DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Walter Hill
Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright
Writing Credits:
Walter Hill

When someone kills the leader of a rival faction, the Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby Atmos (Theatrical)
English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (Alternate)
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
English LPCM 1.0 (Theatrical)
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min. (Theatrical)
94 min. (Alternate)
Price: $49.95
Release Date: 12/19/2023

• Theatrical and Alternate Versions
• Audio Commentary with Film Critic Walter Chaw
• Isolated Score
• “War Stories” Featurette
• “Whole Lotta Magic” Featurette
• “Battling Boundaries” Featurette
• “Gang Style” Featurette
• “The Armies of the Night” Featurette
• “Come Out to Play” Featurette
• “Sound of the Streets” Featurette
• Introduction to Alternate Version
• Four-Part Documentary
• Trailer
• Image Gallery


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Warriors - Limited Edition [Blu-Ray] (1979)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 30, 2023)

As a director, Walter Hill’s commercial career likely peaked with 1982’s 48 Hrs., a fairly big hit. However, Hill first entered the public consciousness three years earlier via 1979’s The Warriors, a controversial effort.

Cyrus (Roger Hill) leads a New York City gang called “The Grammercy Riffs”. He seeks a truce to unite all the local clans, but this ends poorly when someone assassinates him.

The others blame the Warriors gang and seek revenge. Members of the Warriors struggle to cross unfriendly territory to get back to their own turf.

Because I was 12 in 1979, I knew of The Warriors but never saw it. Actually, my Dad took me to some “R”-rated flicks back then, but either I showed no interest in the flick or the Old Man simply told me no.

I did know of The Warriors at the time, and I maintain a vague recollection of the debates about it. As mentioned, it set off controversies, mainly connected to violence related to the film’s theatrical screenings. These created a major kerfuffle and overshadowed the movie’s actual merits.

Viewed in my home 44 years later, I don’t fear riots too much, though I guess some parts of Warriors might agitate one of my dogs. From this vantage point, it becomes difficult to understand why the movie inspired so much furor, as it seems too silly and goofy to merit bloodshed.

When the gathering of gangs occurs at the movie’s start, we see one group made up of dudes in mime garb, and another that looks like they just came from the disco. Later in the flick, we meet violent youths clad in Yankees uniforms and garish face paint.

Perhaps this all seemed creepy and intimidating in 1979, but in 2023, it feels absurd. Would these costumes actually intimidate anyone? Probably not, as the characters feel more like members of the Village People than homicidal toughs.

Even if I ignore the camp factor, Warriors falters because it just seems so darned dull. Essentially a Western at heart, the “story” follows a rote framework: the Warriors run into foes as they travel, fight, lather, rinse, etc.

Granted, the film tosses out some other interludes as well – strange ones, as these gang members seem oddly unconcerned with haste as they pursue their quest. They find all sorts of reasons to dawdle on their trek back to Coney Island, and these choices make no sense given that their lives literally depend on their return to their home turf.

Given the repetitive nature of the rest of the “plot”, I guess I should welcome these dalliances. Instead, they just make a sluggish movie even slower and more tedious, as they add little suspense or drama.

If Hill imbued the various battles with real urgency or creativity, I might not mind the absence of a strong plot or involving characters. However, the fights tend to seem as rudimentary as everything else.

We find a lot of skirmishes, but virtually none of them come across with real power. Some of that stems from the silliness of the gangs – heck, one scene wants us to feel intimidated by a guy who looks like he came straight from a roller disco movie – but the film also falters just because these “action scenes” simply fail to connect.

We see the fights but without investment in the characters, we don’t care what happens. Again, if Hill made the battles more dynamic, this might not matter, but the whole enterprise feels turgid and uninspired.

All of this means The Warriors winds up as a wholly forgettable action flick. It might’ve created controversy 44 years ago, but in 2023, it seems like a dud.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus A

The Warriors appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This Arrow release delivered an appealing rendition of the source.

Overall sharpness seemed positive. Due to the nature of the photography, a few slightly soft shots occurred, but most of the movie appeared accurate and well-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain seemed natural, while print flaws failed to become a concern.

Colors usually stayed muted to match the tone and settings, though some brighter hues manifested at times. The disc reproduced these colors well.

Blacks looked dark and deep, while shadows seemed smooth and clear. Given its age and stylistic choices, I felt pleased with this presentation.

Remixed from the original monaural – which also appeared here - the disc came with a new Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, this became a mixed bag.

Parts of the soundscape worked well, especially in terms of music. The score broadened to the side and back channels in an engaging manner.

At times, effects followed suit. Some of these elements popped up in logical spots and blended neatly.

However, other sections of the track lacked a natural vibe and seemed contrived. For instance, crowd noises at the gang gathering that opened the movie felt weird and off-putting.

This became an issue throughout the movie, as for every positive aspect of the Atmos mix, I found other elements that flopped. This led to an up and down soundfield.

Audio quality showed its age and low budget origins but seemed acceptable. Speech could seem a bit thin and tinny at times but the lines always remained intelligible and they lacked notable issues, even with a little edginess at times.

Effects could come across as a bit rough at times, but they showed decent range. Some less than stellar foley work added to the “disconnect from reality” I mentioned in terms of the soundfield, though. I don’t know if the track used the 1979 stems or created new recordings for a lot of these components, but they definitely seemed unnatural too much of the time.

Music worked better, as the score offered appealing vivacity. Because the soundscape seemed awkward too much of the time, this turned into a “B-” remix.

As noted, the disc also brought the movie’s original LPCM monaural audio. Obviously it lacked the soundfield issues I discerned with the Atmos remix.

It also didn’t seem quite as robust as the Atmos. The latter managed more low-end and punch.

Nonetheless, the mono version came across as more organic and a better fit for the movie. Speech sounded similar between the two.

As mentioned, music and effects showed less bite with the mono track, but they remained reasonably full and without notable distortion. I thought the 1979 audio became the best mix for the movie.

How did the 2023 Arrow Blu-ray compare to the original BD from 2007? That one only came with a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.

The presence of the original monaural came as a definite positive, and the Atmos track also topped the lackluster 5.1 from the old BD. It demonstrated better clarity and range, though its wonky soundfield became an issue.

The old 5.1 was more "broad mono” so it didn’t come with the same soundscape distractions. I felt very happy we got the 1979 track so that made the Arrow disc’s audio superior.

In addition, visuals got a nice boost. The 2007 Blu-ray suffered from noise reduction that made it look “wrong” for a gritty 1979 flick, so the 2023 release delivered a more natural and film-like experience.

The Arrow release mixes old and new extras, and we find two separate versions of the film. In addition to the movie’s theatrical edition (1:33:09), we also get a 2005 alternate version (1:34:00).

The latter adds a comic book style introduction with voiceover from Hill. It also comes with a few cuts that bring similar comic book reflections.

I get that Hill feels these additions make the movie more of an overt comic book adventure, but they seem gratuitous and poorly integrated, as their style never blends with the 1979 film. The added material for the “alternate” doesn’t ruin the flick – the original footage does that on its own – but it makes a flawed tale even weaker.

Note that the 2007 Blu-ray offered only the longer “Alternate “ cut of the film. As far as I can tell, the 2023 Arrow version delivers the Blu-ray debut of the movie’s 1979 version.

Also note that the “Alternate” lacked the Atmos and mono options found with the 1979 cut, though it carried over a DTS-HD MA stereo track. “Alternate” did bring a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that I suspect stemmed from the Dolby 5.1 on the original Blu-ray.

The soundfield opened up to a decent degree but it didn’t always – or often – show smooth spread to the other channels. Music and effects broadened in a general manner and occasionally displayed positive localization, but more often, they moved to the various speakers in a loose, non-specific way.

This left the soundscape as “broad mono” much of the time. Though we got enough material placed in the correct spot, too much of it seemed tentative to make this an effective soundfield.

Audio quality showed its age and low budget origins but seemed acceptable. Speech could seem a bit thin and tinny at times but the lines always remained intelligible and they lacked notable issues.

Effects could come across as a bit rough at times, but they showed decent range. Music worked the same, with songs and score that offered decent life, if not great power. This became a serviceable remix.

In general, I thought the visuals of “Alternate” felt comparable to those of the theatrical edition. “Alternate” seemed to lean more teal than its 1979 counterpart, but the differences didn’t become significant. It provided largely equivalent visual quality overall.

Alongside the theatrical cut, we get an audio commentary from film critic Walter Chaw. He brings a running, screen-specific look at the source and its adaptation, story and characters, themes, influences and symbolism, cast and crew, production elements, controversies, and his take on the movie.

It becomes pretty clear than Chaw lives in "Walter Hill fanboy" territory, and that makes sense. After all, he wrote a biography of the filmmaker, and it would seem odd for him to do so if he disliked Hill's work.

This makes a little too much of the commentary fall into "praise mode", but Chaw compensates with a lot of good information as well. Overall this ends up as a pretty useful and enthusiastic chat.

Another alternate audio track, the movie comes with an Isolated Score. This presents the film’s music via DTS-HD MA stereo and becomes a nice addition for fans.

Under “Archival Special Features”, we locate a four-part documentary. Actually, the disc presents these as separate featurettes, but they seem to exist as parts of a whole.

These take up a total of one hour, three minutes, one second as we find “The Beginning” (14:0), “Battleground” (15:24), “The Way Home” (18:06) and “The Phenomenon” (15:22). Across these, we hear from writer/director Walter Hill, producer Lawrence Gordon, editor David Holden, executive producer Frank Marshall, costume designer Bobbie Maddix, assistant director David O. Sosna, editors Freeman Davies, David Holden and Billy Weber, stunt coordinator Craig Baxley, director of photography Andrew Laszlo, director’s assistant Neil Canton, composer Barry De Vorzon, and actors Michael Beck, James Remar, David Harris, David Patrick Kelly and Deborah Van Valkenburgh.

In these programs, we hear about the source novel, its adaptation and path to the screen as well as cast and performances, costumes, sets and locations, stunts and action, photography, editing, music, the film’s release and legacy.

All four of these segments combine to give us a pretty solid look at the movie. We receive a broad look at a nice mix of topics in this useful collection of featurettes.

War Stories goes for 15 minutes, 47 seconds. It brings a circa 2023 interview with Walter Hill.

In this chat, Hill discusses the movie's path to the screen, writing the screenplay, shooting in New York, costumes and photography, music, cast and performances, controversies, and the "Alternate Cut". Hill offers a good overview of his memories.

Next comes Whole Lotta Magic. This one spans and brings a one-hour, 24-minute, 12-second roundtable in which directors Lexi Alexander and Robert D. Kryzkowski and screenwriter Josh Olson participate.

In this long reel, they tell us of their initial experiences with the movie as well as their thoughts about the film and some production notes. Much of this works pretty well, though I’m not sure we get 84 minutes of worthwhile material here.

Battling Boundaries fills eight minutes, 13 seconds. In this piece, we hear from editor Billy Weber.

The featurette examines how Weber came to the movie and his work on it as well as its release/legacy. He brings some good info, though he provides views of Thomas Waites’ firing and post-release controversies differently from others.

After this we find Gang Style. It goes for nine minutes, eight seconds and features costume designer Bobbie Mannix.

Unsurprisingly, Mannix focuses on the costumes seen in the movie as well as reactions to the film. This becomes a tight overview.

The Armies of the Night lasts five minutes, 48 seconds and brings a montage of 114 stills from Mannix’s archives. We get a lot of good material, though for reasons unknown, a lot of them appear at odd skewed angles.

Up next, Come Out to Play runs 10 minutes, eight seconds and delivers a tour of movie locations with Coney Island USA artistic director Adam Rinn. We find a nice look at changes over the decades.

Finally, Sound of the Streets occupies 24 minutes, 33 seconds. This one involves film historian/composer Neil Brand.

As expected, “Sound” covers the movie’s score and audio. Brand provides an introspective summary of these choices.

In addition to the film’s trailer, the theatrical disc provides an Image Gallery. It shows 99 elements that mix shots from the movie and publicity elements.

On the “Alternate Version” disc, we find an Introduction By Walter Hill. During this one-minute, 17-second piece, Hill discusses his intentions for this edition of the film. Don’t expect a lot of insights.

Back in 1979, The Warriors created a massive wave of controversy. It seems tough to believe that this goofy, campy piece of fluff inspired real-life violence, as the film seems too toothless to inspire much passion. The Blu-ray comes with solid picture and audio as well as a strong set of bonus materials. Warriors does little for me but Arrow bring it home well.

To rate this film visit the prior review of THE WARRIORS

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main