Reimagining the five boroughs as a graffiti-coated war zone, Walter Hill’s 1979 cult classic The Warriors made stars out of a group of unknowns and minted a confirmed midnight-movie hit. Decades later, diehard fans still congregate to quote dialogue and celebrate this punk artifact on Coney Island – and in a new exclusive video, Rolling Stone sat down with original Warriors Cleon, Swan, Vermin, Cochise, and more to look back on the film’s legacy as it nears the 40-year mark.
“When you’re making a movie, you’re just working, you don’t think ‘cult classic,'” says Brian Tyler, formerly known as Snow. “But when it turns out like this and people follow you for 37 years, it’s the best thing out there.”
The fans they never expected to win over were the ones who made the whole process worth it. “I love interacting with the people out there who love this movie, and who gave me a career, bought tickets, watched shows on television,” says Michael Beck, who played the gang’s war chief Swan. “It resonates with people, because it’s a nightmarish look at this city.”
“It means a lot to us, because our fans are family,” adds David Harris (Cochise). “It has not lost its juice in over thirty-something years.” “They’re like my brothers,” agrees Fox, a.k.a.Thomas G. Waites.
Waites in particular had a unique experience making The Warriors, having gotten notoriously fired by Hill and kicked off set. In a bonus interview above, Waites goes over the whole episode.
“It was the worst day of my life, and yet I acknowledge that I deserved it,” he says. “I had a lot of disputatious discussions with Walter and I thought the movie was too violent, and he was like, ‘Shut the fuck up, you’re just the actor.’ And he was right!
“Out of anger and immaturity,” he adds, “I asked them to remove my name from the credits.” But he keeps a positive attitude about it today, approaching the whole matter as a learning opportunity for young actors. “I’ve made all the mistakes for you … you don’t have to make them.”
And in a second bonus video, the cast members react to the news that a TV series adaptation of The Warriors has been announced for the near future. Most express curiosity, but the prevailing sentiment? “Good luck at living up to what we did.”