on November 8, 1999
I'm David Shaber's daughter, Sam, (Samantha.) My father wrote the screenplay for The Warriors, and I'm hoping this "review" gets printed because he just passed away on Thursday morning, November 4th, of a sudden burst anneurism. With so many "Warriors" fans out there, I thought you would want to know. I'm incredibly warmed by these wonderful comments about this film and I know that if he read them (although he had barely learned how to search the internet before he died) he would chuckle in his lighthearted way and say something like "Oh, well isn't that nice," all-the-while refusing to take credit for any of it. But I know he deserved that credit, having taken a dark, psychological study of gang warfare and infusing it with a classic but clever and topical, good vs. evil story. (And maybe I shouldn't admit it, but my dad didn't really like the baseball face-paint idea which I believe was one of Walter Hill's additions - he thought that was too unrealistic and "Hollywood"...) Anyway, I do hope the movie is re-issued with the extra scenes at some point, and for those real "followers" I just discovered that you can find a complete list of his produced titles on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) if you want to check it out. The Warriors is indeed an AFFECTING picture, whether you love it or hate it. So thanks for your comments and take care, -Sam.
on October 6, 2005
After almost a year of anticipation, the trumpeted "ultimate director's cut" of the beloved 1979 camp classic arrived - and it made George Lucas's belated Star Wars reeditions, with their already proverbially inane "Greedo shooting first" and "Hayden Christensen's head inserted over Sebastian Shaw" changes look like genuine improvements.
Walter Hill just managed to do what medicine previously thought unimaginable - he raped himself. He took a film loved by no less than four generations and murdered it, spat on it and desecrated its corpse.
The "ultimate cut" was turned into an imbecilic quasi-comic book film. Hill destroyed numerous legendary scenes by inserting awkward zooms, awkward cuts at pivotal moments, and - oh, heaven have mercy - freezes and transitions into "stylized" pseudo-comic book panels (actually seemingly made with the emboss filter of Photoshop), often complete with inane "thought bubble" comments.
Case in point - the scene in which the Warriors encounter the Furies. A powerful scene in which tension grows with every second, conveyed only through the actors' eyes and Barry de Vorzon's slowly creeping-up score. At least that is how it looked originally... because in the new version, at the second when the tension just began growing, the "new" film freezes and transforms into an idiotic comic book panel complete with - oh, God, why?!? - an imbecilic bubble comment stating "Holy sh..., the Baseball Furies!". That's how bad the new version is - and this isn't even the worst example.
He shattered the mystery of the ambient "Wonder Wheel" opening by inserting an absolutely unnecessary animate reference to Anabasis before it. And, worst of all, he obliterated the wonderful ending scene. You know it - it is the symbolic take showing the survivors as they walk away from the memory of the night of horror towards the - perhaps hopeful - fresh dawn. I called this scene "the walk to nowhere - somewhere - everywhere".
In the new version, the walk is frozen after a few seconds and spliced into four idiotic comic book panels which then remain on screen. That single change is so wretchedly disgraceful that it defies belief. It is akin to taking, say, the closing scene of "The Godfather" and cutting it at the moment when Michael Corleone sits and thinks, rolling end credits at that moment rather than following it to show the legendary "new don" conclusion.
As the final insult, the DVD does not offer any worthy extras. There are some standard featurettes, but not much beyond that. Hill "does not believe in commentaries", apparently, so this is absent, but doesn't he believe in viewers' rights to watch deleted scenes, either?
It's true that most deleted scenes, in any films, on any DVD, are usually worthless and epitomize drivel - yet even truly bad ones are often included, since any viewer devoted to any film is always interested in seeing extra footage from it. I understand that Walter Hill may feel ashamed of those scenes and does not want them to be viewed even as a curiosity. I would not be surprised if some of them had not even been shot by him (particularly the infamous, awful day opening) - that would make his objection against their inclusion perfectly justified. However, considering that deleted scenes that do make it to existing DVDs as extra features very rarely represent all material that was cut from the film, and taking into account the typical running time of most rough cuts and workprints from late 70s, I would suspect that there was well over half an hour of alternate or additional footage shot - and that would be enough to choose some interesting snippets for the disc. And, Mister Hill... however bad even the worst deleted scene was, it would be practically impossible for it to be worse than the comic book insertions in the Ultimately Disgraceful Cut.
If there is anything worth having in this disc, it's the new cover. It restores the original 1979 poster - the famous gang conclave in the park, with the tagline "They are the armies of the night". (The UK version has this cover, anyway. The US release apparently features an idiotic, oversaturated "Photochop" of a random scene from the film instead - identical to the previously available DVD's cover, but tinted in "angry" MTV red now...)
If that travesty is indeed representative of the concept that Walter Hill originally had in his mind in 1979, then I praise the studio board that changed it into the version that the audience knows and loves.
on January 8, 2006
Like me that is. Don't dump your Paramount DVD of the theatrical cut for this ruined "directors cut." If you don't know of what I speak, the films director thought it might be a good idea to add disruptive faux comic pannels between scenes. Was he just ashamed of his film, or was he offered $ to alter it to go along with the recent video game?
Ether way it stinks, if you wan't this movie and have a multi-region player, don't suffer through this, pick up the British disk from Amazon UK. I did.
on October 17, 2000
Walter Hill ( "48 Hrs", "Hard Times", "Extreme Prejudice" ) shows his directing flair for action, drama and style in this crackling 1979 movie about a Coney Island gang falsely accused of murder and fleeing from their accusers....the other NYC gangs and the New York City Police Department.
Hill successfully adapted to the screen the moderately popular novel by author Sol Yurick who worked with the NYC Dept of Welfare in the 1950's. Yurick used the basis of ancient Greek history and the torturous trek home by Greek soldiers after their leader , Cyrus the Younger, was killed in the Persian Wars...and simply updated the setting to modern day NY and it's raging gang warfare embracing the five boroughs !
Set amongst a hostile, nocturnal world of neon lit train stations, baseball bat wielding gang members and lethal, gun toting women "The Warriors" moves along at a frenetic pace with a fine selection of young actors taking the lead. Michael Beck plays the cool headed, war chief "Swan", seeking to get the other members back home to Coney Island alive and in one piece. James Remar is unforgettable as the woman chasing, hot headed "Ajax"...always out to prove his manhood with his fists. And David Patrick Kelly is perfect as the murderous, but cowardly leader of the Rogues.
Attending a combined meeting of dozens of street gangs deep in the South Bronx to hear the Gramercy Riffs plans to control the streets of New York, the Warriors are wrongly accused of the shooting death of their charismatic leader, "Cyrus". The finger of blame pointed their way, they flee via any means they can and upon their way back to home base encounter violent opposition from the low life "Orphans", the shaven headed "Turnbull AC's", the face painted "Baseball Furies", the seductive all female gang, the "Lizzies" and even rifts within their own ranks lead to trouble.
The film was roundly savaged by several sections of the community (mainly law enforcement & welfare groups) upon it's release for apparently inciting gang violence and it's poor depiction of inner city street kids, and yes, there were several nasty incidents at theatre's upon the film's release, but these have been blown well out of all proportion. Although, I must say when the film was released in my country (Australia) it was already riding a wave of notoriety, and attracted "bad boys" in their droves to watch this "infamous" gang flick. When viewed in the cold light of day, the film is actually fairly cartoon like in it's depiction of urban violence and most anyone who receives a beating seems to be left just rubbing their head and moaning ( think Sylvester the Cat ) in discomfort !
Actor Thomas G. Waites who played the Warriors gang member "Fox", disagreed with the script and effectively walked out in mid-production, so a grip doubled for Waites in several scenes and Waites' name was removed from the final credits. Additionally, the "Fox" character's fate was re-written to have him die in the film after being hurled in front of a subway train.
Interestingly, out of a on screen line up of promising young talent, very few of the cast went on to any real major fame & fortune in Hollywood. Lead actor Michael Beck (Swan) went on to appear next in the sugary "Xanadu" with Olivia Newton-John, and by his own admission, it was not a great career move, and his film career unfortunately never really flourished. James Remar (Ajax) has easily experienced the most success (with about 70 feature film's under his belt) and he has continued his motif of tough, aggressive leads in films like "48 Hrs", and plenty of "straight to video" action fare...plus Remar even crops up regularly on "Sex and the City" & "Third Watch" re-runs ! (It's good to see that hard hitting "Ajax" never left New York.) And the terrific David Patrick Kelly has kept busy, usually in other sinister, criminal roles...check out his performances in "Commando", "The Crow" & "Wild at Heart" !
Sadly, young actor Marcellino Sanchez who played graffiti artist "Rembrandt" died from cancer only a few years after the films release.
The recently released "Ultimate Directors Cut" of this cult classic has several superb extras. Apart from an introduction from director Walter Hill, and some interconnecting comic panel art between sequences in the feature, the DVD has four mini featurettes chock full of interviews with key cast members and production staff discussing key sequences in the film, plus the phenomenal cult following that has developed for "The Warriors".
A colorful, exciting and fast paced film...albeit corny in places with that silly love story sub plot with bee stung lipped, Deborah Van Valkenbergh..."The Warriors" is a bona fide cult film with a legion of fans across the globe.
on March 11, 2010
Make no mistake about it, the so-called 'ultimate director's cut of "The Warriors"' is an exemplary lesson in how to turn a five star movie into a one star movie.
Director Walter Hill has seen fit to re-edit the film and introduce an overt comic book element by inserting freeze-frames and captions between the scenes which mimic the panels of an old-fashioned, four-colour pulp comic book. The effect of this is to completely destroy the pace and feel of one of the best, stylized, urban thrillers ever to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. As a technique, it may work in the context of a schlock horror classic like Creepshow (Snap Case) (which was an affectionate, tongue-in-cheek pastiche of the old EC horror comics) but here it just sucks like you wouldn't believe.
If like me, you're a fan of the original theatrical cut, avoid this like the plague and be sure to pillory the releasing company into re-releasing a nice digitally remastered cut of that instead - because this version sure as hell isn't the film that you and I love.
on November 17, 2005
I've been a fan of this film for years and was eagerly anticipating the "Director's Cut," only to be dismayed when I realized that all Hill did was add childish, amateurish, comic-book-style transitions for the scenes, making a mockery of his own film! In his taped intro, he admits that some might not like this version of the film. What was your clue, Mr. Hill? The fact that you ruined your own movie? Imagine taking "The Godfather" and, in between every scene, cutting to a shot of John Cleese saying, "And now for something completely different ... " and you'll get an idea of how badly Hill junked up what was a solid, gritty, fun, action-packed thriller.
on November 25, 2009
I'd have never bought it. If you are a Warriors fan DO NOT BUY THIS VERSION. I assumed that by "Ultimate Director's Cut" They meant that they maybe cleaned up some scenes, added scenes, added some bonus features, anything but what I got. The movie begins with an apology from the Director which anticipates some of the abhorrent changes they made to the movie. This version is a total disgrace, violates much of the enchanting qualities of the film, and uses Comic Sans font none the less for the absolutely disruptive comic book scenes... Unwatchable in my opinion.
on October 6, 2005
As a serious fan of this movie I am completely pissed off at Walter Hill chose to put his comic book interpretation in this movie, without also adding the original verision so people can at least see the version that was released in the theatres at the time. And in the featurette according to the principals connected with making this movie,the opening scene with Cleon talking to his girlfriend before going up to the Bronx,(usually shown on the cable versions of this film),this was left out since they thought that this scene was unnecessary since most of the movie takes place at night. How stupid is that when we have a daylight scene at the end of the movie? It would add value to the scene that starts of with Cleon talking about them going to the Bronx in the beginning. And what the hell (?), how to you cut the part when Ajax, sees the Baseball Furies for the first time, go to another scene of Cleon, Vermin and Rembrandt getting on a different train, and then go back to the station shot with Ajax, Swan, Snow and Cowboy seeing the Furies? WHAT THE HELL???? Thank god I kept the original DVD! The only thing good on this DVD is the featurettes. And while we are at it, why must you go through 8 previews before you can even skip to the damm movie???? And let's not even talk about the ending of the movie a freeze framed comic strip!??!!!!! OMG!!! It's terrible!
I like the fact that the movie is clearer, and the sound is fantastic. And I also realize that this is the director's cut. But if these artists and directors cannot realize that when you have a audience that loves your original movie to the point that it is a cult classic, and you don't even acknowledge it - DAMM!!! Thanks for showing some love to your fans!
I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!
on June 5, 2002
A city-wide truce has been called so that nine representatives of each of NY's thousands of warring street gangs can get to a kind of conference. In the claustrophobic precincts of a torch-lit park up in the Bronx at dead of night, the leader of NY's most powerful gang invites them to join together - an army of a hundred thousand soldiers - to take control of the city. At the height of his speech he is gunned down by a teenage psychopath who successfully pins the blame on The Warriors, a gang up from Coney Island. At that point the rally is broken up by riot police, and the Warriors have to make it the length of New York City back to their home turf through enemy-occupied territory. Not only are the police out in force to pick up stray gang-members; the successor to the assassinated leader has put a price on the Warriors' heads, and every gang in the city is combing the streets for them.
Walter Hill's 1979 movie was based on a very downbeat novel by Sol Yurick, which was itself loosely based on an ancient Greek legend about a group of soldiers fighting their way home across enemy territory. It may not sound a promising formula, but Walter Hill turned it into one of the most entertaining and uplifting films of its decade and perhaps of his career. His successful strategy was to turn his back on the depressing realism of the book. Although the basic story-line and setting are from Yurick's novel, Hill turned to the original Greek tale for the broader atmosphere and moral tone of the film. Whereas Yurick was essentially writing about the dehumanising effects of peer group pressure and dysfunctional family life, Hill made a film about mutual trust and teamwork under pressure. You may not approve of his heroes - they are innocent of the main crime they are accused of but probably guilty of almost everything else imaginable - but you can hardly fail to root for them as the whole of New York is out for their blood and they are forced to find strengths they would never have suspected they possessed. They don't all make it home, of course, but for those who do it's a story of growing up in one night.
This could have been just another street-fighting movie, but it was made with humour, sympathy and affection long before the genre was popularised by computer games and its conventions became cast in stone. Some of the gangs out to get the Warriors are just soulless thugs, but others are real people struggling with poverty, self-esteem and their sense of belonging. There is a certain amount of mostly well-choreographed violence, but it is all pretty cartoonish and violence is the last thing the film is really about. The real theme is group dynamics: who will take the lead, who will follow, who will rebel, who will be sacrificed, who will end up older and wiser. And if this sounds boring, remember that when the film was first released it sparked riots in NY theatres.
The film boasts some fine character performances by young actors who have since gone on to wider acclaim, notably James Remar and David Patrick Kelly. It is crammed with memorable lines and unforgettable visual images, and a special word is required on its inspired use of the New York Subway - moody, dark, mysterious, enticing, threatening, Freudian. The trains constantly rushing through, scarred with graffiti, coming from and going to nowhere, are often a means of advancing the story, but they are so much more than that: Stopping and starting without warning, sometimes in the nick of time, sometimes a moment too late, they are a metaphor for the uncontrollable and fickle world in which the characters live. And just as often they seem to symbolise the world outside the tiny living space of these alienated kids and beyond their reach. The stations and tunnels are sometimes a protective womb, sometimes a battleground. We see no drivers, no ticket clerks, or indeed any humanising faces apart from the threatening presence of police officers prowling back and forth like monsters in a computer game - bump into one and you lose a life.
In the end Hill cannot resist moralising a little: The blossoming gotta-get-out-of-this-place romance between the alpha-male Swan and Mercy, a tough/fragile runaway girl who falls in with the gang initially just for kicks. The taut and delicately directed confrontation with a handful of "legitimate" middle-class passenger on the train. The despairing line ("Is this what we fought all night to get back to?") as the surviving members of the gang emerge from the night train onto the grimy elevated station at Coney Island, and survey their home turf in the cruel honesty of dawn's early light. These sentiments are not just slightly clumsy; they betray a mildly patronising middle-class pity on the film-makers' part for the characters they themselves created. But paradoxically, this very flaw contributes to the film's success. There has been no shortage of gritty real-life streetwise film-making, and the depressing earnestness of that sort of film can deter the very audience that most needs to be woken up by it. In contrast, this film that has been made purely for entertainment, with no cold sadistic violence, no prostitution and most remarkably of all no drugs, doesn't put up any barriers of revulsion. And it does not date, because the stylized cityscapes and costumes do not belong to any specific era. Thus it gets right under your skin and very subtly gives a transforming glimpse of the dark side of urban life and the humanity that we share with even its most exotic life-forms. That's probably why "The Warriors" sparked off riots on its first release, and perhaps that's why it seems to get even better with age.
on November 27, 2014
This review is for the original version of 'The Warriors', not the horrible 'Directors' Cut'.
This movie is a classic and everybody should see it. One of the best movies Water Hill directed. I first saw this movie on VHS because I wasn't old enough to watch it in a teather (had to be 18). It was a big sensation when it came out, and still very good by today's standards. I bought the original version in Amazon from Windaria in DVD format. Be aware that this version is not availabe in blu-ray. When I first received the package I was afraid it was a bootleg copy because the presentation of the DVD is awful. Fortunately the disc itself looks and plays nice. Can't express how happy I am to posses the original version of this cinematic gem. AVOID THE DIRECTORS CUT LIKE THE PLAGUE. You can read other reviews that describe in detail WHY. My main purpose here is to help you find the right version. I'm adding a photo of both editions that I hope helps you get the correct one. Notice that the directors' cut is still unopened ( I watched it previously and I request a refund for this one which I received by mistake)