The Warriors (1979)

the warriors poster 1979 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Uber cool movie

Some weird directing decisions, lack of purpose for Mercy character

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Warriors

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Genre(s): Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): February 9, 1979

MPAA Rating: R


Every time The Rock speaks, he channels me!

Can you dig it?  Cyrus has called all the gangs of New York to the Bronx to unite the gangs under his leadership.  When Cyrus is shot, and the police movie in the shooter accuses the Warriors of killing Cyrus.  Now all the gangs are hunting the leaderless Warriors and all they want to do is get back to Coney Island.

Directed by Walter Hill, The Warriors is a cult dystopian action-adventure based on the 1965 novel by Sol Yurick.  The movie has a rabid following and even spawned a video game in 2005…over 25 years after its release.

The Warriors is one of those counter-culture pop movies that just builds in popularity.  It had mild success in the theater (though critically panned) and even spawning a video game in 2005 (more than 25 years after its release), toys, and comic books.  It has tons of quotes like “can you dig it” and “Warriors come out to play-i-ay” (which is said by the perfectly snaky David Patrick Kelly who also played a great creep in Dreamscape).


Warriors, come out to play-i-ay!

What makes The Warriors work is that it is in a weird dystopia future (it really doesn’t need to be set in the future…the dystopia works even if was set in 1979).  The gangs all have their bizarre colors and get-ups, and it falls into a very A Clockwork Orange feel.  The movie boosts it with a techno soundtrack and a mix of classic rock style music belted out by the D. J. (Lynne Thigpen…known for her role as the Chief from Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego).  It is this strange mish-mash that drives the movie.

the warriors-baseball-furies

Sure we look kind of cool, but we really need to go to the batting cages since only about one of us made contact with a weaponless Warrior

There are problems with The Warriors.  The gangs, while cool, are so underplayed.  The Baseball Furies…They’re cool…They also go out like wusses.  There is only a couple good fights in the movie, and it feels like there could have been so much more done with the gangs.  Fox (Thomas G. Waites) goes out like a chump by being thrown onto subway tracks by an officer.  This wasn’t planned.  He had argued with the director and got fired from the movie.  This left the problem of Mercy (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) who was originally set up as his girlfriend.  She just randomly shows up and has to hook up with Swan (Michael Beck) later in the movie, and it all seems really forced.  Ajax (James Remar) is cool and his character’s end is interesting but it would have been nice to have the brawler around longer and have him rival Swan more.

The Warriors is just one of those cool, quotable movies.  It has problems, but they can be overlooked for the most part because the movie is just fun.  It keeps moving and doesn’t linger so if you have a problem with one scene it quickly changes.  I’m not a huge fan of the director’s decision to make it “comic book” style because that can be a distraction.  There has been talk of a remake (which I hope won’t happen)…Warriors come out to play-i-ay!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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