This is a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of this website and some of my thoughts on why I think the movie is so enduring over 35 years later.
In the beginning…
However, let’s start with an introduction. My name is Gareth, but I also go by the name of War Chief in the forum. I created The Warriors Movie Site back in 2002 after watching The Warriors on BBC One in the UK when I was just 19. I hadn’t actually set out to watch the movie but my dad, who originally saw it at the cinema, suggested that I should give it a watch citing the multitude of gangs and the brightly coloured outfits that they wear. Rarely did I get suggestions of movies to watch from my dad so I switched it on and started watching. I was busy doing something else at the time so I put it on in the background. However, by the time the subway train was racing through the opening credit sequence it had my full attention. At this point I remember wanting to know who this guy Cyrus was.
There’s something special about watching a film for the first time that you can never recreate. Of course, that’s to do with the anticipation, surprise and shock that you only get the first time you watch a movie. I remember feeling the same way when I watched The Breakfast Club for the first time which must have been around the same time.
The Warriors hooked me in instantly and I remember watching the various fights and chases not knowing whether the characters would escape and survive. Within the first 10 minutes of the movie, the plot was set and I knew that this was a story about survival. Thinking about it now, I also enjoy other adventure and survival movies – The Neverending Story and The Goonies were childhood favourites of mine and I am currently enjoying watching The Walking Dead.
Despite it being a film about a New York street gang, I found The Warriors to be very likeable and I actually cared about whether they made it home after they were wrongly accused of killing Cyrus. I enjoyed the adventure of watching a group of guys forced to make their way home and how they all rallied together to solve problems and to get through their enemy encounters as a ‘family’.
The movie flew by and after 90 minutes or so the movie was over and I watched The Warriors walking off down the beach at Coney Island. I wanted more. I had so many unanswered questions. What did they do next? What happened to Ajax? Where are the other members of their gang? My search for answers took me online.
The birth of The Warriors Movie Site
After going online, the first thing I did was to buy the CD soundtrack and a VHS copy of The Warriors so I could watch it again (which I promptly did when it arrived). This was back in the day before TiVo, movies on demand or catch-up TV!
Turning my attention to the questions I had, I searched for websites related to the movie. Aside from the usual large movie sites like IMDB.com I found one or two small fan sites on platforms like AOL or Geocities (remember that?) that were seldom updated. They contained some really interesting information but I wanted to chat with fellow fans of the movie. I therefore decided to build my own site and on the 19th February 2002, The Warriors Movie Site was born.
The website started out with a small number of pages detailing the cast and gangs in the movie and explored some of the other aspects such as the soundtrack which I had just acquired on CD. As I spent more and more time researching the movie, driven by my passion for it, the website quickly grew and I found that there were many die hard fans out there who, upon finding the site, sent me photos, movie mistakes, letters, details on filming locations, clips and news stories which I used to build the site (and I am ever grateful to you all and those who continue to support the site!).
Fairly early on I created a forum on the website to satisfy my need for posting questions and seeking answers from other fans. This became very popular and the forum today has over 2,000 members and around 130,000 posts and is a real treasure trove of information, photos, fan fiction, artwork, rare memorabilia and movie analysis. I recommend you join and take part in the discussions there.
The 25th Anniversary of the movie
As time went on, and the site gained momentum, interest in, The Warriors also started to grow. I was able to interview some of the cast and crew for the website yielding yet more insights that I could share with fans. One of my favourite moments was when David Patrick Kelly shared his thoughts on who he was speaking to on the phone in the movie – something which had remained unclear until he told me about it.
As the 25th anniversary of The Warriors neared, and whilst I was at university, Rockstar Games contacted me to let me know that they were creating a game based on the movie. That was an awesome time for fans since everyone was looking forward to playing the game and connecting in a different way with the movie and create a new experience for themselves. This wasn’t going to be any old game, but a Rockstar Games game (of GTA fame)! Everyone knew that this was going to be good!
Before the game was released I remember spending half a day with a friend at Rockstar Games office in London where we got a sneak preview of the game which was really awesome. They subsequently sent lots of cool goodies and promotional material my way which makes up a big part of my movie memorabilia haul!
The game launched in 2005 and was a huge success and I know of quite a few people who still play it today. Around the same time, The Warriors Director’s Cut was released on DVD which created further buzz and excitement (albeit slightly let down by the fact that the additional scenes promised were not scenes cut from the original movie but additional comic book sequences created much later).
The 35th Anniversary of the movie
Alas, as I write this, support for The Warriors is still going strong and the movie has just celebrated its 35th anniversary. The movie continues to be a firm favourite with movie fans and it’s now being enjoyed by yet another new generation of movie lovers. The Warriors Movie Site itself has been visited by over 1,000,000 people since I launched it which is something I am immensely proud to have achieved. I am glad that something I have developed is keeping the cult status of The Warriors alive for fans all around the world.
In giving interviews for websites and publications, I am often asked why The Warriors is a cult movie and how it has stood the test of time. Other than it being a strikingly simple survival story and a great movie, I think there are a couple of key reasons:
It’s uniquely iconic. There’s not really another movie like The Warriors. It’s visually stunning and has been spoofed, lampooned and referenced in many other movies and popular TV shows like The Simpsons and American Dad. The Baseball Furies are perhaps the biggest icons of the movie. The fact it is referenced so often adds to its cult status.
The Warriors is also the theme for many a halloween costume or party which also helps keep the movie at the forefront of people’s minds! People also relate to it. Many people who watch, or have watched, The Warriors want to belong. The movie is about how a group of people come together with a shared interest. This is a tale about brotherhood and how friends support each other when times get tough. Fans want to be part of The Warriors themselves.
So what’s next?
Whilst the film is quite old the story is timeless and will be watched by many more millions of fans in the years to come. As fans we have been fortunate enough to have been provided with video games, action figures, comic books, extended soundtracks, and a Director’s Cut DVD and Blu-Ray over the last few years. I will also continue to add to my ever-evolving extensive feature on the making of the movie (which is now around 10,000 words in length!).
Looking forward, there were talks of a remake (which divided fans) but that seems to be on the back burner following the death of Tony Scott who was going to direct the movie.
Perhaps there will be a 40th anniversary release of the movie with new material and interviews in 2019. Maybe Rockstar will re-release The Warriors game with HD graphics on current generation consoles. What I do know is that fans around the world will continue to gather, as they have done, to create their own Warriors conclaves, parties, screenings and experiences. Whatever happens, fans will still enjoy the magic of The Warriors!
I hope this has provided you with an interesting insight into the history of the website, the cult of The Warriors and the guy behind the website and why I set this site up all those years ago! If you’d like to know more about me, you can always follow me on Twitter @garethpauljones or visit my profile at www.garethjones.uk. However, if you a a member of Letterboxd (and as a movie fan you should be!) you can join me at www.letterboxd.com/garethpauljones. Also, if you’d like to show your appreciation, fell free to gift me something from my Amazon Wishlist! 🙂