In 1979, The Warriors chronicled the pilgrimage of a gang of leather-clad street kids as they fought their way through the Wild West of the Bronx back to their home turf out on Coney Island. At the time, the film was slammed as “stiff” and “sterile” by Roger Ebert, over the years the film has become the quintessential cult classic — a campy take on what was already one of the city’s most violent, gang-infested eras.
Now, more than three decades after the film’s theatrical release, the Warriors are once again making their way back to Brooklyn. On September 13, for one day only, members of the original cast will reunite at the Surf Pavilion on Coney Island, perhaps, they say, for the last time ever.
“Bringing them back to where we rooted for them for so long, that was the whole point,” Eric Nyenhuis, an actor and film producer who is organizing the reunion, tells the Voice. “Let’s get these boys back on the Q train, let’s get ‘em back to Coney Island, let’s get ‘em back to Stillwell Avenue. And we’re doing that. 37 years later, we are doing that.”
A lifelong Warriors fan, Nyenhuis brought a handful of cast members together for a comic book convention in Atlantic City earlier this year. But while the event was by all accounts a success — their booth was among the most popular attractions at the four-day festival — the reunion at Coney Island is promising a more authentic experience for die-hard Warriors enthusiasts.
In addition the film’s heroes, Nyenhuis has convinced some of the actors who portrayed the Warriors’ most memoral adversaries — the baseball-bat-wielding gang, the Furies — to break out their pinstriped jerseys and face paint for the first time since the Seventies. A number of other minor yet memorable characters from gangs like “The Orphans” and “The Punks” will also be in attendance.
“The film is lightning in a bottle, and the casting is lightning in a bottle,” Nyenhuis says. “If I had to honestly say what’s more famous, Nathan’s or The Warriors in Coney Island, I would have to definitely say The Warriors.”
The reunion will include a meet-and-greet, autograph signings, a cosplay contest judged by the original cast, and live performances from punk bands the Gotham City Mashers and Sick of It All. Nyenhuis also has a grand vision of thousands of Warriors devotees all wearing the gang’s iconic leather vests while watching the film out by the Coney Island boardwalk.
(CURATED FEATURE) WRITTEN by JACKSON CONNOR for villagevoice.com
THE WARRIORS Theatrical Trailer 1979