(Who doesn’t fuck’n love this movie? When I was a kid, there was nothing more badass than this film. Yes, shit got real once I saw Scarface, Taxi Driver, and The Godfather, but it was this film that started my love for New York. In fact, the first time I ever visited NYC, I forced my wife to travel with me on the subway from The Bronx all the way to Coney Island in Brooklyn; at full speed on the subway it still took 45 minutes. We got off at the infamous raised subway station, from the film. We saw the Wonderwheel, and we even ordered some fried chicken and corn from a street vendor. When I ordered it, the fat dude behind the counter yelled out, “give me 2 butters and a bird.” I still get goosebumps thinking about seeing that iconic place. We even walked out onto the beach where the film ended; I could almost hear bottles clinking together. Awesome. p.s. The last thing we need is a shitty remake of this film that would ruin it for everyone – keep your fucking hands off this epic film, you fucking no mind vultures! – FATS)
The Warriors is a 1979 American cult thriller film directed by Walter Hill and based on Sol Yurick’s 1965 novel of the same name. Like the novel, the film borrows elements from the Anabasis by Xenophon.
Cyrus, leader of the Gramercy Riffs, the most powerful gang in New York City, calls a midnight summit of all New York area gangs, requesting them to send nine unarmed delegates to Pelham Bay Park. The Warriors, from Coney Island, attend the summit and become the focus of the drama that unfolds. Cyrus proposes to the assembled crowd a permanent citywide truce that would allow the gangs to control the city. Most of the gangs laud his idea, but Luther, leader of the Rogues, shoots Cyrus dead. In the resulting chaos, Luther frames the Warriors leader Cleon for the murder, and he is beaten down by the Riffs. The other Warriors escape, unaware that they’ve been implicated in Cyrus’ murder. The Riffs put out a hit on the Warriors through a radio DJ. Swan, the Warriors’ “war chief”, takes charge of the group as they try to make it back home.
Almost immediately the Warriors are spotted by the Turnbull ACs who attempt to run them down with their bus, but the Warriors manage to escape and board the subway. On the ride to Coney Island, the train is stopped by a fire on the tracks, stranding the Warriors in Tremont, in the Bronx. Setting out on foot, they come across a group called the Orphans who were not invited to Cyrus’ meeting and who are upset about their low status in the city gang hierarchy. Swan makes peace with the Orphans leader, Sully, who agrees to let the Warriors through their territory. However, a young woman named Mercy mocks Sully as a “chicken” and instigates a confrontation, which the Warriors avoid by destroying a car using a Molotov cocktail. Impressed, and desperate to escape her depressed neighborhood, Mercy decides to follow and hopefully join the Warriors.
When they arrive at the 96th Street and Broadway station in Manhattan, they are chased by police and separated. Three of them, Vermin, Cochise, and Rembrandt, make the train to Union Square, while Fox, struggling with a police officer, falls onto the tracks and is run over by a train as Mercy escapes. Swan and the remaining three Warriors, Ajax, Snow, and Cowboy, are chased into Riverside Park by the Baseball Furies where a fight ensues and the Warriors are victorious. After the fight, Ajax notices a lone woman in the park, becomes sexually aggressive and is arrested when the woman turns out to be an undercover police officer. Arriving at Union Square, Vermin, Cochise, and Rembrandt are seduced by an all-female gang called the Lizzies. The trio escapes the Lizzies’ attack, learning in the process that everyone believes they killed Cyrus.
Having scouted ahead on his own, Swan returns to the 96th Street station and finds Mercy there. More police show up and Swan and Mercy flee into the tunnel. They have an argument and Swan continues to Union Square where he reunites with the other Warriors. A fistfight ensues with the Punks in a public restroom but the Warriors defeat them. Meanwhile, the Riffs are visited by a gang member who attended the earlier gathering and saw Luther shoot Cyrus.
The Warriors finally arrive at Coney Island, but find the Rogues waiting for them. When Swan asks why Luther shot Cyrus, Luther says it was for “no reason” and that he “like[s] doing things like that”. Swan then challenges Luther to a one-on-one fight, but the Rogue leader pulls his gun instead. Swan throws a knife into Luther’s wrist, disarming him. The Riffs then arrive and apprehend the Rogues, but not before acknowledging the Warriors’ courage and skill. As the Warriors leave, Luther screams an anguished, “Noooo!” as the Riffs descend upon the Rogues.
The DJ announces that the big alert has been called off and salutes the Warriors with a song, “In the City”. Swan, Mercy, and the rest of the gang walk down the beach, illuminated by the sunrise.