The Warriors is the story of New York City gangs. Cyrus, the leader of the most powerful gang in New York City, calls together representatives of all other NYC gangs for a remarkable proposal: quit fighting amongst themselves and band together to run the entire city as gang members vastly outnumber the police. Things go awry when a rogue gang member assassinates Cyrus and blames it on the Warriors, a gang from Coney Island. Word quickly spreads and unarmed and outnumbered, The Warriors must make their way back to their home turf through wave after wave of enemies.
Apparently the story draws inspiration from Xeonphon’s “Anabasis” about Greek mercenaries who find themselves stranded behind enemy Persian lines after aligning themselves with Cyrus the Younger in the battle of Cunaxa, which was an attempt to seize the Persian throne. The movie itself was based on the 1965 novel by Sol Yurick which itself was a gritty, realistic portrayal of gangs and intended to be an antidote to the stylized West Side Story view of gangs. (1)
Released in 1979, The Warriors was controversial at the time. Gang related violence broke out at several screenings and the movie was soon pulled from theaters. Subsequent VHS, DVD and Blu Ray releases have cemented the movie as a cult favorite.
The movie itself is campy; each gang has its own name and costume. For example, the Baseball Furies dress as baseball players with painted faces and fight with ball bats. Despite the camp factor, the movie is hyper violent. And even though the violence is heavily stylized (again, the ball bat fight between The Warriors and the Baseball Furies) but brutal and unrelenting. Definitely not for the squeamish.
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Worth a look if you like hyper violent movies or campy, cult classics.
Skip it if you are turned off by excessive violence or you think that West Side Story is a more accurate representation of gang life.
(1) Taken from the Internet Movie Database entry on The Warriors. Click on the link for more Warriors trivia.