The Warriors (1979): 2-Disc Limited Edition [4K UHD]

Now Available from Arrow Video.

It’s no secret that I Love “The Warriors.” I’ve loved it for years, and I talk about it constantly. I own a massive poster, the vinyl soundtrack the entire funko pop wave, the PS2 video game, and most of the editions on DVD and Blu-Ray. It’s a movie that’s had an interesting genesis starting out as a novel, transformed in to a notorious feature film, which then became fodder for video stores and was played quite often in syndication on cable and network television. It then evolved in to a cult classic and now a more widely celebrated cult masterpiece. And rightly so.

It’s a movie that works on so many levels as a streamlined, sleek, gritty, and exciting gang picture that Walter Hill directs with pitch perfect efficiency, and it’s garnered another well deserved special release from Arrow Video.

The Warriors” is based on the 1965 novel of the same name by Sol Yurick, whose own novel borrowed heavily from Xenophon’s 4th century B.C. epic “Anabasis” and retrofitted for a more contemporary setting. “Anabasis” is centers on the Ten Thousand, a group of Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Elder who ended up stranded deep in Persian territory after Cyrus was killed. They’re then left with no other option but to make a long march through enemy territory in order to get back to Greece. In the novel, and subsequent movie, 4th Century BC is turned in to the slums of New York City, where gangs virtually dominate every neighborhood as territory.

Cyrus (Ismael Rivera in the book) is leader of the Delancy Thrones, who becomes a prophet calling for the unity of all of gang land to unite and take back New York. If you’ve seen the movie as much as I have, you know how the rest unfolds. “The Warriors,” despite its release date is still a dazzling and exciting bit of science fiction and action that pictures New York as this dystopian wasteland where the Warriors have to rely on each other to get home and stand their ground.

For a long time the only available cut of “The Warriors” was the god awful (and patronizing, I might add) “Ultimate Director’s Cut” which depicted the film as a moving comic book, with awkward pans and scene transitions. Finally the original cut became available and has returned for fans that grew up with the proper theatrical cut. This edition comes packed with the original Theatrical Cut, as well as the 2005 Cut (now called “the Alternate Cut”) for folks that prefer the latter. As for frills, the set also includes a 100-page book with new essays and archival material, a reversible insert, a double-sided foldout poster, six art cards, and four sheets of stickers with logos for the gangs seen in the film. Everything is included inside a rigid, sturdy keep case.

On Disc One, there’s a new commentary is with Walter Chaw, the senior film critic at Film Freak Central and author of A Walter Hill Film: Tragedy and Masculinity in the films of Walter Hill. Chaw explores the themes of The Warriors, the world-building in The Warriors and the differences between the book and the film (as well as the differences between the theatrical cut and the 2005 version). The disc also includes An Isolated Music track in full stereo. War Stories is an interview with Walter Hill where he looks back at his challenges in making the film. Whole Lotta Magic is a Zoom discussion between screenwriter Josh Olson, director Lexi Alexander, and director Robert D. Kryzkowski, originally recorded for The Movies That Made Me.

There is Battling Boundaries is an interview with editor Billy Weber, who talks about moving from having worked with Terrance Malick on Badlands and Days of Heaven to working with Hill on The Warriors and other films. Gang Style is an interview with Bobby Mannix, who was costume designer on both The Warriors and Xanadu. She explains her process in creating the interesting outfits and gimmicks for each gang. The Armies of the Night is an image gallery showing her designs, production Polaroids, as well as the finished costumes. Come Out to Play is a guided tour of the original Coney Island locations, hosted by Adam Rinn of Coney Island USA.

Finally, there is Sound of the Streets, an appreciation of Barry De Vorzon’s score by composer Neil Brand. Next there are the archival extras which were all originally created by Laurent Bouzereau for Paramount’s 2005 DVD. The include interviews with various cast and crew members, including Walter Hill, Billy Weber, James Remar, and many more. The Beginning explains how the whole project came together; Battleground covers the challenging location shoots; The Way Home explores the look of the film, including the aesthetic and cinematography. The Phenomenon is a look at the infamous original release of The Warriors and its legacy.

The Second Disc includes an Introduction by Walter Hill who gives his justifications for “the alternate cut” was also created for the 2005 Paramount DVD. Pretty much everything from that disc has been included here.