Can you recall any movies that were directly responsible for violent outbursts at theaters; faced negative movie reviews; promoted horribly; excluded from particular cinemas and still achieved huge success? When The Warriors debuted in 1979, the chaos was so overbearing that Paramount offered to pay for security and paused mass promotion for the film. The production giant also allowed theaters to not play the movie.
Despite these hurdles, the movie grossed $16.4 million—a huge achievement for that time—and became a pop culture classic. The film was based on Sol Yurick’s novel of the same name, which in turn was based on an ancient Greek story by Xenophon called Anabasis. The movie focused on the protagonist Cyrus, whose gang was implicated for the loss of a popular gang leader. His group, the Warriors, evaded cops and rival gangs whom were intent on delivering deadly justice. A line in the film contained a clever parallel to the Greek line in Anabasis (“the sea, the sea”—said by the Greek protagonist in the story when his army reached their own homeland after battling enemies abroad). The character Swan uttered: “When we see the ocean, we figure we’re home.”
A TV series is in the works. The Russo brothers, the duo responsible for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War, is working with Paramount and the streaming service Hulu to create a television saga that’s based on the concept of the original film, including all the gritty plot details.