The Warriors (1979)
July 21, 2014 3:50 PM - Subscribe

A battle of gigantic proportions is looming in the neon underground of New York City. The armies of the night number 100,000; they outnumber the police 5 to 1; and tonight they're after the Warriors—a street gang blamed unfairly for a rival gang leader's death. This contemporary action-adventure story takes place at night, underground, in the sub-culture of gang warfare that rages from Coney Island to Manhattan to the Bronx. Members of the Warriors fight for their lives, seek to survive in the urban jungle and learn the meaning of loyalty. This intense and stylized film is a dazzling achievement for cinematographer Andrew Laszlo.
posted by maxsparber (24 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I love this movie.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:05 PM on July 21, 2014


I cannot think of this movie without also thinking of Escape from New York.

Also, Walter Hill is totally a source of guilty pleasure movies for me (except not Red Heat, ugh!)
posted by MoonOrb at 4:26 PM on July 21, 2014


The only thing that didn't work for me was Joe Walsh at the end. Good song, good movie, not right for each other.
posted by Chitownfats at 4:34 PM on July 21, 2014


It seems impossible to find the original, and much superior, theatrical cut of the film. The version that is widely available is the "Ultimate Director's Cut" which added a superfluous introduction of the Xenophon tale and some very bad comic book-like transition shots.
posted by cazoo at 5:45 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is this part of a film club?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:29 PM on July 21, 2014


Cult film club.
posted by maxsparber at 6:38 PM on July 21, 2014


Come Out To Play
posted by homunculus at 8:20 PM on July 21, 2014


Surge forward from Van Cortlandt Park, like frightened sheep
Spirit throngs that hoist us high, three thousand warriors deep

Spray our dreams on any surface where the paint will stick
Try to time the rhythm, listen for the click

Rise if you're sleeping, stay awake
We are young supernovas and the heat's about to break

posted by jason_steakums at 9:14 PM on July 21, 2014


This was my first time watching the movie, and wow. I was apparently watching the inferior director's cut, but I kind of liked the comic book transitions, to be honest. Going in I didn't really know anything about the movie, aside from knowing the name because it was made into a video game (that I also never played, and didn't really know anything about).

I can see how it was an ideal fit for a game, and if I hadn't known already, I would have thought the game came first and the movie second. I mean it was set up exactly like a game. I think in the Snowpiercer thread someone talked about how the movie played out like a D&D module, and I feel like Warriors followed the same trajectory.

The only thing I didn't really like was the final scene. Ok, the Warriors meet up with the Rogues (the gang that framed them) on their home turf on Coney Island. They are going to fight, but then the Riffs show up just in time to go after the Rogues. But this means that the Riffs are on the Warriors turf, right? And even if they are a physically superior gang we know that this isn't ok, as evidenced by the Orphans being unhappy about the Warriors walking down their streets. So why, then, do the Warriors just walk away?

Also, is there only one gun in the whole Warriors universe? I know that they said no guns at the gang meeting, but the majority of the movie happened throughout the city and the only time we saw a gun was at the very beginning to kill Cyrus and then again at the very end, and I am pretty sure it was the same gun both times.

Oh, and the Baseball Furies? Excellent!
posted by Literaryhero at 9:26 PM on July 21, 2014


This actually came up at trivia night last week (the question was about the Anabasis), so I got to try to explain the movie to my partners.

Funnest fact of all (well, for me at least): the DJ who tracks the Warriors' movements over the air was played by The Chief herself, Lynne Thigpen.
posted by kagredon at 10:14 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


West Side Story meets Mad Max.
There are three movies that if I encounter them I am powerless and have to watch to the end. First is Lawrence of Arabia, Second is The Warriors, Third is that Joe Dirt one.
posted by vapidave at 7:37 AM on July 22, 2014


Also, is there only one gun in the whole Warriors universe? I know that they said no guns at the gang meeting, but the majority of the movie happened throughout the city and the only time we saw a gun was at the very beginning to kill Cyrus and then again at the very end, and I am pretty sure it was the same gun both times.

The book (which I just read a week or two ago) handles this differently - Each gang brings one gun to Ismael (not Cyrus) as a peace offering.

(also - when the cops show up at the meeting, several gang heads think it was a setup and many shots are fired at Ismael - there's no one guy who does it.)
posted by Lucinda at 8:18 AM on July 22, 2014


So why, then, do the Warriors just walk away?

Because they had totally had enough of all that turf violence shit by then. Been decimated by it, in fact. I think it makes perfect sense for them to walk away, and makes for a powerful ending to a great little film.

Btw, it was the violence at a couple Warriors showings that helped kill the release of another wonderful cult movie, Over the Edge, about teenagers in a dead-end suburb who run riot over idiot/asshole adults. Previously.
posted by mediareport at 8:22 AM on July 22, 2014


hey are going to fight, but then the Riffs show up just in time to go after the Rogues. But this means that the Riffs are on the Warriors turf, right? And even if they are a physically superior gang we know that this isn't ok, as evidenced by the Orphans being unhappy about the Warriors walking down their streets. So why, then, do the Warriors just walk away?

The Riffs were the gang lead by Cyrus, and the most powerful gang in the city, so if they're going after the Rogues it means the Warriors have been cleared. I think the Warriors are just happy to be off the hook. Also the Orphans had a bit of an inferiority complex.
posted by Hoopo at 9:18 AM on July 22, 2014


I enjoyed the gangs being organized based on weird theme affiliations rather than racial or ethnic lines.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:59 PM on July 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


My friend Jimmy Cropsey (you out there man?) showed this to me when I was maybe in 7th grade? My sense was he knew about i from an older sibling. It made a huge impression. I don't think I could articulate exactly what influence this had on me but I'm pretty sure it was big. I guess I still assume we eventually will live in that post apocalyptic world where things are really fucked up but there are still roller skates.
posted by latkes at 7:42 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Having watched this movie twenty or thirty times as a teenager, there was no way in hell I was willing to accept Deborah Van Valkenburg as Ted Knight's daughter on Too Close for Comfort. No way.
posted by valkane at 7:30 AM on July 23, 2014


I enjoyed the gangs being organized based on weird theme affiliations rather than racial or ethnic lines.

Here's a full breakdown based on the script and the video game. Several are mixed-race, but some are definitely race-based gangs.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:45 PM on July 23, 2014


We are watching the comics-afied director's version right now. My BF had never watched it before, incredibly. Such a treat to see it with a set of fresh eyes.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:02 PM on July 23, 2014


Come Out To Play

Though I haven't seen this entire movie, this line is stuck in my head. I've even passed it along to my son, because what's better than a three year old saying "Warriors, come out to plaayyy ... warriors, come out to plaaaaaayyyyyy"?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:46 PM on July 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


computech_apolloniajames: the comics-afied director's version

I was confused, until I read this review of the Director's Version:
For this Ultimate Director's Cut, Hill has made only minor changes that don't really make a huge difference with one exception. This new version opens with a brief prologue, narrated by Hill himself, which tells of a Greek army caught a thousand miles away from the sea that had to battle their way home. It doesn't add much but it gets out of the way immediately and segues into the familiar version.

More controversial is the use of a comic book metaphor to bridge scene transitions. The picture freezes and turns into an illustrated panel that then moves across the page to the drawing of the start of the next scene. It's a pretty cool effect that reinforces Hill's vision of the movie being a live-action comic book.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:50 PM on July 25, 2014


A couple a years ago we showed this movie to our niece in college, who was blown away. Also, I need to dust off the Warriors video game for Ye Olde Xbox. I played it for a bit but then stopped. My favorite part so far is the mini-game for ripping off car stereos, where one must undertake a series of unscrewings.
posted by exogenous at 8:45 AM on July 31, 2014


what's better than a three year old saying "Warriors, come out to plaayyy ... warriors, come out to plaaaaaayyyyyy"?

....So, a couple years ago I was visiting London, and decided that just once I was gonna splurge on a genuine London taxi. So one day, when I had a short enough trip ahead of me, I hailed one. The cabbie was straight out of Central Casting - seriously, whatever image probably popped into your head when I said "London cabbie" - older guy, red-faced, thick Cockney accent - that was exactly the guy.

And we chatted a little bit as he drove. There had been some kind of a traffic regulation recently passed and I asked how he was coping with that, he told me...he asked where I was from, and when I told him "New York" he crowed, "Ah, luvly, the city so nice they named it twice!" And we were generally just having a fine talk.

And then suddenly he said "you know what movie about New York I just love? It's an old'un, blokes my age always try to see it when it comes on the telly...." and I'm nodding my head and waiting for him to say "On The Town" or something like that. But then suddenly he says, "It's called...you ever 'eard of The Warriors?"

"OMIGODYES!" I nearly shrieked.

"You've 'ERD of it!" he crowed, delighted. And then we both started babbling away about it, me telling him about how that same Greek Army story they allude to in the director's cut is what inspired it, and him marvelling over that. And right before we got to my stop he said "you know my favorite part, is when that bloke's got those bottles, remember?" and he was turning around to me at this point, miming clicking his fingers together, and we both said the famous line together.

So in short - what might be possibly better than hearing a three year old saying "Waaaariorrrrrs, come out to PLAY-ayyyyyy!" is hearing a 60-year-old London cabbie saying it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:44 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Gordon Freeman is a fan.
posted by homunculus at 9:20 PM on December 31, 2014


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