U.S., 1979, 92 min, 35mm, Dir. Walter Hill, Rated R, Paramount Pictures
"The movie is like visual rock, and it's bursting with energy. There's a night-blooming, psychedelic shine to the whole baroque movie." – Pauline Kael, The New Yorker
The Warriors are on the lam after their leader is accused of assassinating the leader of the most powerful gang in a near future New York City. Stuck behind enemy lines in the heart of the Bronx, the Warriors must fight their way through the concrete jungle to their home turf of Coney Island. Though at first glance it may seem like a low-brow gang flick, The Warriors is a meticulously crafted work that comes with a literary pedigree: director Walter Hill adapted it from Sol Yurick’s 1965 novel of the same name and draws, like Yurick, from Greek soldier Xenophon’s Anabasis which recounts the return journey of Greek mercenaries who fought for Cyrus the Younger in Persia. Visually, the film oozes with style thanks to cinematographer Andrew Laszlo, carefully choreographed action sequences that echo dance, and colorful costumes worn by the diverse gangs. The release of the film was fraught with sporadic outbreaks of violence at screenings; this was so egregious that Paramount pulled advertising for the film and released theaters from contractual obligations to play the film. On the eve of its 40th anniversary, take a chance and watch The Warriors on 35mm and see why it has become an established cult classic from a prolific decade in cinema history.
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