Today The Warriors turns 40 as it was on this day back in 1979 that The Warriors was released in theatres in the United States. The fact that interest in the movie is as strong today as it was back then truly confirms that The Warriors is one of the greatest cult movies of all time.
We all know the story but what is it specifically about The Warriors that makes it so enduring to viewers of all ages including many, like myself, who are under 40 and were not even born when the movie came out? I can recall the first time I watched the movie and found it an irresistible mix of colourful gangs, a gritty urban setting, an easy to follow and compelling plot and a desire to see The Warriors survive after being falsely accused of a crime they did not commit. That makes The Warriors a great film and an enjoyable watch but it doesn’t necessarily make it a cult movie warranting dozens of rewatches over many years so what is it exactly that gives this movie a bigger following than many others? I wanted to take this opportunity to share my thoughts.
40 years later The Warriors remains a truly unique and abstract movie that has been parodied in everything from music to The Simpsons. Think of Cyrus’ speech, the Baseball Furies and Luther clinking his bottles and you can see dozens of references to these three things alone which is testament to how visually striking and memorable the movie is. You could freeze pretty much any frame of the movie and know that you were watching The Warriors. The movie is as much iconic as it is cult.
The Warriors also holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many people for its portrayal of brotherhood, friendship and camaraderie. If you haven’t seen Director Walter Hill’s movie Southern Comfort, which was released 2 years after he released The Warriors, then I highly recommend it as it continues that theme of kinship and fraternity. I truly believe that one of the greatest draws to The Warriors is that sense of friendship and belonging which so many people desire. Perhaps in the greatest nod to this aspect of The Warriors which I don’t think gets the recognition it deserves are the countless encounters that I have seen online of how the fans themselves are a kind of global community of ‘Warriors’ who are there to support each other, and even raise financial support, at a time of need for other fans. For me this is perhaps the biggest, and most positive, impact of The Warriors and one I am truly grateful to have supported.
May I take this opportunity to personally thank all the cast and crew and everyone who made The Warriors for without you many millions of people would have not found a movie that they have found entertainment and comfort in. May it continue to bring joy to people and inspire many a halloween costume for years to come!