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Paramount Pictures “The Warriors” Still Running @ 40 Years (1979-2019)

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“Warriors……come out to playeeeaye…….Warriors…..come out to playeeeee” – This phrase rings like a bell in the minds of the folks who saw the Paramount Pictures release “The Warriors” which came out on this day in 1979. Though its more common for me to extol the virtues of the music related or geek culture films more than something like this, I couldn’t let today go by without raising a glass to it since its remained a favorite Action/Thriller of a film. I’m not going to overdue my analysis of the plot since that all been done on its Official Wikipedia which will be linked at the close, and instead offer up some recollections that make this a special movie to me. After the poster I’ve lined out the premise and the casting so can you dig it? “Can You Dig It!!!!!!”

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The Plot: Cyrus, leader of the Gramercy Riffs, the most powerful gang in New York City, calls a midnight summit of all the city’s gangs, requesting them to send nine unarmed delegates to Van Cortlandt Park. The Warriors, from Coney Island, attend the summit. Cyrus proposes to the assembled crowd a permanent citywide truce and alliance that would allow the gangs to control the city since they outnumber the police by three to one. Most of the gangs applaud 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 Cleon is beaten down and most likely killed by the Riffs. Meanwhile, the other Warriors have escaped, 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. (thanks Wiki)

The Cast/Characters:
Michael Beck as Swan
Deborah Van Valkenburgh as Mercy
James Remar as Ajax
Brian Tyler as Snow
David Harris as Cochise
Tom McKitterick as Cowboy
Marcelino Sánchez as Rembrandt
Terry Michos as Vermin
Thomas G. Waites as Fox
Dorsey Wright as Cleon
Roger Hill as Cyrus
David Patrick Kelly as Luther
Lynne Thigpen as D.J.
Edward Sewer as Masai
Joel Weiss as Cropsy
Kate Klugman as Star
Paul Greco as Sully
Apache Ramos as Jesse
Konrad Sheehan as Vance
Rob Ryder as Ed
Mercedes Ruehl as Chloe

The premise was fairly simple as you can see with gangs seeking to takeover NYC but then chasing down some of their number based on a false accusation. Considering that outcome, this larger plan probably never would have worked out in the long run, sorry Cyrus. Now I am not going to run down the whole set of circumstances and battles that The Warriors found themselves involved in but wow how great it was to imagine how one would need to navigate the NYC subway system in the middle of the night back in 1979 when it was not really the recommended thing to do. They were in the Bronx and had to get back to Coney Island which is like getting back to Mars back then. Those of you who complain about the system over and over again today have no idea how bad and sometimes dangerous that it was “way back then”. You didn’t have cell phones to alert someone to trouble either so consider yourself lucky that the worse thing you often experience are delays and the cries of “It’s Showtime Folks”. I was able to secure a nice clean version of the trailer from YouTube where visitors can “rent” the film and watch right on their computer or mobile device screen. It’s narrated by the legendary Don LaFontaine who voiced over 5K trailers. Let’s take a look.

PiercingMetal Thoughts: I loved this movie but given my vintage, I didn’t get to see this film in the theaters. Once I was of the proper age and the family had a subscription to HBO I was able to see it if they had it running on their service at the time. There weren’t many other options for someone back then outside of going to the video store to rent the tape of it for a few days. Of course, you had to hope that someone else hadn’t rented it before you since these places didn’t have dozens of copies of every single film as the tapes back then were super expensive. You’d learn this if you damaged a VHS tape for sure. I haven’t actually seen the full film in a few years but occasionally enjoy a clip here and there on the assorted YouTube channels that have them posted for some reason or another. Now that the film is on Blu-ray I might look into owning it since this is my preferred means of disc to come into my personal collection. I also need that soundtrack on CD, and I smile when I remember borrowing my friend’s LP for weeks on end before finally taping it. At the time I was learning to play the drums and loved a few of the songs and wanted to learn them. Today “The Warriors” seems to have remained as timeless as way back when. They now have special conventions were the original cast members make appearances and pose for pictures with the eager fans. I’ve also seen numerous cosplayers dressing as them at the NY Comic Con over the years and mind you these are fans who weren’t even ideas when the original film was released. I think many of us would have loved a sequel to see what happened afterward and perhaps another run in with the Baseball Furies or a better knockabout with The Turnbull AC’s, each of those gangs seeming as tough as the dominating Gramercy Riffs.

So far the film hasn’t been remade but its been on a few discussion plates already and I hope that it never happens or that it gets the same reception that “Ghostbusters” got a couple of years ago. Some films just don’t need to be remade. I sure don’t mind homages being done to it and think that “The Simpsons” did it the best of them all. I never managed to see the video game or comic books that the Wiki mentions but as I write this, I can announce that a new collectible line of action figures is coming from our friends over at Mezco Toyz. They just sent out a press release about it and will be showcasing prototypes at the upcoming Toy Fair which we shall be attending. You readers should watch for my broadcast about that news and the overall Toy Fair as I get them online. As I close up I wonder what you thought about “The Warriors” film and how it might have affected you. Please chime in down in the comments section below.

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