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The Wanderers (1979)

Ken Wahl , Karen Allen , Philip Kaufman  |  R |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ken Wahl, Karen Allen, John Friedrich, Toni Kalem, Alan Rosenberg
  • Directors: Philip Kaufman
  • Writers: Philip Kaufman, Richard Price, Rose Kaufman
  • Producers: Fred C. Caruso, John W. Hyde, Martin Ransohoff, Richard R. St. Johns
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 3, 2002
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000696IC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,995 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wanderers" on IMDb

Special Features

  • All-New Digital Transfer

Editorial Reviews

Tully High School seniors Richie, Joey and Perry run with a gang called the Wanderers in the Bronx. The time is fall 1963 but their experiences are universal: falling in love, surviving in school and defending turf against rivals like the Fordham Baldies, the Del Bombers and the Ducky Boys.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1960'S ERA CULT CLASSIC February 28, 2005
Format:DVD
The Wanderers is many things...an urban gang drama, juvenile comedy, changing of the times study and more. It works on all these levels and has become a certified cult classic. At it's core, the Wanderers is about the final death of the innocence of the 1950's. The Wanderers are an Italian gang in NY, still clinging to the last vestiges of the 1950's with their matching satin jackets and grease-backed hair. Early on several members run afoul of another gang, the notorious 'Baldies'. The Wanderers find themselves trapped until a newcomer, the huge Perry saves them and is immediately welcomed into the gang by their leader Richie (Ken Wahl).

The various members of the Wanderers have problems to deal with on their own. Richie has gotten his girlfriend, Despie, pregnant, Perry's mother is an Alcoholic, Turkey wants to join the Baldies and Joey has an abusive father who thinks his son doesn't measure up. The Wanderers have a verbal war with a black gang, the Del Bombers, in school and decide to settle things with an old-fashioned rumble.

When the Wanderers cannot get any other gangs to back them up, Despies father (Dolph Sweet) a neighborhood mob boss steps in and decides to stop the rumble and have the gangs settle their differences with a football game instead...with a lot of mob money riding on the outcome. The game climaxes when the two gangs, along with the rest in attendance, must join together to fight "The Ducky Boys", a group of vicious, seemingly homosexuals, who have crashed the game with hundreds of members.

Mixed in with the drama and action is a liberal amount of juvenile buddy comedy as the Wanderers 'accidently' bumb into women on the street in order to touch their breasts.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original Boys from the Bronx........ October 18, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
"The Wanderers" is a class act and a stylish movie that has a brassy toughness to it that is both infectious and moving. It was probably overshadowed on it's release by the other gang movie of 1979 "The Warriors", but "The Wanderers" easily holds an equal footing as an excellent period piece of working class lives in 1963. The film centres around the lives of a gang of young boys in the Bronx in mid 1963 coming to terms with friendships, school, girls and other gangs. Ken Wahl ( a promising actor who for some reason never quite made it to the big time !! ) plays a great lead as the smooth talking and charismatic, Richie, the leader of the Wanderers. Richie is struggling to maintain his gangs strength and position in the local neighbourhood as well as juggling his many relationships with different girlfriends. He meets a young and attractive Karen Allen whilst out on the streets with his buddies, and from there another relationship develops. Allen plays her role with style, and even though Allen is not a great beauty, she has that unmistakable feminine charm, especially when that wonderful smile lights up her face.
What makes the movie all the more interesting is the way it goes behind the scenes into the home lives and the hopes, fears and dreams of some of the gang members. We see Joey's artistic talents put down by his fearsome, aggressive father...we see Turkey struggle with his own identity within the different gangs...and we see Richie forced to take responsibility for his actions near the film's conclusion. Backing the movie up, is a dynamite soundtrack containing some top numbers including "Stand by Me", "Runaraound Sue", "Soldier Boy" & of course "The Wanderer" !!
A movie that has charm & talent, and stands up to repeated viewings with ease...if you haven't seen it already....catch up with "The Wanderers" soon !!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly underated movie, a classic November 8, 2004
Format:DVD
This is a movie that will stay in my mind at least for a long time. The rhythm, the soundtrack, the different aspects of the plot, the photography, every detail was perfect.

You dont have to be a baby boomer or be from the Bronx to like this movie. Im a generation X guy, never lived in the Bronx and this has become to be one of my favorite movies.

The atmosphere of the movie is a blue collar neighborhood, nothing spectacular brights there, but the mentality, romanticism and values of that time represented in this movie, made this look like this as a perfect era. It also made me understand the nostalgy of the baby boomers.

The final scene, (dont read this if you havent seen the movie), where Joey and Perry left New York,in my opinion represents the exodus of the people that lived in the inner city toward the suburbs or the new promising west states. A symbol of this phenomenum was,the traumatic for many, departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers to the new great city in that time, Los Angeles.

There are other parts of the movie that deserves an anthropological and sociological analysis.

This film is a timeless jewel, I think I was lucky the day I saw this on cable for the first time. Before watching this, I never imagined this movie could be that great. And definitively, the box office and the critics never made justice to this film. This was the perfect closer for perhaps the greatest decade of cinema.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the Sleeper Films of 1979 April 28, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
For anyone that thinks that the Wanderers is just another nostalgic film about New York City street gangs in the 1950's, they are wrong. One has to carefully unravel the social undercurrents that stream below the surface of a seemingly insignificant story about a group of Bronx teenagers called the Wanderers. William Andrews is cleverly cast as the dominating Emilio; the insecure father of Wanderer member Joey. Joey is a bright, artistic teen who cannot fill the blue collar, tough guy pretense that his father hopes will keep him trapped in tenament obscurity. Middle aged Emilio hides his social inadequacies by lifting weights and entering amatuer body building contests in hopes of finally beating "the Greek", his unknown nemesis. Emilio's wife (Olympia Dukakis) can only ponder younger days while smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee in her housecoat. She is hopelessly content, just like many of the second generation Italian and Greek women that settled in the Bronx with their families in the 1950's. She is not happy, neither is Emilio who only finds temporary bliss when he sleeps with the alcoholic widow who lives down the hall. These are unfulfilled adults who live together, eat together, and sleep together, but cannot tear themselves away from their shallow lifestyle. The Wanderers, full of energy, youth, and bravado do; well some of them anyway. The Wanderers led by Richie (Ken Wahl) are about to cross the threshold into manhood. Highschool graduation looms near and lower class European immigrants in N.Y.C. had few career choices in the late 50's and early 60's. Most teens married early and rooted themselves in jobs provided by friends or family. Read more ›
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