“Warriors… come out to PLAY!”
Walter Hill’s 1979 classic, The Warriors, introduces us to dark, burned-out vision of New York City, filled with flashy gangs and treachery. It’s easy to pass it over as a campy action flick (there was a Rockstar video game based on the film), but there is a lot more to it than pinstripe-clad clowns with baseball bats.
The Warriors are a street gang based out of Coney Island and are invited to a meeting in the Bronx. Nine guys, no weapons. Once they arrive, they find themselves framed and hunted on all sides. Their journey back to Coney Island is tough, but it’s awesome.
You won’t recognize many faces unless you really know your stuff, but the performances are (mostly) solid. One standout for me is the Radio DJ, Lynne Thigpen. Like a Greek chorus, she speaks to the audience, warning The Warriors through song, “No where to run to baby/No where to hide…”.
Interestingly, even though this is a movie about gangs, guns are used mostly as a plot device. The fights are all well choreographed brawls and each one gets bigger and crazier. The last scene is absolutely great.
Hill shot the movie on the streets of New York and rarely has it looked darker. There are some really cool shots in the beginning of the iconic Wonder Wheel, and the constant darkness and emptiness makes you constantly feel like danger is right around the corner.
Normally you would never hear this, but I highly suggest the Director’s Cut. Mostly because it replaces the original’s Star Wars style wipes with sleek, comic book transitions that really add style.
While probably not a date night movie, The Warriors is one of my all time favorite movies. It stands up pretty well and still seems to fly under the radar.
Have you seen The Warriors? What did you think? Comment below!