“Why I love Walter Hill’s The Warriors”
Many films are given the title of cult classic, but few truly deserve it as much as The Warriors. Released in 1979 and based on the book of the same name by Sol Yurick, it was the third film directed by Walter Hill following the incredible The Street Fighter and The Driver. The film set in the not to distant future introduces us to Cyrus, the leader of the biggest gang in New York City, The Gramercy Riffs as he holds a Conclave with delegates from all the gangs in the City. Cyrus wants all the gangs in the City to form together, giving them larger numbers than the Cops in NYC, giving them the power to do whatever they want.
Cyrus’s speech is cut short when he is shot dead by someone in the crowd (remaining spoiler free) and The Warriors are wrongly framed for the crime. Now the Warriors have to make their way across New York City all the back to their own turf Coney Island, with every gang in the City looking for them and wanting them dead. The film follows the gang as they make the perilous journey back to Coney Island and along the way introduces us to gangs such as The Orphans, The Lizzies, The Turnbull AC’s, The Rogues and the iconic Baseball Furies!
New York City has never looked so gritty and if you visit the City having seen the film, you can’t help but pick out locations as you make your way around. I’ve yet to make a pilgrimage to Coney Island, but hope to take care of this on my next visit to this great City. With an incredible cast, screenplay and one of the greatest soundtracks from the 70’s, it is one of the best films to come out that decade!
In 2005, a Directors Cut of the film was released on DVD/Blu Ray adding a new intro to the film and some great special features but if you want the best version (IMHO) of the film, hunt out the Theatrical cut of the film. If this film doesn’t find you ordering a replica vest and patrolling the streets of your “turf” then I’m not the Dark King of the Sith. HOT DANG!
Over the years we have been lucky to get some great merchandise and tie-in’s to the original film. Rockstar Games released an excellent Warriors video game for the PS2 (Available on the PlayStation Store for download to your PS4) and Dynamite released a comic adaptation of the film along with a comic sequel entitled Jailbreak.
Mezco released a couple of different series of Warriors toys in 9 inch movie accurate dolls and 10 inch cartoon style figures. Both have become quite hard to get hold of, especially the 10 inch figures which sell for quite a lot on “evil bay”.
In April 2017, I was lucky enough to meet a number of the cast members at a convention in Birmingham called the UK Conclave. As soon as this con was announced I jumped at the chance to buy a meet and greet ticket and I was not disappointed. Michael Beck (Swan), Dorsey Wright (Cleon), Brian Tyler (Snow), Thomas Waites (Fox), Terry Michos (Vermin), David Harris (Cochise) and Konrad Sheehan (The Punks gang leader) were all in attendance and had a lot of time for the fans.
2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the film and I believe plans are afoot for Conclave events around the UK and the U.S. Make sure if you are a fan of the film, that you get your tickets for that when they go on sale!