The 1979 flick The Warriors glorifies inner city gang violence and makes gang warfare seem like fun. It is also as unrealistic as movies come, making it sort of a live action cartoon. This is probably why none of the main actors in The Warriors had much of a film career following the release of this highly profitable movie.
The leader of the namesake Warriors gang is one Cyrus (Roger Hill). Calling himself the “one and only,” he hatches an evil scheme in which all the gangs unite under his leadership and then take over New York City and plunder the inhabitants. Towards this end, he arranges a meeting of all the gang leaders in the Big Apple. However, he is assassinated and the delegation from the Warriors is forced to try to escape to the gang’s home turf on Coney Island. This means that they must move across a sizable distance with other gangs as well as the New York Police Department (NYPD) trying to stop them.
Heavily outnumbered, the Warriors endeavor to escape back to Coney Island despite the forces arrayed against them. These forces include such gangs ranging from the Baseball Furies to the Orphans. As one enemy gang is licked, the next group of challengers is warned of the progress of the Warriors by radio shows broadcast on seemingly all frequencies of New York City radio. As the fights mount, so do the casualties among the Warriors, which only adds to the importance of getting back to Coney Island as soon as possible.
The street gangs in The Warriors dress much in the same way that professional wrestlers today do. The gangsters sport clorful uniforms including bright yellow satin blazers and all sorts of other unlikely outfits. There is even a street mime gang complete with goofy outfits. These gangs seem more like violent bowling teams than actual real life street gangs. As for the Warriors, they strongly resemble members of the then popular Village People band.
The Warriors is basically a goofy take on youth street gangs that basically glorifies such criminals. It is also quite stupid in light of the fact that if any of the Warriors had a motor vehicle, which real life gangsters do, then the whole flight sequence would have been avoided. For this scenario to work, the audience would have to indulge in complete, total, utter suspension of disbelief.
However, The Warriors is not completely without merit. It does have a visual appeal of sorts. Both the cinematography and the fight scene choreography are above average.
The same is true of the movie’s music. It has quite a bit of popular 1970’s music to it. There are a number of keyboard riffs that build up tension very well.
The Warriors was rated R for both vulgar language and excessive violence. A strong case can be made that it should have been rated X instead. The Warriors is also a grossly unrealistic flick that glorifies youth gang violence. Ultimately, this is a poorly conceived movie that cannot be recommended here.