Monday, November 28, 2005


Great article (reg req'd) on the The Warriors. I haven't seen the new version, but I've caught the original on TV a few times over the last months.
Despite its legendary status as the ultimate New York street gang movie, it really doesn't have that much to do with New York. Hill, a Californian, knew little about the city and thus was able to re-create it with a sense of fantasy where a New York filmmaker, say, the Martin Scorsese of "Mean Streets," would have gone for realism. Hill didn't see New York as New York but as a giant movie set. The Warriors go to a gang meeting supposedly in the North Bronx (actually shot in Riverside Park); the cops arrive, a riot ensues, and the Warriors flee to a nearby Bronx cemetery (actually Greenwood cemetery in Brooklyn); the nerve center station at Union Square was really the cavernous Hoyt and Schermerhorn Street station in downtown Brooklyn. "The Warriors" is a feast of visual guessing games for long-time New Yorkers.

This is really interesting, because while the film does jump around from location to location in what's supposed to be a journey from the Bronx to Coney Island, I've always found it intensely evocative of the New York City of that era. The first time I saw The Warriors was in 1983, when I was living in the Philippines, and it was broadcast on Manila TV. I knew the City pretty well, my dad grew up in Brooklyn and we'd go in to visit my grandparents quite frequently, I remember the film's stylized representation of NYC making me incredibly homesick as I sat there with my pansit noodles and adobo.

And, of course, watching the film now makes me crave pansit noodles and adobo.

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