Walter Hill's "The Warriors"
April 10, 2012 6:49 PM   Subscribe

As brutally stylish as it is when the fists and baseball bats are flying, the underlying themes of family and perseverance are what make The Warriors stand out from the rest of the "grim future" epics of the period. - Celluloid Dreams
posted by Trurl (49 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not sure that either Dawn of the Dead or The Warriors were supposed to be in future settings. That sounds pretty wrong in fact.
posted by Artw at 6:52 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


That sounds pretty wrong in fact.

I never thought of it that way either. But A.O. Scott seems to share the impression.
posted by Trurl at 6:54 PM on April 10, 2012


I've always wondered if I'd hear the Can you dig it? speech updated for an occupy protest. I think of The Warriors every time I take out bottles to recycle.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:05 PM on April 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Turns out that the co-founder of Rockstar Games is also a parent at my kids' school.

I was telling him how much I loved the Warriors game because it captured the style of the movie so well. He agreed and said that they worked incredibly hard to get it right, including hiring the original cast to do VO work. The only person who wouldn't play was Cyrus. It didn't sound like he's rolling in dough, but he just wanted nothing to do with that movie again. I guess you can only get asked to say "can you dig it" so many times before it gets old.
posted by bpm140 at 7:05 PM on April 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Look, I know for a fact that the Baseball Furies ruled Manhattan with an iron fist throughout the 70s. The Warriors was here and now all the way.
posted by COBRA! at 7:06 PM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, Pop Will Eat Itself made liberal use of that same in one of their songs.
posted by bpm140 at 7:08 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I was in high school, I rented The Warriors.

What is unusual about that is that I rented it from Fotomat, and in order to do so, I had to order it 2 days in advance, out of a catalog, and it cost $12 for 5 days.
posted by crunchland at 7:10 PM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


There was a Warriors Bike Race in 2002 that attempted to recreate the route in the film. Apparently a documentary was made, but I can't find a clip or trailer.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:16 PM on April 10, 2012


And here for all these years I had thought it was the fact that the film is a straight adaptation of the Odyssey that made it timeless and effective. Silly me.
posted by mwhybark at 7:18 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


straight adaptation of the Odyssey

It is pretty much established that the inspiration was Xenophon's Anabasis
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:23 PM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh! I would be totally prone to get nabbed by the subway cops if I did not note that Walter Hill is also the father of the Alien franchise.

My recollection is that he took the money from The Warriors and used it to fund Alien. Wikipedia notes same year releases, so I could be wrong. I believe I heard that when I was writing for a film magazine in the process of writing something about Hill, but the sands of my mind have shifted to hide details and reliable citations.
posted by mwhybark at 7:26 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Last time I watched it, I read it as "near future," but maybe because the way some of the gangs were uniformed reminded me of A Clockwork Orange. Maybe people in Brooklyn in 1979 felt like things were really that out of control, but the general sense of lawlessness also gave me a near future vibe, too.

This guy says there's a director's cut with the "near future" caption:
Paramount Home Entertainment has released a new "Ultimate Director's Cut" DVD of The Warriors to replace their previous DVD release from 2001. As far as I can tell, the only new elements in this cut which are different are some transitional devices and a new title card. The film now opens with the words "Sometime in the future". In his introduction to the film, Walter Hill explains that he always saw The Warriors as being futuristic and a comic-book film.
Someone else says the same.
posted by mph at 7:27 PM on April 10, 2012


Make that "a near future caption."

I mentioned the possibility of the caption in passing then decided to go out and verify its existence, deleting my initial reference.
posted by mph at 7:29 PM on April 10, 2012


Not sure that .. The Warriors .. supposed to be in future settings.

"Sometime in the future"
posted by stbalbach at 7:35 PM on April 10, 2012


What a great cult movie, one of my faves. Worth mentioning that the deaths that occurred around some showings of The Warriors was responsible for Orion burying the release of another excellent 1979 youth/cult flick, Over the Edge. If you like this one but haven't seen that, it's just as good in a more realistic way.

Oh yeah, the "sometime in the future" comic book caption is pretty clear, and I always placed it in a near future myself, but it has to be said: the new "transitional devices" in the re-release are atrocious - lame comic-book-style panels that do nothing but interfere with the flow of the film. Why Walter Hill thought that was a good idea is beyond me.
posted by mediareport at 7:44 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is to say, the "sometime in the future" bit was not part of the original release.
posted by mediareport at 7:45 PM on April 10, 2012


Or, as far as I can remember, part of the book.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 7:47 PM on April 10, 2012


Huh. Every time I've seen this, I've always managed to arrive just after the start of the opening credits, so I never knew the film gave a nod to Anabasis. Awesome!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:58 PM on April 10, 2012


That part wasn't in the film originally, Empress; it was added just a few years ago.
posted by mediareport at 8:01 PM on April 10, 2012


What I never understood was how the Warriors didn't, well, "warrior up" more.

Turnbull ACs vs Warriors. Warriors run away.
Orphans vs Warriors. Warriors parlay, throw molotov cocktail, run away.
Police vs Warriors. Warriors run away.
Baseball Furies vs Warriors. Warriors try to run away, but have to fight.
Lizzies vs Warriors. Warriors run away.
Punks vs Warriors. Warriors are cornered and have to fight.
Rogues vs Warriors. The Riffs show up so they don't have to fight.

For a movie about gang fighting there was very little gang fighting.
posted by condiments at 8:16 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


the man of twists and turns, you *would* recognize the journey as that of another.

thanks for the tip! I really had thought it was what I said, but had long pondered the strange irruption of Cyrus in the tale. Turns out, I was just ignorant!
posted by mwhybark at 8:32 PM on April 10, 2012


The director's cut just makes me so angry. I wouldn't care if the original was still available, but now it's out of print and this new stupid comic-book version is the only one you can see.

People complain about George Lucas, but Walter Hill's guilty too. (As are the Coen brothers, Alex Cox, and other indie darlings. Feh, feh.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 8:34 PM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


I kind of want to see the director of The Raid: Redemption re-make this movie.
posted by fatehunter at 8:48 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Sometime in the future"

Oh god, that's horrible.
posted by Artw at 8:52 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always imagined that the policewoman in the park grew up to be Josh Baskins' mother, because it's the same actress.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:00 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone else piping in to say that the near-future thing really makes no sense. There has to be some indicator that something significant has changed, even if it's something as small as (in Predator 2) the cops carrying rather overpowered sidearms because criminals have correspondingly heavy-caliber guns and armor. Although a lot of the gangs (like the Baseball Furies) are rather improbably dressed, there's really nothing in The Warriors that was out of place for the mid-late seventies; in fact, the big meeting of all the gangs which sets off the action had a real-life precedent, although the ending was different. Hill's revisions really are of a piece with George Lucas' meddling.

Also:

What I never understood was how the Warriors didn't, well, "warrior up" more.

Did you miss the part where the original president got killed because he stayed to fight, or when the deejay who was working with/for the Riffs (the estimable late Lynne Thigpen, who was also in Godspell) announced a bounty on the Warriors to every gang in the city? They're trying to get back to Coney Island because it's their home turf and they know the hiding places, weapons caches, locations of allies, etc. If they stayed to fight any of the other gangs, a new one would show up by the time they beat the first one, and they'd be on unfamiliar turf. As it was, I think that they lost about half their number by the time they got home. (Also remember that each gang sent a relatively small number of representatives to the meeting, so that the Warriors weren't even at full strength on the way back.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:47 PM on April 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think of The Warriors every time I take out bottles to recycle.

Man, I still don't understand how he made sitting there clinking bottles with his fingers so freaking creepy. *shivers*
posted by cairdeas at 10:23 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]




There was a Warriors Bike Race in 2002 that attempted to recreate the route in the film. Apparently a documentary was made, but I can't find a clip or trailer.

Oh, it's good - I've seen it at a bicycle film festival. One checkpoint made someone on your team get a shitty tattoo. Lot of the checkpoints got mobbed with people in ridiculous costumes, which pissed off the business owners to no end.

Complete success, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by alex_skazat at 11:31 PM on April 10, 2012


Halloween Jack has it - The Warriors being seriously outgunned and having to duck and evade their way back home IS the movie, sticking around to fight would just get them killed.
posted by Artw at 11:44 PM on April 10, 2012


Moviedrome intro to The Warriors - Mark Cousins, not Alex Cox, but he has a good point about the films mythic qualities - I think that's part of why trying to paint it as some kind of realist depiction of the "newr future" of the 70s is annoying to me.
posted by Artw at 11:49 PM on April 10, 2012


Turnbull ACs vs Warriors. Warriors run away.

Turnbull ACs were armed and there were many more of them - full bus. Warriors were all unarmed.

Orphans vs Warriors. Warriors parlay, throw molotov cocktail, run away.

Before parlaying, one of the Warriors said there are 30 Orphans at full strength, and only 8 warriors (still unarmed).

Police vs Warriors. Warriors run away.

Police have guns..

Baseball Furies vs Warriors. Warriors try to run away, but have to fight.

Lizzies vs Warriors. Warriors run away.

Lizzies also have guns..

Basically, that's what made the film a bit more realistic. They're outgunned and outnumbered everywhere so they have to keep running. It would be absurd if it was directed like Contra or Rambo or something like that.

Punks vs Warriors. Warriors are cornered and have to fight.
Rogues vs Warriors
. The Riffs show up so they don't have to fight.

posted by rainy at 11:51 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm thrilled that The Warriors is a regular discussion on MetaFilter.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:52 PM on April 10, 2012


Oh my, one of my favourite movies. Two comments.

1. David Patrick Kelly was also fantastic in The Crow (don't judge me, it was a great movie) as he begged for his life at the end.

2. I recently attended a family gathering and as I collected empty beer bottles, felt the urge to do the "Warriors come out to play" call. Everyone looked at me like i had gone totally mad.
posted by greenhornet at 12:08 AM on April 11, 2012


It's good... but it's no Wanderers...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:38 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


What was the thread recently where we were talking about good vs bad Director's Cuts? The Warriors was fucking *ruined* when it was re-released with those awful comic book bullshit cutaways. Give me Han shooting second any day.
posted by Jofus at 3:33 AM on April 11, 2012


It is my duty as a citizen, a fan of The Warriors, and as an attention whore, to point out that I worked for about two years with Terry Michos (Vermin) as a directer/editor/ENG at the cable news channel that he is now an anchor at. He's a born again fundamentalist bible banger now. But still a very nice guy.
posted by spicynuts at 6:12 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the comic book stuff in the re-release is pretty terrible throughout, but the ending is just the WORST.

The original was this shot (with Italian subtitles, fun!) which is just them walking down the beach at sunrise, into infinity. There are a fair number of interviews/commentaries on the re-release, which is nice, and I can't remember who on the cast or crew it was, but somebody said that apparently the actors weren't told when they should stop, so they just kept going and going and going, for miles beyond where the cameras covered, which I love.

The director's cut freeze-frames them like 10 seconds in.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:55 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


James Remar (Ajax), David Patrick Kelly (Luther), Sonny Landham (cop), and Marcelino Sánchez (Rembrandt) were all in The Warriors and 48 Hrs., which Walter Hill also directed.

The Warriors Movie Site: Where Are They Now?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:19 AM on April 11, 2012


I hung out a bit with David Patrick Kelly, back in '97. This was before they would have cast the Warriors game, but it he did mention that the main reason he moved from NYC to LA was because he was so goddamn sick of everyone on the subway yelling "Come out and plaaaaaaay" at him.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:15 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter, come out and playyyyyy [clink, clink, clink]
posted by Renoroc at 8:17 AM on April 11, 2012


The DJ was the chief of police in the "Carmen Sandiego" game show.
posted by Renoroc at 8:18 AM on April 11, 2012


I've been to a couple of Timberwolves-vs.-Golden-State-Warriors games at Target Center, and both times the Wolves' AV crew ran the "Warriors, come out and play" clip over and over on the scoreboard videoscreens. And while I thought that was pretty fucking awesome, it did hit me that guys who play for the Warriors probably here that at every away game and must be mighty, mighty sick of it.
posted by COBRA! at 8:22 AM on April 11, 2012


I didn't realize that the only version I've seen is a newer cut with those comic book elements added in.

Honestly, I still thought it was an amazing movie, definitely a favorite from the time it was made, and it struck me as being way ahead of it's time. Now that I know those things were added in later, that impression makes a bit more sense.
posted by utsutsu at 9:26 AM on April 11, 2012


I just read that Kelly actually wanted to use a couple of dead pigeons at first instead of the bottles. No idea how that would have worked.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:27 AM on April 11, 2012


Lizzies also have guns..

The correct phrase is, "The chicks are packed!"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:40 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


How is it possible that we've gotten this far in a Metafilter thread about The Warriors with no one bringing up the Mountain Goats song inspired by the film?
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:28 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


The correct phrase is, "The chicks are packed!"

Totally!

I just want to add that at the start of the movie, they specifically say the conditions of truce at the gathering are: 9 people max, unarmed. When they see the AC's, they comment that they aren't following the truce.

Another interesting point is, how many Warriors are there in total? They make a comment that Orphans are losers because their total strength is ~30, which makes me think total Warriors number is substantially larger, although it may be most of them are younger kids and not top fighters. The 9 sent to the meeting must be their toughest and strongest.

So, to sum up, when they're in the Bronx and while coming back, they're (mostly) unarmed and few in numbers, that's exactly why they have to try to avoid fights; in the same way, greeks under Xenophon, when in foreign lands and cut off from supply lines, would be avoiding battles even they were no shrinking violets..
posted by rainy at 5:28 PM on April 11, 2012


Gah, - even though.
posted by rainy at 5:29 PM on April 11, 2012


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