The Warriors (1979) Video Store Action Heroes 4 x Walter Hill Movie Memories

Can you dig it!” Talk about a film that’s still as special now as the first day of my teenage life. The following nostalgic waffle will be about that cult classic gangbanger, The Warriors. Did it influence my life? Well I never had the urge to buy a maroon leather waist coat if that’s what you mean! Didn’t need to get gang colours painted for all to see. I’m a Lone Wolf you see. I guess on a practical level it taught me to run from barbaric looking gangs of lanky bone heads and dodgy looking death buses filled with crazed thugs. To keep away from dungaree wearing pansy ass punks hanging around toilet blocks! To stop and stand up against a bunch of face painted weirdo’s waving baseball bats. “I’m sick of runnin’ from these wimps anyhow!” Thinking about it, the film probably saved my life a bunch of times. Taught me to be wary of sweet looking girls asking to take this furry hunk home. Only to try and kiss me with razors and stab me up with switchblades. “Shit! The chicks are packed! The chicks are packed!“. Honestly there was probably countless times the teaching of The Warriors helped keep me alive and kicking. Even on a lesser note, I learnt to never miss a train!

Director Walter Hill on set

Before I get too carried away I must point out this review is part of our collective four. The Video Star Action Heroes. Another mission mash up of four like-minded buddies from across a virus infected world. Four film reviews centered around one subject. This time sharing our video rental memories of films by the legendary Walter Hill. As you can imagine I nearly feel off my chair. It was destiny, I’d been wanting to write about the The Warriors since the beginning of my film site……… Anyway first things first. Here’s what the boys have chosen.

Todd over at Cinema Monolith gets caught up in the Louisiana swamps in Southern Comfort (1981)
Mike’s Take On The Movies goes Cold War cop buddy movie with Red Heat (1988)
Greg’s Destroy All Fanboys site tackles motorcycle gangs in music mash up Street of Fire (1984)

And as you know already I went for Walter Hill’s classic New York City gang meet up gone a little wrong, The Warriors. A chase to the death movie!

I’d first watched The Warriors at the beginning of December 1984. I remember it well, it was my thirteenth birthday. The story of that day is a fable of true legends. My Dad was one. Another was a kid who will remain nameless. One that shouted out in blind panic “I didn’t know they could move like that!” Yes that infamous story as told here in the The Case Of The Moving Panties! It was the day that involved inviting 20 odd school friends to my film night party. Three films. Rambo First Blood (1982) Emmanuelle (1974) (Yeap that’s where my Dad gained legend status, see link above) and thirdly, The Warriors (1979).

Tagline – These are the Armies of The Night. They are 60,000 strong. They outnumber the cops three to one. They could run New York City. Tonight they’re all out to get The Warriors.

The beginning……………….

News of a midnight summit meeting in the heart of the Bronx district of New York spread out across the City. It was a meeting like no other. An unimaginable idea. An invite that stretched out to all known gangs. However big or small. Reaching out to every corner of the City.

The most powerful gang, the formidable Gramercy Riffs have ordered a truce between all gangs during the meeting. Their war chief, Cyrus (Roger Hill) had a plan so audacious and fearless that if it worked, it would mean the complete control of the City. To have all gangs unite in an alliance, to stand firm together. The pure multitude of soldiers would outnumber the police three to one.

Cyrus –You’re standing right now with nine delegates from 100 gangs. And there’s over a hundred more. That’s 20,000 hardcore members. Forty-thousand, counting affiliates, and twenty-thousand more, not organized, but ready to fight: 60,000 soldiers! Now, there ain’t but 20,000 police in the whole town. Can you dig it?

Out on the fringes of Coney Island was a tough gang going by the name The Warriors. Led by warlord leader Cleon (Dorsey Wright). They ran their turf with an iron fist but outside they were pretty unknown. Cleon liked the idea of the invitation. A 30 mile trip to represent their area and see what this Cyrus had to say. Besides he had Rembrandt (Marcelino Sánchez) to tag The Warriors logo all across the City.

Cleon – “Rembrandt, you got the stuff? I want you to hit everything in the city. I want the people to know that The Warriors were there.”

Besides………. What’s the worse that could happen?

Cyrus preaches his word to the masses. Everyone listens. He could actually pull this off. Cyrus continues his war cry “Can you dig it?” The whole crowd is with him. Police surround the gathering. Cyrus calls out again “Can you dig it?“. Then BANG! a single shot is fired. Cyrus is dead. Panic starts to form. The police raid. The gangs run. But before the chaos there’s a gimp of a man. A slime ball misfit called Luther (David Patrick Kelly). The psychotic leader of The Rogues had just had an urge to waste Cyrus! “No reason. I just… like doing things like that!“. What better way to pass the assassination away from him than to blame another gang.

Luther –There he is! That’s him! That’s… the Warrior! He shot Cyrus! The Warriors did it! The Warriors did it!

During the confusion and stampede Luther makes sure Cleon is set-up for the murder. Right in the heart of The Gramercy Riffs. With the death of their leader bleeding out on the ground and this wailing lunatic calling out The Warriors as the killers. The Riffs take action and beat innocent Cleon to death. Masai (Dennis Gregory) is now in charge. With one mission. To get those responsible and deliver vengeance.

Masai –I want them all! I want ALL The Warriors! I want them alive, if possible. If not, wasted! But I want them. Send the word!

Now the chase of death starts. The Warriors desperately need to make their way back home to Coney Island. The gang is split in half running for their lives. Every gang in New York City after them. The police on every subway car and station. The smooth, jiving, voice of the sultry DJ (Lynne Thigpen) narrates the scene across the airways.

DJ –All right now, for all you boppers out there in the big city, all you street people with an ear for the action, I’ve been asked to relay a request from the Gramercy Riffs. It’s a special for the Warriors, that real live bunch from Coney, and I do mean the Warriors. Here’s a hit with them in mind.

She plays the soundtrack as our heroes run. Every gang in the City baying for their blood. They have to negotiate their away home. Running through blocks, neighborhoods, across parks and train tracks. Gangs like the Turnbull AC’s, The Baseball Furies, The Lizzies, The Boppers, The Savage Huns, Satans Mothers, The Electric Eliminators, The Orphans and of course the biggest baddest gang of them all, The Gramercy Riffs. The DJ puts the needle on the record. “Be looking good warriors all the back to Coney you hear me babys….reaaal good!Martha Reeves and the Vandellas starts to play……….

Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide
Got nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide

So who are The Warriors?

Cleon (Dorsey Wright) “Fox, you’re the scout and memory-man. You run ahead and tell us all we need to know. Cochise and Ajax, you soldier the middle. The rest, you’re the heavy muscle…

Swan (Michael Beck) “Why don’t you just tie a mattress to your back? You don’t care where it is, do you?

Ajax (James Remar) “I’ll shove that bat up your ass and turn you into a Popsicle” 

Cochise (David Harris) “Magic… whole lotta magic.

Cowboy (Tom McKitterick) “Those cats didn’t look too chicken-shit to me.

Vermin (Terry Michos) “If it ain’t, we’re gonna have to bop our way back!

Snow (Brian Tyler) “We’re going like everybody else: nine guys, no weapons.

Fox (Thomas G. Waites) “We’re not going to hide who we are just because some whore shakes her ass..

Rembrandt (Marcelino Sánchez) “Shit! The chicks are packed! The chicks are packed!

Mercy (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) Coming along for the ride! “Yeah, that’s right, Warriors. Just keep walkin’. Real tough muthas, ain’t ya? You guys don’t show me much. Why don’t you dickheads just walk all the way back home, huh?

The Warriors wrap up.

The Warriors had such an impact on my life. I’ve watched it countless times. Still it excites and thrills each and every time I put it on. Walter Hill always delivers on his films. Just look at the films he made in the beginning of his career. Hard Times (1975), The Driver (1978), The Warriors (1979), The Long Riders (1980), Southern Comfort (1981), 48 Hrs (1982), Streets Of Fire (1984), Brewster’s Millions (1985), Crossroads (1986), Extreme Prejudice (1987), Red Heat (1988), Johnny Handsome (1989), Another 48 Hrs (1990)

There’s no doubt that The Warriors is by far my favourite and I’ve already introduced to my son a few years back. Now it will be my daughters time and another reason to sit down and be entertained by one of the master directors of action movies. I salute Walter Hill. Thank you.

I could keep writing for days about this beloved movie but I gotta stop somewhere. I hope you’ve enjoy this nostalgic look back. Be sure to check out the rest of the Video Store Action Heroes reviews.

Thank you as always for taking the time to read my scribbles. I do very much appreciate it and please feel free to let me know your thoughts of the The Warriors and any of Walter Hills films if you wish. Oh and just in case you thought I had forgot!!

Waaaarrrrrriiiorsss, come out to pla-ay!

Happy vibes from me, Mikey Wolfman. Keep watching the screens.

PS This is a little gem if you haven’t already seen it.

28 thoughts on “The Warriors (1979) Video Store Action Heroes 4 x Walter Hill Movie Memories

  1. I will 100% cosign nostalgic love for this film, as both the movie and the movie’s location loom large in some very happy times for me. I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Coney Island anniversary/ cast reunion event in 2015, and it was worth catching a cold from chilly September air by the seashore to be around a bunch of people who loved it just as much, hearing some cool memories and stories.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. First thing I never saw that video before and that was awesome! Boy did I hit a homerun for you on picking Walter Hill. I can feel the love. This was one of those titles everykid NEEDED to see when we got that VHS machine back around 1981. Yes I have the poster here as well. It’s a classic one sheet image. That little weasel Luther is unforgettable and isn’t it funny that he showed up in 48HRS as well. Same name , same actor. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was like destiny Mike. I’d been waiting for that day for sometime now and I was buzzing when you mentioned Walter Hill films. Good to hear you can feel my passion for it. Big part of my life that film. So cool you got an original poster too ha I wouldn’t of thught otherwise. One day I’m gonna have a mini cinema in the back garden (whould have to move first!) and posters are gonna get plastered all over…. It’s always a pleasure to see directors have their little quirks, using the same names, actors and elements you recognise from their other works…. I read he says most his films have western qualities to them. When you think about it you can so see that. Many thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha, very nice, Mikey…I’d seen this movie for the first time several years ago, and really liked its ‘lone man (men) on the run’ theme, the same theme I just watched in ‘Southern Comfort’. And when I started to watch it that first time, my initial thought was, “Hey, that’s Michael Beck from ‘Xanadu’!” And then last night, watching ‘Streets of Fire’ for the first time, I thought, “Hey, that’s the girl from ‘The Warriors’!”

    And I’ve known for a while that you’re a fan of ‘Blade Runner’, but never knew ‘The Warriors’ was one of your supreme favorites…and look at that, you even own the LP! And in preparing for today, I watched that very same clip of the Warriors’ ‘last subway ride home’, which was really fun. And yes, I thought it was odd that you didn’t mention that classic ‘come out to play’ line…oops, there it was!

    I’m due for a re-watch of this, so like Mike and ‘Red Heat’, when my local library re-opens, I’ll see if they carry it. If not, I’ll be off to Zia Records to see if they carry it for $1.50!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha one of my claims to fame is I’ve never seen Xanadu. So didn’t know he was in that. Shame he didn’t really hit the big movies after that! He played the part of Swan well. James Remar did the best out of the bunch. Oh cool you watched Street Of Fire for the first time last night as well! Haha Now I don’t feel too bad. It was the only one I hadn’t seen of Walter Hills movies from the 70s/80s period.

      If push come to shove. Blade Runner still trumps it but only by a wee smidgen. There’s a western that is champing at the bit for a review. That is another Wolfie favourite.

      Hope you get to see Red Heat soon. I just tried to look at Zia Records website but it seems to be down at the moment. Looking at the images of the store. Oh my looks like I’d be setting up camp in there. Though I’d probably need to buy a ticket for a whole plane back home with the amount of stuff i’d come out with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh man, do I get any more hints as to what that Western is? I have a list of my own favorites…could it be one of those? The Gunfighter, Winchester ’73, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Jeremiah Johnson, Red River, The Ox-Bow Incident, 3:10 to Yuma…so many cool old Westerns out there!

        Yeah, I’ve spent many an hour (or more) at Zia’s…there are four I go to in the Phoenix area (my record haul for records in one day was 30!). Plus now I’ve found a favorite used record store in my area, The Record Room, that I was going to once a week before they closed while this global crap is going on. No better place to get $4 albums!

        And please, oh please, at some point in your life, you’re going to have to see Xanadu and review it for us!

        Liked by 1 person

        • “Do I get more hints?” Hehe it’s got two John’s in it. Think I may of mention it before.
          Out of that cool list of westerns I still need to Winchester 73, Red River and I can’t believe I haven’t seen Jeremiah Johnson!!! All added to the list now thank you. I did very recently watch The Ox -Bow Incident and my oh my was that good. Shocking! I really wanted to do a post on it but it was too hard not to say anything about that end! I might have another bash at it! Superb film.

          Wow not one but four stores!! And The Record Room! Todd I love the way all these stores look they are from drive-by filming locations for Breaking Bad. Once this blooming virus has done a runner I’m hopping on a jet to Phoenix and you can drive me down W Dunlap Ave in your 1968 Ford Custom 500. We can fill the trunk with records and DVD. And have Lalo Schifrin’s Dirty Harry score blasting out the windows.

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          • John Wayne and John Qualen…The Searchers! I was about to say John Wayne and John Ireland in Red River, but you haven’t seen that one yet. Oh wait, I know: John Lennon and John Travolta in ‘A Hard Day’s Saturday Night in the West’.

            But seriously, check out Jeremiah Johnson…one of my favorites.

            Ha, drive-by film locations for Breaking Bad…yep, those are the neighborhoods I frequent! Pretty funny about Dunlap…not the most (ahem) scenic or visit-worthy street in the area, but if you fly out, I’ll definitely take you there! AND we’ll rent a ’68 Ford Custom 500…in a fastback, of course! And not only will we have the Dirty Harry soundtrack blasting out the windows, we’ll probably need his .44 Magnum blasting out as well!

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            • 5 days ago! Shiiiiiit sorry Todd for late replies.
              ‘A Hard Day’s Saturday Night in the West’ brilliant HAHA

              It’s actually John and Juan aka Coburn and Steiger.
              In the film with three titles. A Fistful of Dynamite, Duck, you Sucker and Giu La Testa.
              So many emotions in that film. Pride, betrayal, friendship, bravery. Your emotions get put through the mincer especially as Morricone smashes you with his music! Gonna do a post on it real soon.

              Also I gonna watch Jeremiah Johnson this week. Can’t wait to see that. Incidentally I’m just about to watch another great western that I’m pretty positive you like too. Being a Clint fan. Two Mules For Sister Sara. I’m really in the right place at the moment. Hungover, comfy on the sofa, got snacks and I do loves me some Shirley MacLaine.

              Oh yes a couple of .44 Magnum’s to chase those unlucky punks away.

              Like

              • John and JUAN? That’s not fair! That’s CHEATING! Who’s your manager!

                Looking forward to your thoughts on ‘Jeremiah Johnson’…hope you enjoy it. While you’re watching, keep this in mind: the studio wanted them to film on a sound stage, and the director said, I will do no such thing.

                And it’s been so long since I’ve seen ‘Two Mules for Sister Sara’, I honestly remember nothing about it! Maybe it’s time for me to get comfy on my futon, hang myself over, get some snacks, and watch it as well!

                Liked by 1 person

                • I had an elevnth hour change to the tv scheduling. Two Mules turned to The Manchurian Candidate with Denzel. Good and real bad in equal measures. Seen it when it came out but had really wiped it from my mind. Gonna catch up with “ol blue eyes” one again soon.

                  Sound stage for a epic western! Well I never! Now that’s a cool director. “I will do no such thing”. I will report back when I’ve seen it Todd. Will be this week for sure. 🙂

                  Liked by 2 people

  4. I remember watching what we called “the coming attractions” and being super stoked about The Warriors.The Furies…oh my gosh! I found them delightfully terrifying. I couldn’t wait to see it. But how? It was rated R and I was underage.
    Now, I had seen many R rated movies with my mother, but she wasn’t about to take me to see The Warriors. Not her kind of movie. And besides, who wants to see The Warriors with their mother? I ended up getting a ticket to Superman and sneaking into The Warriors with my cousin.
    Loved it then. Still love it, even though it’s pretty stupid. But it’s stylishly stupid and The Furies are so cool. I want my husband to dress up like them for our next Halloween party. I want to go as Baby Jane.
    Great read, Mikey.
    –Pam

    Liked by 2 people

  5. How did you type this with bottles stuck to your wolf-sized fingers? Good review. sir!

    I’ll have to tell the story here of very briefly meeting David Patrick Kelly way back when after the film Dreamscape came out. A few friends and I were waiting for a crosstown bus here in NYC and Kelly was there, just waiting like everyone else. We were all quiet despite recognizing him, but when the bus arrived, a woman and her friend recognized him from the film and refused to sit near him because he was “that scary guy” from the movie they saw. One of my friends complimented him for his work on the film and I think I told him that’s what happens when you’re TOO good in a part, which got a laugh and thanks from the actor.

    g.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Haha you should of seen my notes! Unreadable. I had to smash the bottles off to use the keyboard.

    Greg I love that story so much about David Patrick Kelly. He gets so intense in those scenes. You wanna hate him so much. Commando too. You certainly don’t forget him. I know you know but just in case you didn’t, it’s amazing to know he improvised the bottle bit with those crazy lines. What a brilliant thing to have come up with. That quote and the “Can you dig it” lines are forever mortalised.

    Thanks for sharing your story bro.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My brother and I were obsessed with the movie! We used to own a VHS copy and watched it all the time. Streets of Fire and Long Riders were also childhood favorites. Walter Hill was THE MAN!

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  8. Great post 🙂 Interesting history behind the film and your love of it. I too am a huge fan of Walter Hill. I am glad that your son loved it as much as you did and I hope your daughter does too. I read somewhere that David Patrick Kelly (Luther) may have improvised the “Warriors come out to play” line. Interesting isn’t it? 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂 P.S. in case you are interested in reading my list of my favorite Walter Hill films, here is a link below:

    https://cinematiccoffee.com/2018/04/27/my-favorite-walter-hill-films/

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] The Warriors (1979) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 7.6 Ok Ok I understand it’s not on the same level top marks as Casablanca (below) but The Warriors and me have had an excellent journey together. In reality I’d give it 8.5/10. But it has to get the full mark wolfy treatment. I’ve seen it so many times. I introduced it last year to my son and this month to my daughter. I was still excited watching it for the 20th plus time. I did a review of my video store memories of it along with my action hero film buddies over here on The Warriors Review. […]

    Like

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