "The Warriors," despite Paramount's lack of attention, is a must have for fans of cult classics.
on May 29, 2004
It's hard to imagine it now but when The Warriors first came out in '79 it was hugely controversial. Some theaters refused to show the movie because they feared arson and gang activity. Others were afraid that it might give disaffected teens crazy ideas but the word of mouth on the movie was so strong people just had to see it.
Okay, it's got some flaws. Most gangs weren't muliracial back then and they certainly aren't now. NYC is a tough town but even back in the 70s it wasn't the absolute hell hole depicted in the movie and since when do gangs get their marching orders from thelocal radio stations?
Those are just tiny quibbles. Sit back and enjoy. Michael Beck played the role of his career as Swan, the leader of the Warriors a small Coney Island gang who head way up town to attend the city's biggest gang summit. Cyrus (Can you dig it?) wants to put aside petty differences and form one big super gang but he's cut down but a vicious and annoying little weasel who blames Swan's gang for the killing. The rest of the movie has the Warriors trying to get home. They run for their lives through what looks like miles of empty(!) New York streets pursued by every gang, large, small and minor league in town.
At one point the trip started reminding me of Odyseus coming home from Troy. They run into one danger after another including two traps in the forms of females. Ajax, like the Greek fighter from Troy is strong, brave but dumber than a box of rocks and he blunders into one of the biggest surprises of the night. Other members of the group run into a group of cute girls and go merrily to a party that almost turns out the be their last and Swan, like Odyseus ends up with his own version of the ever faithful Penelope.
I was 10 when I saw the Warriors and came away with a couple of useful tidbits :
1. Don't take the subway. There's a war zone down there.
2. If you see a guy in a heavy makeup and a baseball uniform at midnight, run for your life.
3. Listen to the radio. They might be talking about you.
4. On big gang movement nights the citizens of New York go to bed early and don't come out again until the next morning to clean up the bodies.
5. That red spot in the sand really is blood.
The Warriors is funny, a little sad and still after all these years it's the movie equivalent of an amusement park ride. It's not War & Peace but it is a cult classic and once you watch it if you have any kind of sense of humor you'll really dig it.
on February 5, 2004
"The Warriors" starring Michael Beck is a street gang version of a Navy shore leave gone horribly wrong. The Warriors are a nine-member Coney Island street gang that take the train to the Bronx under a flag of truce. They are attending a New York Citywide gang powwow -- their first trip out of Coney Island. Cyrus, the largest NYC gang's leader, is assassinated at the powwow and the assassins blame the Warriors. The Warriors must fight their way back to Coney Island chased by the New York City Police and every other New York City street gang.
"The Warriors" is a testosterone-filled cult film that concentrates on the gang members' return odyssey. The Warriors are unarmed and outnumbered, and everybody wants to play -- fists, chains, clubs, knives and guns. The Warriors' caution is tempered by the exhilaration of new places -- exhilaration that brings additional trouble.
Citywide street gang unity is an interesting and significant film theme ("An American Mogadishu"?). This 1979 film features street gang coordination over a gang-run FM broadcast radio station. Speculating how today's street gangs use Internet-accessible text-enabled cellular telephones and Internet chat rooms is interesting.
IMO "The Warriors" is a heroic epic film. And IMO "The Warriors" is less violent than traditional Western or war films, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" or other common 21st Century television fare.
on November 15, 2001
Ah yes, 1979's The Warriors. Without a doubt, Walter Hill's finest hour. The root of the story is based on a historical book written by Xenophon, a Greek mercenary soldier who had described his adventures in ancient Persia 2400 years ago. But instead of Persia, we get New York in 1979. By today's standards, The Warriors is hardly the violent, ultra stylish film it was back in the day. But the fact is, up until The Warriors, no film had revolved around urban warfare to such an intense degree. The result was not only outbreaks of gang violence at various screenings, but a permanent spot in the cult classic hall of fame. Indeed, the best way to appreciate the Warriors is to keep it in the context of the time in which it was made.
In many ways, the film is pure Walter Hill: tight and timelessly effective. It's also important to remember that The Warriors was never meant to be a metaphor for the increasingly violent nature of our society. This is a fast paced action flick - nothing more. To that end, Hill effectively framed the story like a living comic strip, finely balancing the film with equal parts flashy ghetto fantasy and gritty urban reality, piecing the simple plot all together with pulp fiction editing. In one scene, we get bat weilding gang members made up to look like Gene Simmons wannabes with fight choreography that looks like a Bob Fosse production (much of the cast were dancers.) Despite the fact that this disk is a bare bones submittal from Paramount with virtually no extras and limited release fanfare, the widescreen anamorphic transfer is suprisingly solid. This also marks the first time The Warriors can be seen in home video using the widescreen format drawn from the original film's 1.85:1 aspect ratio. My biggest complaint about the DVD is the terrible cover art. What happened to the gangs standing around in one big, evil mural?
on February 4, 2001
When The Warriors was originally released there was a prequel to the opening scene of the movie ( i.e. prior to the Coney Island ferris wheel spinning around.) The audience was introduced to Cleon's girlfriend and her reservations about him going to the conclave up in the Bronx. More importantly, Cleon introduces the viewing audience to each member of the Warrior cast and their respective roles in the movie before they leave on their perilous journey. Why in the world would expanded information made for DVD viewing audiences like this this be cut from the final DVD release when it was included in the original theatrical release( which I have I a copy of on video tape) is beyond me. I am sure that many other cult followers would agree with this. Sheesh! Can Paramount review this oversight and make a correction? I have already e-mailed them and heard nothing in return. What a shame, particularly when many of us know that this bonus footage exists and was shown in theaters and on television! CAN SOMETHING BE DONE? CAN I GET AN ANSWER FROM SOMEONE? THANKS!
on November 12, 2000
I remember watching this movie over and over again when I was a kid. I even have the laserdisc. Now I'm glad it's finally coming out on DVD!
"The Warriors" is a story about the street gang subculture in New York, circa the early 1980's. The point of focus is a street gang called "The Warriors", who were unfairly blamed for a rival gang member's death and who must fight their way back home amidst a "jungle" of gangs out to get them (e.g. the bat-wielding "Baseball Furies") Many gang members, fratmen and other tough guy "wannabes" will find something in this film they can relate to: from the feeling of loyalty, of being social outcasts, bravery and the like. Particularly powerful non-fight scene: when the Warriors board a train, encounter a group of obviously high society teenagers out having a good time. The exchange of looks, body movements and the like, until the time the "socs" step out, conveys a lot.
Based on the novel by Sol Yurick, the film features what'r probably the best performance of Michael Beck. Why only 4 stars? Well, for a film of this age, I would have expected more extra features, i.e. interviews with cast perhaps. Still, this is an excellent collectible particularly for the film's cult following. Now I wish they also come out with "The Wanderers", another cult fave of mine!
on May 8, 2000
This 1979 Walter Hill Film is said to be based upon a real Coney Island street gangs events. The ficticious gang the Warriors heads on the Subway to the Bronx from the most distant part of Brooklyn to meet the head of a gang named (Cyrus). Once in a Bronx Park, Gang Leader (Cyrus) preaches that if every gang in the city would unite, they could take over. During this speech Cyrus get's shot and a Warrior member is accused of the murder. Mayhem then breaks loose as Cops move in and the Warriors have to make it back to Brooklyn via Subway with all gangs hunting for them. Thus begins the urban nightmare when trains had graffitti and gangs fought with bats and switchblades. If this story is based on some real experinces the real gang from Coney Island were truly Warriors. For those unfamiliar 28 miles on the subway in the middle of the night with the cops and gangs chasing you makes the wild west seem like Disneyland. The plot is silly but the movie makes up for it with it's comic book like action and the ability to touch the fear of any urbanites. From gangs made up wearing Yankee Baseball Uniforms to Gangs on Skates the chase scenes are great. An emotional statement accompanies a suprise ending. This movie was a sleeper, partially because theatres would refuse to show it due to it's instigation of violence. As I was growing up not far from the movies origin I was put under the impression that this story depicted some true experiences. No gang related film ever came close to this urban rollercoaster ride.
on April 26, 2000
From the opening night shot of the Wonder Wheel's flickering lights, viewers are drawn into the surreal world of New York City street gangs in the 1979 film; The Warriors. The distant frame of a dark, foresaken, Coney Island amusement park is ominously accentuated by a haunting keyboard fill from Barry De Vorzen's masterful soundtrack. Something is going to happen on this summer night in New York City and director Walter Hill is the tour guide. Hill hits full throttle in this gritty yet fluorescent street pagent where the past meets the future. Sadly the film caused a series of violent incidents among movie patrons which resulted in exhibitors pulling the film from theaters. Paramount Pictures backed the drastic action after Time magazine published an article based on the film's violence, which purportedly induced gangs watching the movie in Chicago and Boston to attack innocent bystanders. One death actually occured in a theater. The bizarre after-effects and short theatrical run associated with the film has contributed to its underground status. The Warriors shattered the conventionality of the street gang genre. A montage of concrete darkness, bright hues, thematic resolutions, racial solidarity, and human survival mark the film's restlessness. Crisp editing, brilliant cinamatography, and a collection of indelible characters encapsulates the film's aura. The scenes filmed in the NYC subway system seen too realistic. The sounds, sights, and anxiety that emanate from the subway system are captured and amplified brilliantly. The paradoxical notion that the NYC subway system will serve as the means for safe transport for a desperate gang on the run from the Bronx to Brooklyn is clever. Yes the Warriors could have hot wired a car and driven down the FDR drive to the Brooklyn Bridge and on to Coney Island, but this solution only occurs at the film's conclusion. The viewer is entrapped in the plight of our protagonists as they sift through the concrete labyrinth, confronting cops, rival gangs, and street women. When the Warriors finally reach their destination at dawn, the realization of their poverty is a force they cannot fight or escape. Swann exemplifies his social confinement on society's lowest rung, when he pulls Mercy's hand down while she attempts to preen herself in front of two prom couples that have boarded the subway. (Don't ask why the two prom couples are not in a limousine). Teenage social divisions were never exploited in such a manner. This scene was a powerful testament to the divergent social, economic, and racial class systems that exist in the United States. Joe Walsh's rock anthem In the City is the reflective lid that ends this unique film. The Warriors is a film that thrills, entertains, and questions society's answers to urban decay. One glarring blooper is apparent in the film. When the remaining members of the gang finally meet at the Union Square station, no reference is made to Fox. The members inquire about Ajax, but what about Fox who was thrown onto the tracks during the fight with the police officer? "BE LOOKING GOOD WARRIORS, ALL THE WAY BACK TO CONEY"