It was like something out of a Western this film; a gang called “The Warriors” is blamed for the death of the highest gangster of them all and must race to their Coney Island turf before trouble stirs beyond their grasp. It sounds simple enough except every single gang in the city is out for their blood and they must fight their way through colorful delinquents all of whom want to make the small band of rejects pay for the murder. “The Warriors” is a movie I fondly remember being introduced to by my pops who rented this one night and sat us down to bask in the glow of the television and let Walter Hill perform his magic.
From the opening, “The Warriors” is a vicious thriller with twists and turns that make this one of the most timeless action films to come out of the seventies. It also has the distinct knack for portraying the late seventies New York City as a dank piss hole rife with crime and violence and we’re forced to take part of the set pieces as the Warriors are pulled in to the fight for survival against their wills. Basically a real time actioner, “The Warriors” takes place in one night leaving every corner with the possibility of some gang member itching to take the framed gang down and they lurk under many colorful guises almost as if they were straight from a comic book.
From the Lizzies to the Baseball Furies, there’s not a single moment of peace for the suffering street gang. We experience the race home first hand thanks to a DJ who narrates the film over antagonistic music and cryptic bulletins to other gangs waiting to strike the Warriors down. Hill directs the film with a tense atmosphere that provides his 1979 oeuvre with an urgency and rapid pace that will keep your jaw to the floor.
If that’s not enough, we’re given one of the best on screen battles of all time as the Warriors rumble with the roller skating “Punks” in a Men’s room among an abandoned subway. It’s a thing of beauty to see as the choreography is near seamless giving way to one of the most memorable aspects of the film. “The Warriors” is a gritty piece of crime fodder that keeps its balls hanging out from the minute the credits roll. There’s not much you can say about director Hill’s cult classic that hasn’t been said for decades so all I can declare is that as a childhood favorite it definitely lives up to its cult status and remains one of the best gangster pictures of all time.