The Wanderers (1979)

R | 113 mins | Drama | 13 July 1979

Director:

Philip Kaufman

Producer:

Martin Ransohoff

Cinematographer:

Michael Chapman

Production Designer:

Jay Moore

Production Companies:

Orion Pictures , Film Finance Group
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HISTORY

As reported in a 24 Jan 1974 DV brief, producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., acquired Richard Price’s first novel, The Wanderers, prior to the Mar 1974 publication date. Goldwyn, however, did not remain with the project, and a 3 May 1978 Var article announced that director-screenwriter Philip Kaufman and producer Martin Ransohoff had reached a financing deal with the recently launched Orion Pictures Company, whose distribution was arranged through Warner Bros. The Film Finance Group Ltd., an entity partly funded by the British-based brewery, Guinness & Sons, partnered with Orion to cover approximately fifty percent of the $4 million production budget. Later, a 26 Apr 1979 HR article mentioned that costs had exceeded $5 million.
       As stated in production notes in AMPAS library files, Kaufman focused on casting unknown or emerging talent, and several members of the ensemble made their the feature film debut, including Ken Wahl in the lead role of “Richie,” Erland Van Lidth De Jeude as the imposing Baldie gang leader, “Terror,” and Tony Ganios as “Perry.” Van Lidth De Jeude, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) engineering graduate and wrestling champion, was discovered at the New York Athletic Club, while Ganios surfaced during a scouting call to New York City’s Sheridan Square Gym.
       A 10 Sep 1978 LAT article listed The Wanderers among a recent trend of feature films about youth gangs. Other titles in development or production included, Walk Proud (1979), On the Edge (1980), The Warriors (1979), Boulevard Nights (1979), Defiance (1980), America Me (1992), and ... More Less

As reported in a 24 Jan 1974 DV brief, producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., acquired Richard Price’s first novel, The Wanderers, prior to the Mar 1974 publication date. Goldwyn, however, did not remain with the project, and a 3 May 1978 Var article announced that director-screenwriter Philip Kaufman and producer Martin Ransohoff had reached a financing deal with the recently launched Orion Pictures Company, whose distribution was arranged through Warner Bros. The Film Finance Group Ltd., an entity partly funded by the British-based brewery, Guinness & Sons, partnered with Orion to cover approximately fifty percent of the $4 million production budget. Later, a 26 Apr 1979 HR article mentioned that costs had exceeded $5 million.
       As stated in production notes in AMPAS library files, Kaufman focused on casting unknown or emerging talent, and several members of the ensemble made their the feature film debut, including Ken Wahl in the lead role of “Richie,” Erland Van Lidth De Jeude as the imposing Baldie gang leader, “Terror,” and Tony Ganios as “Perry.” Van Lidth De Jeude, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) engineering graduate and wrestling champion, was discovered at the New York Athletic Club, while Ganios surfaced during a scouting call to New York City’s Sheridan Square Gym.
       A 10 Sep 1978 LAT article listed The Wanderers among a recent trend of feature films about youth gangs. Other titles in development or production included, Walk Proud (1979), On the Edge (1980), The Warriors (1979), Boulevard Nights (1979), Defiance (1980), America Me (1992), and The Gangs of New York (2002, see entries). Following episodes of violence and vandalism at screenings of The Warriors, several of these projects attempted to distance themselves from the term, “gang picture,” as discussed in a 21 Feb 1979 Var article. During post-production, Kaufman explained in a 22 Feb 1979 LAT article that he, Orion, and Warner Bros. were not concerned about the impact of the controversy on The Wanderers since, for the most part, their film was “a comedy and though it has violence, it’s not the type to incite people.”
       According to a 19 Sep 1979 studio press release, principal photography began 20 Sep 1978. Filming was scheduled for approximately ten weeks on location throughout New York City, predominantly in the Bronx. A May 1979 Millimeter item noted that the production also shot in NJ, at the Holland Tunnel entrance and on the state highway known as the Turnpike. An 18 Dec 1978 DV brief announced that the filming had completed.
       Critical reaction was mixed, and several reviewers, including the 13 Jul 1979 NYT, objected to the adaptation as a series of vignettes. Richard Price, who appeared in a cameo role as a “bowling bankroller,” defended the picture in a 31 Aug 1979 NYT interview and remarked that “the spirit is right and the way Phil Kaufman directed it showed me another way of looking at my own book.” He also revealed that the “Ducky Boys” and the “Fordham Baldies” in the film were names of real-life Bronx gangs that he merely embellished for the novel, and the football game was based on a similar event. Former members of the once-feared Baldies even visited the set and shared photographs from the group’s heyday during the late 1940s.
       According to a 16 Aug 1979 HR item, the film was chosen as the closing night selection at the 1979 Venice Film Festival. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Jan 1974.
---
Daily Variety
1 Dec 1978.
---
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 1979
p. 1, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Sep 1978
Section L, p. 23.
Los Angeles Times
22 Feb 1979
Section E, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
7 Sep 1979
p. 1.
Millimeter
May 1979.
---
New York Times
13 Jul 1979
p. 12.
New York Times
31 Aug 1979
Section C, p. 8.
Variety
3 May 1978
p. 7.
Variety
21 Feb 1979
p. 1, 129.
Variety
11 Jul 1979
p. 19.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Featuring Wanderers:
[And]
Galasso brothers:
[And]
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PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion Pictures Release
Film Finance Group presents
A Martin Ransohoff production
A Philip Kaufman film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
D.G.A. trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Key grip
Still photog
Dolly grip
Best boy
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Joey's banner artist
Chargeman scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Asst cost des
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Mus prod coord
SOUND
Sd eff
Sd man
Post prod mixer
Post prod mixer
Post prod mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
DANCE
Dance instructor
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Exec asst to the prod
Loc mgr
Loc consultant
Spec casting
Extra casting
Martial arts coord
Prod office coord
Asst to the prod
Asst to the dir
Loc asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Transportation coord
Unit pub
Vintage cars
Prod services by
Post prod facilities by
Prod asst
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Wanderers by Richard Price (Boston, 1974).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
“Pipeline,” performed by The Chantays, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“Anaklasis,” performed by The Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of the National Philharmonic of Warsaw, courtesy of Phonogram-Mercury, Inc.
“Fluorescences,” performed by The Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of the National Philharmonic of Warsaw, courtesy of Phonogram-Mercury, Inc.
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MUSIC
“Pipeline,” performed by The Chantays, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“Anaklasis,” performed by The Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of the National Philharmonic of Warsaw, courtesy of Phonogram-Mercury, Inc.
“Fluorescences,” performed by The Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of the National Philharmonic of Warsaw, courtesy of Phonogram-Mercury, Inc.
“Stranger On The Shore,” performed by Mel Martin, conducted by Jim Dukey
“Adagio and Fugue in ‘C’,” by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by organist Chuck Ward.
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SONGS
“The Wanderer,” performed by Dion, courtesy of Laurie Records
“Runaround Sue,” performed by Dion, courtesy of Laurie Records
“The Times They Are A-Changin’,” performed by Bob Dylan, courtesy of CBS Records
+
SONGS
“The Wanderer,” performed by Dion, courtesy of Laurie Records
“Runaround Sue,” performed by Dion, courtesy of Laurie Records
“The Times They Are A-Changin’,” performed by Bob Dylan, courtesy of CBS Records
“Sherry,” performed by The Four Seasons, courtesy of The Four Seasons Partnership
“Walk Like A Man,” performed by The Four Seasons, courtesy of The Four Seasons Partnership
“Big Girls Don’t Cry,” performed by The Four Seasons, courtesy of The Four Seasons Partnership
“Soldier Boy,” performed by The Shirelles, courtesy of Springboard International Records, Inc.
“Baby, It’s You,” performed by The Shirelles, courtesy of Springboard International Records, Inc.
“Ya Ya,” by Lee Dorsey, courtesy of Roulette Records, Inc.
“Shout-Part 1,” performed by The Isley Brothers
“I Love You,” performed by The Volumes, courtesy of Suellen Productions, Inc.
“Granada,” performed by Placido Domingo, courtesy of Polydor Incorporated
“Tequila,” performed by The Champs, courtesy of 4-Star Music
“You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me,” performed by Smokey Robinson, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“Stand By Me,” performed by Ben E. King, licensed by Atlantic Records
“Do You Love Me,” performed by The Contours, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
“My Boyfriend’s Back,” performed by The Angels, courtesy of Phonogram-Mercury, Inc.
“Wipe Out,” performed by The Surfaris, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“You Can’t Go Home Again,” performed by Chet Baker, courtesy of A&M Records
“La Femina,” performed by Terri Perri, courtesy of Terri Perri
“Stranger Girl,” composed by Jim Youngs, performed by The Wanderers
“Volare,” performed by Terri Perri.
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DETAILS
Release Date:
13 July 1979
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 13 July 1979
Los Angeles opening: 7 September 1979
Production Date:
20 September--mid December 1978 in New York City and New Jersey
Copyright Claimant:
Polyc International, B.V.
Copyright Date:
22 April 1980
Copyright Number:
PA78148
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
113
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Netherlands, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

During 1963 in the Bronx, New York, the “Baldies” are the most fearsome-looking hooligans, distinguished by their shaved heads and their burly leader, “Terror.” When Joey, a feisty member of an Italian American high school gang called the Wanderers, insults the group’s appearance, the Baldies chase him. As Joey runs through the streets, he signals the Wanderers for help, but Terror’s henchmen corner him and his friends. Suddenly, a tough, confident stranger named Perry appears and intimidates the Baldies, then disappears before the Wanderers have a chance to thank him. Later, they discover that Perry, a fellow Italian, recently transferred to their high school from New Jersey and lives in Joey’s apartment building. Joey invites Perry to join the Wanderers and informs him that being a member of a gang is necessary for protection. In class, Perry watches as an argument escalates between African American and Italian students, and Richie, the leader of the Wanderers, agrees to meet gang leader Clinton and his African American followers, the “Del Bombers,” for a fight on Saturday, but without guns or knives. In the meantime, Richie tries to build an alliance with the violent Irish gang, known as the “Ducky Boys,” and the “Wongs,” who are the Chinese, but both groups are distrustful of his offer. Although “Turkey” was a member of the Wanderers in high school, he admires the Baldies, and has shaved his head, hoping to join them. He encourages Richie to reach out to the group, but Richie rejects the idea. Later, the Baldies harass Richie and Joey, while Turkey is forced to betray his friends and participate in ... +


During 1963 in the Bronx, New York, the “Baldies” are the most fearsome-looking hooligans, distinguished by their shaved heads and their burly leader, “Terror.” When Joey, a feisty member of an Italian American high school gang called the Wanderers, insults the group’s appearance, the Baldies chase him. As Joey runs through the streets, he signals the Wanderers for help, but Terror’s henchmen corner him and his friends. Suddenly, a tough, confident stranger named Perry appears and intimidates the Baldies, then disappears before the Wanderers have a chance to thank him. Later, they discover that Perry, a fellow Italian, recently transferred to their high school from New Jersey and lives in Joey’s apartment building. Joey invites Perry to join the Wanderers and informs him that being a member of a gang is necessary for protection. In class, Perry watches as an argument escalates between African American and Italian students, and Richie, the leader of the Wanderers, agrees to meet gang leader Clinton and his African American followers, the “Del Bombers,” for a fight on Saturday, but without guns or knives. In the meantime, Richie tries to build an alliance with the violent Irish gang, known as the “Ducky Boys,” and the “Wongs,” who are the Chinese, but both groups are distrustful of his offer. Although “Turkey” was a member of the Wanderers in high school, he admires the Baldies, and has shaved his head, hoping to join them. He encourages Richie to reach out to the group, but Richie rejects the idea. Later, the Baldies harass Richie and Joey, while Turkey is forced to betray his friends and participate in the bullying. After the incident, Richie accepts an offer of assistance from the local Italian mafia boss Chubby Galasso, who is the father of Richie’s girl friend, Despie. At his bowling alley, Chubby bashes a group of hustlers in front of Richie to demonstrate his authority, which leaves a chilling impression on the teenager. Instead of fighting the Del Bombers, Chubby tells Richie to settle the matter in a football game, and Chubby and his friends will bet money on the Wanderers, who are undefeated this season. To negotiate the arrangement, Chubby welcomes representatives from the Del Bombers to the bowling alley. Later, while Richie, Joey, Perry, and Buddy flirt with women on the sidewalk, they meet Nina, who is immediately attracted to Richie. Since Richie has a girl friend, Joey shouts out his telephone number to Nina. The friends follow Nina’s car, but they take a wrong turn and arrive in an area controlled by the Ducky Boys. A fight ensues, and Perry’s arm is broken by a baseball bat. That evening, Joey is thrilled when Nina telephones and wants to join him and the Wanderers for a party, hosted by Despie at her parents’ house. Although Richie is captivated by Nina, he encourages best friend Joey to seduce her. In a separate room from the party guests, Richie and Joey play strip poker with Nina and Despie. During the game, Despie notices Richie’s interest in Nina and storms away. As soon as they are alone together, Richie and Nina kiss, then they leave to have sex in her car. Intoxicated and looking to incite a ruckus, the Baldies arrive at the Galasso house and instruct Turkey to go inside and bring back women. As Turkey surprises the partygoers, he is assaulted by Perry. The Baldies, meanwhile, abandon their new recruit and drive away. Outside, Joey is shocked to see Richie seducing Nina in the car. When Richie tries to explain, Joey punches him, while Despie is tearful and curses her boyfriend. Elsewhere, Turkey runs through the streets to find the Baldies, but he becomes lost and encounters the Ducky Boys. As they terrorize him, Turkey plunges to his death. Later, at school, Joey mourns Turkey, telling classmates that he will be missed. Meanwhile, the Wanderers continue to ignore Richie for his betrayal of Joey. When Richie and Despie encounter each other at a storefront, where the news of President Kennedy’s assassination unfolds on television, they comfort one another and reconcile. Despie reveals she is pregnant. Chubby then confronts the young man and declares that he must take responsibility. Without waiting for a reply, Chubby congratulates Richie and calls him son-in-law. Elsewhere, Joey tries to cope with his abusive father, Emilio, while making a banner for the football game. On the day of the event, the Del Bombers arrive at the stadium with confidence, accompanied by cheerleaders and music. Meanwhile, Richie hides on the sidelines while the Wanderers start the game, and Joey replaces him as quarterback. As the Del Bombers take a commanding lead, Joey becomes frustrated. Richie then arrives on the field, apologizes to his friend and guides the team toward tying the score. Suddenly, a large number of Ducky Boys appear at the stadium, wielding sticks and knives. As spectators leave, the Wanderers and the Del Bombers brace for a fight. Displaying their martial arts skills, the Wongs enter the melee and assault the Ducky Boys. Joey’s brutish father also joins the action. Despite the injuries, the combined alliance of gangs impedes the attack, and the Ducky Boys scramble from the field. In his rage to fight, however, Emilio strikes his son, knocking him to the ground. Afterward, Joey stays with Perry and declares he is never returning home, while Perry shares that his mother is an alcoholic. The two friends plan to drive out of town that night. Emilio then arrives at the apartment. When he intimidates his son, Perry defends Joey, and a fight ensues. Joey hits his father on the head with a glass bottle, and the boys flee. Later, the Wanderers, the Del Bombers, and the Wongs surprise Richie with a bachelor party at the restaurant where he washes dishes. During the celebration, Chubby offers Richie a job in his organization. Unexpectedly, Richie sees Nina walking past the restaurant and follows her. Through a window, he watches with regret as she meets friends at a folk club. When Richie returns to the party, Joey and Perry announce that they are leaving town and say goodbye. Richie is despondent, but he is soon uplifted as the guests sing the song, “The Wanderer,” in his honor.


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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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