The Warriors

Starring Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright and Brian Tyler
Screenplay by David Shaber and Walter Hill
Directed by Walter Hill
Running time 93 minutes
USA 1979

Walter Hill’s cult thriller was made in the same year as our last regular film Quadrophenia and shares its theme of rival gangs at war with each other.

The Warriors is taken from a 1965 novel by Sol Yurick and like Yurick's book borrows sections from 'The Anabasis’ written in the fifth century BC by Xenophon. The original Greek text tells of a group of 10,000 soldiers trapped deep in enemy territory fighting their way to safety. In this film The Warriors of the title are a Coney Island gang who find themselves in deadly peril after attending a midnight meeting of all the gangs of New York and subsequently being framed for the murder of gang leader Cyrus.

With their rivals hunting them they must make their way back to the safety of their own neighbourhood through the streets and subways of the city. Walter Hill is one of the most interesting writer directors of his era. He began with screenplays for such movies as Sam Peckinpah’s action thriller The Getaway and Ridley Scott’s Alien and then quickly began directing his own projects. His films are often taut, spare dramas and thrillers characterised by minimal dialogue and explosive action sequences.

His debut was The Streetfighter with James Coburn and Charles Bronson followed by a long career that includes The Driver, Southern Comfort, and 48 Hrs. He has directed several westerns such as The Long Riders, Wild Bill and Last Man Standing and has said:

'Every film I've done has been a Western - the Western is ultimately a stripped down moral universe that is, whatever the dramatic problems are, beyond the normal avenues of social control and social alleviation of the problem, and I like to do that even within contemporary stories.’