he inspiration for 'The Warriors' comes from a novel by Sol Yurick; on the mythical tale of Greek historian, Xenophon The Athenian.
The Anabasis is the story of the retreat from Persia in 401 B.C. He and the troops found themselves having to travel back to their homeland, with few provisions and severely outnumbered, deep in hostile enemy territory.
In Walter Hill's film the premise is the same, but Persia has been replaced with the dark, desolate neighborhoods, parks and empty neon undergrounds of New York City.
Cyrus (Hill), president of New York's biggest gang 'The Gramercy Riffs' has called a meeting of all the major gangs at Riverside Drive Park. As requested each sends nine unarmed delegates to represent and listen to the ideals and proposals of the man. He states that, if the warring gangs unite, they can overwhelm the police and take control of their own turfs.
As the gangland, fantasy rhetoric reaches its peak a single shot rings out, killing the fantasist orator. Pandemonium swiftly ensues as hundreds of police officers suddenly ambush the meeting. Taking advantage of the resulting confusion, the gunman Luther (Kelly) the leader of The Rogues gang, starts screaming hysterically "'The Warriors' shot Cyrus!" Mob-rule takes over and Cleon (Wright) the charismatic leader of the titular gang is set upon... he dishes out a memorable roundhouse kick and crashes his elbow into another gang member's face before being quickly overwhelmed by a mob that kick and stamp him to a gruesome fate. The rest of the gang escapes to the sanctuary of a nearby graveyard, its here that Swan (Beck) assumes the vacated leadership, much to the vexation of the belligerent, snarling Ajax (Remar) who begrudgingly goes along with the appointment.
The new objective is make it back to home turf in Coney Island... yet at that very moment, in another part of the city, a radio DJ (Thigpen) plays a chilling request on behalf of 'The Gramercy Riffs'... "To that real live bunch from Coney... The Warriors..." the song is Nowhere To Hide... word is out on the street that they are wanted dead or alive... every gang in the city is now looking for them and there's 29 miles of hostile territory between them and home.
Early into the journey 'The Warriors', identifiable by the burgundy leather waistcoats they adorn over bare-chests, encounter a second division outfit The Orphans. A brash, swaggering streetwise chick, Mercy, berates the sorry combat t-shirted bunch for temporarily surrendering their turf; her goading wrecking an initial truce between the crews. 'The Warriors' sedate the Orphans by hurling a molotov cocktail into their ranks.
As they rapidly leave the neighborhood, Mercy tags along with them for the ride.
The hazardous passage home sees them having to fight battles and encountering numerous obstacles from both the NYPD's uniformed and plain-clothed officers and of course, the city's notorious gangs. The film is justifiably infamous for its profusion of bizarrely stylized and humorously named gangs, ranging from the likes of the Turnball AC's, a posse of skinheads from all creeds, who drive around, in-and-on top of an old school bus! The sinister Baseball Furies, a seemingly mute gang, with expressionless painted faces, dressed in baseball uniforms and branding obligatory bats, to 'The Punks' a gang kitted out in denim dungarees that cruise the subway on roller skates looking for trouble. There are also the temptresses from 'The Lizzies', who prove, initially at least, to be a welcome distraction from tension fuelled retreat.
As they navigate their way through the phantasmagoric under-belly of the city they incur inevitable causalities and fragmentation of the unit. Swan and Mercy find themselves with only each other's company on the journey to a pre-ordained rendezvous at Union Station. While part of the crew are partying with 'The Lizzies', they find themselves hiding out in the tunnels of the subway. The dynamics of the situation inevitably leads to attraction between Swan and Mercy. Although the Warrior talks tough, initially telling Mercy to get lost, her tenacious attitude and raw femininity break down his barriers. In fact, the film's only moment of tenderness comes when after leaving the subway tunnel they board a train and are obviously pretty bedraggled... Two teenage couples board and sit opposite Swan & Mercy. They are dressed as if returning from the prom, the girls looking fresh-faced and glamorous... They seem horrified at the at the two opposite them. As Mercy attempts to adjust her hair, Swan gently puts his hand on top of her's. -His implicit message, "I like your look... don't apologise to anyone for who you are". The teenagers hurriedly leave at the next station, one of the girls discarding a red carnation on the train floor. Swan retrieves it and clutches it symbolically.
Some of 'The Warriors' make it to Union where they catch the early morning train back to Coney Island, there they are met by 'The Rouges', the real perpetrators of the shooting and the fierce Gramercy Riffs for the finale in a eerily deserted beach front fair-ground, that 'The Warriors' call home turf.
Don't forget that The Warriors is now available to order on Widescreen DVD using our special 70s search device... [See DVD section or click here for more details]
By: Stuart Fitzgerald
The Warriors is not perhaps the gritty realistic gang film people might have expected to see.
The film is set in an ambiguous near future and watched today it comes across as an excercise in comic book outragouesness. Yet at the time of it's release it was acccussed of provoking gang warfare in the inner cities of both the US and the UK.
The retreat through a world where the rest of the city seems to be in a coma gives the film a decidedly mystical atmosphere. This may be due to adherence to the original mythical tale of The Anabasis. The gang's journey is one battle and obstacle after another, the enemy materializing like phantoms. The battles they encounter require a different form of combat on each occassion, forcing them to their extremes in order to survive. The films low beat ending lacks the fireworks of say, "The Wanderers" (1979), but this is intended to underline that this film as all about the tribe's storm back across the harzardous city to home base Coney Island.
The film's victory is in its seamless blending of music, comic book characters, neon and graffiti that paved the way for the more colourful 80's.
Gangs who feature prominently in the build up to the rally include The Boppers, distinguishable by their shiny purple waistcoats and purple hats; The Highhats, who stylistically resemble Alex's drooges from A Clockwork Orange (1971). The Electric Eliminators, who wear shimmering yellow baseball jackets, similar to those from The Wanderers (1979) and the Savage Huns, who can be seen wearing green overalls and pointy hats.
Like Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971) before it, 'The Warriors' suffered the preposterous charges of causing gang outbreaks in large US & UK cities.
Walter Hill wanted the film to open with "Sometime in the future" as well as 'The Warriors' to be an all black gang, but producers disagreed.
James Remar (Ajax), Marcelino Sánchez (Rembrandt) and David Patrick Kelly (Luther) all starred in Hill's 48 Hours. Remar plays the badass Ganz, Sánchez is a parking lot attendant and Patrick Kelly plays Luther... again! The cop from 'The Warriors' who had a baseball bat thrown at him from 'The Warriors' also features as Billy Bear.
The Baseball Furies were made up of all the stuntmen from the movie.
The Warriors sign that was painted on the bath-house for the lobby card photo, was actually painted over a real NY gang's tag. They didn't take to lightly to this, so the producers paid them to be in the film.
The fight scene between the warriors and the punks took 5 days to complete shooting. Each day went from 8am-7pm. [Thanks to Jerri]
An opening daytime scene showing Cleon talking to his concerned girlfriend about the meeting was cut. Apparently Cleon was sitting on a bench. As the camera follows the girlfriend, walking up to him, the camera pulls back and you see an immense shot of Coney Island and a huge wall with Warriors spray-painted on it.
The Warriors, just like 'Scarface' from the '80s, developed into a big influence in hip-hop culture, as you would see many references with the movie in either their music videos, songs, or even CD covers. Some of these include:
1:Get Crunk Musik music video by Jim Jones, Juelz Santana and Cam'Ron. Released around February or March, this whole video was influenced by the movie, and included some famous scene enactments like the gang meeting and the infamous "come out and play" scene at the end of the video. Also, you'll notice some Baseball Furies in some clips.
2:The Warriors mixtape cover by Dame Dash. It has the original "The Warriors" insignia that was used for the posters.
3:Flava In Your Ear music video by Craig Mack. This 1994 video featured P. Diddy (then called Puff Daddy) in the begining of the video clinking 2 glass bottles together saying, "Bad Boy, come out and plaaaaaayyyy". [Thanks to Calvin Gardner]
Just after Cyrus is shot and the Warrior's are escaping, Ajax (Remar) starts to break down a wooden fence if you like close you will see the name 'WALTER' Sprayed on the fence. [Thanks to Adrian Monaghan]
"Mercy" is seen in the 2nd half wearing a jacket, because her arm was broken after an accident in the set. [Thanks to Cleon G]
The actress who plays Mercy was also on the TV sitcom 'Too Close for Comfort'. [Thanks to Andy]
While the entire cast was virtually unknown, many went on to higher profile parts. Beck went on to the bubble-gummy "Xanadu". Mercedes Ruehl never became a superstar, but worked steadily through the 80's. One of the uniformed NYPD cops was Sonny Landham, who appeared in "Predator" with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Billy, the American Indian point-man. The head of the Rogues has appeared in cameos and guest slots for movies and television respectively, including "Crocodile Dundee II", and "E.R.". [Thanks to Roger Awalt]
There are several scenes that are cut from the video tape or dvd, but when i originally saw the warriors on network tv in the early 80s those scenes were included. For example, on the dvd, the very first scene is a shot of the wonder wheel. Thats wrong! Before that scene Cleon has all the warriors lined up and he gives them their assigments. He tells Swan that hes the warlord, Vermin is the bear, and Ajax and Cochies are soldiers. [Thanks to steve]
There were riots and rampages in New York City, Los Angeles and Cincinati after the movie was put out in 1979. Three reported deaths took place outside of movie theaters across the country. [Thanks to the grubermeister]
NYC based rock group 'Twisted Sister' did the bottle clicking "Warriors, come out and play" as the introduction to their "Come Out And Play" album, and changing the line to "Twisted Sister, come out and play". [Thanks to Brian]
know some The Warriors trivia that we could add? [Please
send it in]
90% of the subway shots were done at 72nd Street Station and the West Side.
The IND Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station in Brooklyn was used for the 96th St. station scenes. The train operated on one of the unused outer tracks.
Riverside drive in Manhatten was used for the meeting in the bronx and also in the fighting sequence with the furies. [Thanks to Daniel Diaz]
Can you help? Do you know any of the New York City, New York (or any other) filming locations used for The Warriors? [Please send them in]
|Trailer, Commentary, Featurette, OutTakes|
Ultimate Director's Cut Edition|
|Trailer, Commentary, Featurette, OutTakes|
Ultimate Director's Cut Edition|
1. Theme from 'The Warriors' - Barry de Vorzon
2. Nowhere to Run - Arnold McCuller
3. In Havana - Ismael Miranda
4. Echoes in My Mind - Mandrill
5. Fight - Barry de Vorzon
6. In the City - Joe Walsh
7. Love Is a Fire - Genya Ravan
8. Baseball Furies Chase - Barry de Vorzon
9. You're Movin' Too Slow - John Vastano
10. Last of an Ancient Breed - Desmond Child
Soundtrack Available: On CD
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|Cleon framed by the neon night|
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