The Warriors

The Warriors (1979) movie poster

(1979) dir. Walter Hill
viewed: 08/01/08

Oddly enough, this cult film is one that I’d never seen before.  I’ve become an admirer of director Walter Hill’s early work, namely The Driver (1978) and The Long Riders (1980).  I may have to queue up a couple of his other films that I haven’t seen in ages: Southern Comfort (1981), 48 Hrs. (1982), and Streets of Fire (1984).  I don’t really know what happened to his career, but his choices of material may have been what doomed him after a while.  Who knows?

The Warriors is so bizarre that it could only be a cult film.  A Coney Island street gang, the titular “Warriors”, along with dozens of other street gangs from all over New York City convene to a meeting of unity of street gangs.  When the organizer is shot down by the only really “bad” gang, everyone splits, and the Warriors have a long journey home across 1979 New York.

Okay, that isn’t why it’s so weird.  It’s that all of the gangs are goofily-named and costumed to levels that are more outlandish than one another.  It’s kind of like group Halloween in the Castro.  There are mimes, baseball bat carrying KISS face painted goons, guys who wear all kinds of weirdness to look alike.

So not only are they goofy dressed, they are also only semi-tough.  It’s a street gang culture that precedes the the modern gang culture, largely lacking guns and nobody taking drugs.

It does offer a fascinating look into the streets of New York of the time.  I’ve become more interested over time with the New York of the 1980’s, seeing it in several films, a much grittier, overwhelmingly strange and dark and seedy.

I don’t know what to think of this film really.  It’s okay.  It doesn’t strike a chord with me as it has for others.  Everyone attaches themselves to their own cult films.

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