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HISTORY

According to a 16 Oct 1978 HR production chart, principal photography began 26 Jun 1978. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that the picture was filmed entirely in New York City, including the areas of Coney Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. The schedule was comprised primarily of outdoor night shoots. The opening sequence depicting the assembly of one hundred gangs was filmed in upper Manhattan’s Riverside Drive Park and involved over 1,000 background extras, consisting mostly of local residents. The New York City Transit Authority provided essential cooperation for the numerous subway locations.
       The Warriors was entangled in controversy soon after its nationwide release on 9 Feb 1979, as described in numerous articles, including the 22 Feb 1979 DV, the 23 Feb 1979 NYT, and the 26 Feb 1979 LAT. The picture opened at 670 theaters, grossing nearly $3.5 million in its first three days and approximately $9.3 million after two weeks. The box-office performance was impressive for a film that cost approximately $4 million to make and $2 million to market, but the success was overshadowed by violence at theaters showing the film. On 12 Feb 1979, a teenager was shot and killed at a drive-in theater in Palm Springs, CA, and another was fatally stabbed at the Esplanade Theater in Oxnard, CA. At Pasadena, CA’s State Theater, the manager was assaulted on 14 Feb 1979 and a brawl occurred in the lobby, prompting the cancellation of the final two screenings that evening. The following night in Boston, MA, a young man who had just seen the movie ... More Less

According to a 16 Oct 1978 HR production chart, principal photography began 26 Jun 1978. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that the picture was filmed entirely in New York City, including the areas of Coney Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. The schedule was comprised primarily of outdoor night shoots. The opening sequence depicting the assembly of one hundred gangs was filmed in upper Manhattan’s Riverside Drive Park and involved over 1,000 background extras, consisting mostly of local residents. The New York City Transit Authority provided essential cooperation for the numerous subway locations.
       The Warriors was entangled in controversy soon after its nationwide release on 9 Feb 1979, as described in numerous articles, including the 22 Feb 1979 DV, the 23 Feb 1979 NYT, and the 26 Feb 1979 LAT. The picture opened at 670 theaters, grossing nearly $3.5 million in its first three days and approximately $9.3 million after two weeks. The box-office performance was impressive for a film that cost approximately $4 million to make and $2 million to market, but the success was overshadowed by violence at theaters showing the film. On 12 Feb 1979, a teenager was shot and killed at a drive-in theater in Palm Springs, CA, and another was fatally stabbed at the Esplanade Theater in Oxnard, CA. At Pasadena, CA’s State Theater, the manager was assaulted on 14 Feb 1979 and a brawl occurred in the lobby, prompting the cancellation of the final two screenings that evening. The following night in Boston, MA, a young man who had just seen the movie at the Saxon Theater stabbed a sixteen-year-old to death. In New York City, exhibitors reported altercations at several cinemas, and transit police arrested young hooligans for jumping subway turnstiles to avoid ride fares, “a trick they said they saw in the film,” according to the 23 Feb 1979 NYT. However, New York City Police did not detect any escalation of gang activity. While many exhibitors reported disorderly conduct at their venues during or after screenings, they did not directly blame the film for inciting violence, but rather explained that the picture tended to attract “unruly crowds.”
       In the wake of these incidents and sporadic acts of vandalism associated with the film, distributor Paramount Pictures Corp. pulled advertising for The Warriors on 16 Feb 1979 and offered exhibitors the option of terminating their booking commitment without penalty. The 22 Feb 1979 DV noted that few exhibitors elected to drop the picture because of the agreeable licensing contract and robust box-office. The studio also offered to pay for additional security at theaters showing the film. After six days, Paramount reinstated a revised print advertising campaign that simply listed the film title and showtimes, minus any artwork or images. Radio and television promotion was completely cancelled. The 26 Feb 1979 DV mentioned that the film’s trailer, whose content was “rougher” than the radio and television ads, continued to play. In a 21 Feb 1979 Var editorial, a “prominent industry observer” was quoted as saying that withdrawing the picture completely from nationwide distribution would be “unfortunate” and “set a lousy example.” The editorial concluded by taking into consideration the advice of another source, who believed the situation should be managed on a case-by-case basis at the local level.
       The Warriors was the first of several youth gang pictures released in 1979. The unexpected mayhem prompted the other films, The Wanderers, Boulevard Nights, and Walk Proud (see entries), to distance themselves from the term “gang picture,” as discussed in the 21 Feb 1979 Var article.
       Meanwhile, the notoriety surrounding The Warriors appeared to be a boost for its box-office, according to the 27 Mar 1979 DV. On 11 Apr 1979, DV noted that the picture had reached the $20 million mark in its ninth week of release.
       As reported in the 14 Mar 1979 Var, the film remained a point of contention in Massachusetts where the state legislature held a special hearing to discuss whether to introduce any restrictions on the exhibition. According to the 9 Apr 1979 Box, no actions were taken, but government officials in Chelmsford and Billerica pressured local exhibitors to withdraw the picture on 21 Mar 1979, following numerous complaints about rowdy youth after screenings. State and town officials both acknowledged that banning the film would have infringed on free speech rights. Four years later, the 3 Mar 1983 DV announced that complaints from local organizations and the public led to the cancellation of the 25 Feb 1983 television broadcast of The Warriors on WCVB, the Boston affiliate for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).
       The parents of Martin Yakubowicz, the sixteen-year-old who was killed following a Saxon Theater screening, filed a wrongful death suit in 1981 against Paramount Pictures and the theater owner, charging that the studio and the exhibitor were aware “that the film was inciting violence around the country,” as stated in the 19 Apr 1989 HR. After the case was dismissed in Superior Court, the family appealed to the state Supreme Court, but the lower court’s decision was upheld in a unanimous decision on 18 Apr 1989. Justice Francis O’Connor wrote: “Although the film is rife with violent scenes, it does not at any point exhort, urge, entreat, solicit or overtly advocate or encourage unlawful or violent activity on the part of viewers.”
       The Warriors also faced controversy overseas. After the censorship board in France assigned the film an “X” rating for violence, foreign distributor Cinema International Corporation (CIC) cut ten minutes of footage and was granted an “Adults Only” rating on appeal, as reported in Var articles from 18 Jun 1980 and 1 Oct 1980. The 11 Jul 1979 Var explained that releasing the picture with an “X” would be “financially detrimental,” restricting it to the pornography theater circuit, where audiences were more interested in sex than violence. Furthermore, the picture would be subject to special taxation and advertising restrictions. In response, director Walter Hill wrote a 3 Sep 1980 letter to French newspaper L’Express in which he declined “authorship” of the edited film and denounced censorship.
       On 21 Oct 2005, WSJ reported that director Tony Scott, who died in 2012, was planning a remake set in Los Angeles, CA, featuring a climactic fight scene at the Long Beach Bridge. As of May 2016, the status of the project could not be confirmed. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Apr 1979.
---
Daily Variety
22 Feb 1979
p. 1, 9.
Daily Variety
26 Feb 1979.
---
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1979
p. 1, 12.
Daily Variety
11 Apr 1979.
---
Daily Variety
3 Mar 1983
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1979
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 1989
p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
14 Feb 1979
Section G, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
26 Feb 1979
p. 1, 7.
New York Times
10 Feb 1979
p. 10.
New York Times
23 Feb 1979
Section A, p. 18.
Variety
14 Feb 1979
p. 23.
Variety
21 Feb 1979.
---
Variety
21 Feb 1979
p. 1, 129.
Variety
14 Mar 1979.
---
Variety
11 Jul 1979
p. 29.
Variety
18 Jun 1980
pp. 33-34.
Variety
1 Oct 1980.
---
WSJ
21 Oct 2005
Section W, p. 7.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Prom couples:
[and]
Gramercy Riffs:
Rogues:
Turnbull A. C.'s:
William Williams
Orphans:
Baseball Furies:
[and]
Lizzies:
[and]
Punks:
[and]
Police:
[and]
Vic Magnotta
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures presents
a Lawrence Gordon production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Chargeman scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Addl mus supv by
Addl mus arr by
Addl mus arr by
Addl mus co-supv
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Dial ed
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Extra casting
Asst to Mr. Hill
Scr supv
Asst to Mr. Gordon
Prod office coord
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Prod accountant
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Warriors by Sol Yurick (New York, 1965).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"In The City," composed by Joe Walsh and Barry DeVorzon, performed by Joe Walsh
"No Where To Run," composed by Holland, Dozier, Holland, performed by Arnold McCuller
"In Havana," composed by Steve Nathanson, Artie Ripp, performed by Frederick LaPlano
+
SONGS
"In The City," composed by Joe Walsh and Barry DeVorzon, performed by Joe Walsh
"No Where To Run," composed by Holland, Dozier, Holland, performed by Arnold McCuller
"In Havana," composed by Steve Nathanson, Artie Ripp, performed by Frederick LaPlano
"Echoes In My Mind," composed by Carlos Wilson, Louis Wilson, Claude Cave, Dr. Richard Wilson, Wolfredo Wilson, performed by Mandrill
"Love Is A Fire," composed by Vinnie Poncia, Johnny Vastano, performed by Genya Raven
"You're Movin' Too Slow," composed by Eric Mercury, William Smith, performed by Johnny Vastano
"Last Of An Ancient Breed," composed by Desmond Child, performed by Desmond Child and Rouge
"Night Run," composed and arranged by Philip Marshall, performed by the Mersh Brothers.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Warriors
Release Date:
9 February 1979
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 9 February 1979
Production Date:
began 26 June 1978
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
23 October 1979
Copyright Number:
PA47283
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Widescreen/ratio
1.78:1
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
94
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25367
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Cyrus is president of the Gramercy Riffs, the biggest gang in New York City. He summons a conclave of every gang in the city and asks each organization to send nine delegates, unarmed. The Warriors, led by Cleon, leave their turf in Coney Island and travel by subway to the assembly in the Bronx, where some of them have never ventured. One hundred gangs converge at a park at night, dressed in their unique attire and colors. In front of the attentive gathering, the charismatic Cyrus proclaims that if all the gangs unite, they will easily outnumber New York City’ s police force and control the city. As the crowd cheers, Cyrus states that they must maintain a truce among each other in order to gradually take over the city “one borough at a time.” Suddenly, Cyrus is shot and killed by Luther, from the Rogues gang, as police arrive to break up the meeting. In the ensuing mayhem, Luther frames Cleon and the Warriors for the murder. The Gramercy Riffs surround Cleon and beat him to death, while the rest of the eight Warriors, Swan, Fox, Ajax, Rembrandt, Cochise, Cowboy, Vermin, and Snow, escape and temporarily hide out in a cemetery. Swan says their only choice is to return to Coney Island, despite the risk of encountering police and hostile gangs. Since they will be traveling through foreign territory, Swan hopes the truce is still active and instructs his fellow Warriors to rendezvous at the Union Square subway junction if they get separated. Although the foolhardy Ajax challenges Swan’s leadership, the others respect his right, ... +


Cyrus is president of the Gramercy Riffs, the biggest gang in New York City. He summons a conclave of every gang in the city and asks each organization to send nine delegates, unarmed. The Warriors, led by Cleon, leave their turf in Coney Island and travel by subway to the assembly in the Bronx, where some of them have never ventured. One hundred gangs converge at a park at night, dressed in their unique attire and colors. In front of the attentive gathering, the charismatic Cyrus proclaims that if all the gangs unite, they will easily outnumber New York City’ s police force and control the city. As the crowd cheers, Cyrus states that they must maintain a truce among each other in order to gradually take over the city “one borough at a time.” Suddenly, Cyrus is shot and killed by Luther, from the Rogues gang, as police arrive to break up the meeting. In the ensuing mayhem, Luther frames Cleon and the Warriors for the murder. The Gramercy Riffs surround Cleon and beat him to death, while the rest of the eight Warriors, Swan, Fox, Ajax, Rembrandt, Cochise, Cowboy, Vermin, and Snow, escape and temporarily hide out in a cemetery. Swan says their only choice is to return to Coney Island, despite the risk of encountering police and hostile gangs. Since they will be traveling through foreign territory, Swan hopes the truce is still active and instructs his fellow Warriors to rendezvous at the Union Square subway junction if they get separated. Although the foolhardy Ajax challenges Swan’s leadership, the others respect his right, as “war chief,” to be the next in charge. Meanwhile, Masai, the new leader of the Gramercy Riffs, orders his gang to capture the Warriors alive, and relays a warning through a radio disc jockey, who dedicates the song “Nowhere To Run” to the Warriors. The Riffs also call upon other gangs, loyal to Cyrus, to act as patrols along the route to Coney Island. Swan leads his comrades to the nearest subway station, where the group must run to the train to avoid being caught by the pursuing Turnbull A. C.’s gang. The Warriors expect the journey back to Coney Island to take an hour, but they are forced to leave the train due to a subway station fire. On the street, the Orphans gang emerges from the shadows to let the Warriors know they are encroaching on their turf. Swan and Fox stand up to the thugs, who are considered small-time within New York City’s gang hierarchy, but a neighborhood prostitute named Mercy encourages the amateurs to challenge the invasion of their territory. Initially, the Orphans allow the Warriors to walk away, but they want to prove their courage and return to fight. Swan quickly defuses the threat by throwing a Molotov cocktail at a nearby car. He and the Warriors run to the subway train as Mercy joins them, claiming she is looking for “real action.” At the 96th Street station, the Warriors flee police, and Fox is killed by an oncoming train while wrestling with an officer on the platform. The three Warriors, Rembrandt, Vermin, and Cochise, escape on a subway going downtown, while Swan, Ajax, Cowboy, and Snow run outside the station to find themselves outnumbered by the Baseball Furies gang. After being chased to a park, the Warriors defeat the Furies and confiscate their baseball bats. Meanwhile, the disc jockey reports on air that the Warriors are making some progress toward Coney Island, but the odds are still against them. When Rembrandt, Vermin, and Cochise arrive at Union Square station, they approach a female gang called the Lizzies, who seem friendly and take the Warriors to their apartment to party. In the park, Ajax is arrested for trying to seduce a woman who turns out to be an undercover police officer. While Cowboy and Snow stay behind to check on Ajax, Swan returns to the 96th Street station, where he rendezvous with Mercy. The two escape onto the subway tracks to avoid police and make their way through the tunnel. Mercy is desperate for Swan’s approval and kisses him, but he is leery of her and walks away. Meanwhile, at the party, the Lizzies accuse the Warriors of killing Cyrus and attack Rembrandt, Vermin, and Cochise with their guns and knives. The three boys escape and reunite with Cowboy, Snow, and Swan at Union Square station. Mercy is also there as she continues to follow Swan. In the men’s bathroom, the six Warriors brawl with a roller-skating gang called The Punks and once again subdue their attackers. At a hideout for the Gramercy Riffs, a witness comes forward to inform Masai that Luther of the Rogue gang was the one who killed Cyrus. The Warriors finally reach their home turf of Coney Island at sunrise. On the boardwalk, they are confronted by Luther and the Rogues, and Swan leads his gang to the beach for the confrontation. The crazed Luther admits that he killed Cyrus for no reason, stating he just likes “doing things like that.” When Swan challenges Luther to a one-on-one duel, the Rogue refuses and pulls out a gun. However, Swan is able to disarm his opponent by throwing a knife in his forearm. Suddenly, Masai and his Gramercy Riffs arrive on the scene. Masai compliments the Warriors on their journey and declares that his gang will finish off the Rogues. The Warriors and Mercy walk down the beach, as the disc jockey announces, “The big alert has been called off.” +

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

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