“Warriooooors, come out to playaaaayyy…” David Patrick Kelly’s famous line, and the fact that it was improvised, drew me to watch this film.
And yet, the most fascinating part of the movie was how it managed to become so popular. The outrageous outfits (face-painted, bat-wielding baseball players?) and the dance-like fighting techniques (that was only okay in West Side Story) made me wonder…
Turns out, as my research led me to discover, the film was seriously controversial at the time.
Walter Hill’s The Warriors caused a ruckus back in 1979. The film, based on New York street gangs with themes taken from the novel Anabasis by Xenophon, sported these tag lines on posters and print ads:
“These are the Armies of The Night. They are 60,000 strong. They outnumber the cops three to one. They could run New York City. Tonight they’re all out to get the Warriors.” (IMDB)
The public feared this notion would stir up a violent uprise of real street gangs. As AMC’s Filmsite reports, “the film was temporarily pulled out of circulation in over half a dozen theaters by its nervous Paramount Studios despite being a box office success.” (“Box office success?” Really?)
Hill must’ve had one hell of a PR team. If anyone out there could explain to me what the big whoop about this film is, I would welcome the insight.
At least I can say this–
I now understand the parody in one of my favorite episodes of “American Dad” (Season 4, Episode 5, “Escape from Pearl Bailey”).