The Warriors

"Excellent"

The Warriors Review


There are certain films that by some unforeseen circumstance tap into a generation, a culture, a time, perfectly. The Warriors is just such a film. It is by no means a perfect movie. It is well crafted and dramatic, but what moves it beyond cult adoration and fanboy drooling is its epic storyline and intensely rendered narrative.

The Warriors isn't really a movie about a gang trying to get home. It's an archetypal tale of survival, of revenge, of power and corruption and the human spirit. Sounds like a load of over-educated/under-paid horseshit, I admit. But The Warriors really does have that kind of power.

The plot is elegantly simple: nine members of a New York street gang (circa 1979) must get back home to Coney Island while every gang in the city (a force some 60,000 members strong) is hunting for them. The gangs that inhabit the desolate, sleeping city are a motley crew of outrageous fashions and bizarre handles. We've got the Baseball Furies, sporting Yankee-like uniforms and baseball bats; the Turnbull A.C.'s, quasi-skinheads in green buses; The Lizzies, an all female gang and my favorite; the High Hats, dressed like mimes with top hats. (Rumor has it Hill originally intended the film to take place in the near future and some of the gangs sure look it.)

Our protagonists, the eponymous Warriors, are a rag tag bunch fronted by Swan (Michael Beck), a cool headed fighter. We have Ajax (James Remar), the wild child given to bouts of extreme violence and an insatiable lust, cautious Fox (Thomas Waites), cheeky Cowboy (Tom Mckitterick), edgy Vermin (Terry Michos), music-man Snowball (Brian Tyler), tagger Rembrandt (Marcelino Sanchez), former war-chief Cleon (Dorsey Wright), fighter Cochise (David Harris), and tagalong Mercy (Deborah van Valkenburgh). One look at this ragtag bunch and it becomes clear that writer/director Walter Hill is playing with genres and mythic characters.

The plot of The Warriors is loosely based on a novel by Sol Yurick, which itself is based on Xenophon's Anabasis, the story of Greek mercenaries march to Persia to take the throne and the march back. What really resonates, despite the many differences between the source novel, the classical Greek text and the film, is the heroic-mythic quality of the characters. While none of them are particularly likeable - all are hardened gangsters or scummy punks -- they are trapped in a nightmarish world of violence and battle, and their reactions, the humanity that shows through, is something that resounds on a subconscious level.

Many film critics derided The Warriors upon its release for its brutality and what they saw as a glorification of gang violence. There were several incidents of violence linked indirectly with the film, but it was enough that watchdog groups pounced on the picture. As with many well-meaning acts of censorship, the protests against the film actually drove more people to see it.

The Warriors will perhaps be best remembered for several unforgettable lines, in particular the classic: "Cannnnn yooouuuuuu diiiigggg iiittttt?," best shouted to hordes of over-sexed, testosterone addled youngsters. The Warriors is a film unlike any other, an amalgamation of classic hero mythology, hoodlumism, hip '70s kicks, and youthful exuberance. It is a film of raw power and arty excess, a perfect gem of counter-culture "new" mythology in which the collective power of unrefined youth overcomes the corrupting influence of uniformity.

The special edition DVD (featuring a new cut from Hill) has several deleted scenes, a commentary track by Hill, and a number of insightful short documentaries and trailers.

Come out and play, guys.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th February 1979

Box Office Worldwide: $22.5M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 31 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Ajax, as Swan, David Patrick Kelly as Luther, as Cleon, as Cochise, as Mercy, as Snow, as Baseball Fury

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.