The Warriors (1979): Yell! Magazine’s Greatest Films Series

Yell! Magazine review:

The best of all the street gang movies out there, The Warriors is directed by Walter Hill, in his best film to date. The premise to the film was simple, put a gang in foreign territory and have them fight their way back to the safety of their own turf. Throw a bunch of cool looking gangs in their way, add a minor romance between their leader and a slut, and even add some gun toting lesbians and you have the formula for a great gang film.

It all starts with a man named Cyrus (Roger Hill). Cyrus is a legend in the New York Gang world. He is the president of the largest gang in the city, The Riffs. Cyrus gained such a legendary status that he is seen as a prophet by many. He has a vision, to join all the gangs together and run all of New York from the streets. Gang members outnumber the cops and the crime syndicates so his dream doesn’t seem that far-fetched. That is, if he can convince the various gangs of the city to join forces rather than killing each other.

So Cyrus spreads the word. He sets a meeting in Van Courtlandt Park in The Bronx. All the major gangs of the city get an invitation. They are instructed to bring nine men, no weapons. With so many gang members in one place something was bound to go wrong, and it did.

In steps the lunatic psychopath Luther (David Patrick Kelly), the leader of the Rogues, who shoots Cyrus in the middle of his speech. While this is transpiring, the cops have heard about the meeting and they show up en mass surrounding the park with squad cars. After the gun shot, all hell breaks loose. The cops hit their sirens and rush the park, gang members are running everywhere to escape and Cleon (Dorsey Wright), the president of the Warriors, tells his soldiers to get out of the park while he goes to find out what happened to Cyrus.

Luther sees Cleon and yells out that Cleon is the shooter; that the Warriors are the ones who shot Cyrus. The Riffs surround Cleon and although he puts up a brave fight, Cleon is killed on the spot. Masai (Edward Sewer), now the leader of the Riffs spreads the word, using a late night radio DJ (voiced by Lynne Thigpen) that the Warriors are responsible for Cyrus’ death. Now every gang between The Bronx and the Warriors home territory of Coney Island are out for Warrior blood.

By this time the eight Warriors have escaped the park, and after hiding from police patrols in an adjacent cemetery, head toward the nearest subway. The Warriors are:

Cleon (Dorsey Wright)

Cleon was the leader of the Warriors until killed by the Riffs.

Swan (Michael Beck)

Swan becomes the new leader of the Warriors after Cleon’s death.

Ajax (James Remar)

Ajax is the strongest of the Warrior’s soldiers. He is the muscle of the gang.

The Fox (Thomas G. Waites)

The Fox is the knowledge source for the Warriors. He has all the information on other gang strengths and numbers. He is also the scout for the gang.

Rembrandt (Marcelino Sanchez)

Rembrandt is the Warriors artist. He is the one that tags areas the gang has entered with spray paint to let other gangs know the Warriors were there.

Snowball (Brian Tyler)

Snowball is the Warrior’s music man. He carries the ghetto blaster and plays the tunes and gets the updates on gang events through the radio, although this is not shown at all in the film. We only gain this knowledge through a deleted scene from the movie.

Vermin (Terry Michos)

Vermin is the Warriors bearer, meaning he carries the subway tokens and money they will use for the trip to The Bronx. This fact, like Snowball’s assignment, plays no part in the movie, we only gain this knowledge from the deleted scenes of the film.

Cochise (David Harris)

Conchise is, like Ajax, a soldier and muscle for the gang.

Cowboy (Tom McKitterick)

Cowboy is also muscle for the Warriors as Ajax and Conchise, although he isn’t as adept at it as we see in the film.

The Warriors (1979) poster
Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
Year Released:
9 February 1979 (USA)
Walter Hill
Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris, Tom McKitterick, David Patrick Kelly, Mercedes Ruehl, John Snyder
Action, Adventure, Crime
Official URL:

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