15 Things to Look For the Next Time You Watch The Warriors

Paramount Home Video
Paramount Home Video

It turns out people really, really can dig The Warriors. Though, at the time of its release, the low-budget 1979 action movie was mostly known for inspiring a string of vandalism and violent acts, it has gathered a fiendish cult devotion over the years. Fans frequently quote the lingo of its young New York City street gang members (“Warriors, come out to play!”), and the actors who played the film’s titular crew reunited on the city’s subway in 2015 to breathless reactions.

Whether you’re already indoctrinated in the ways of The Warriors, or you’ve yet to experience the movie’s fantastical thrills, here are some interesting facts and moments to keep in mind when watching.

1. IT'S BASED ON A GRAPHIC NOVEL—AND AN ANCIENT GREEK STORY.

The script for The Warriors was adapted from Sol Yurick’s graphic novel of the same name, which in turn quotes and borrows elements from Anabasis, a seven-book adventure by the ancient Greek soldier and writer Xenophon. So just know that while The Warriors might seem very time-stamped, it has roots going back to BC times.

2. IT’S NOT A VERY FAITHFUL ADAPTATION, THOUGH.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

After being handed Yurick’s novel, director Walter Hill immediately had an idea for a fun movie. “I felt very strongly that it certainly was not a very realistic book, and I wanted to make it even less so,” he told Esquire. “I wanted to take it into a fantasy element, but at the same time add some contemporary flash.” The Warriors in the novel are actually the Coney Island Dominators, a black and Hispanic gang. In Hill’s cinematic rendering, the main crew is a diverse group of white and nonwhite misfits.

3. IT HAS COMIC BOOK STYLE.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

The filmmakers used a cool trick to integrate animation into the live-action photography. Sections of the movie are broken up by drawn images, which then seamlessly transition into shots of the human actors. For a late 1970s feature made on a shoestring budget, it’s quite a feat.

4. YES, THAT’S THE REAL WONDER WHEEL.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

The Warriors was shot in the Big Apple almost entirely in darkness. That proved tremendously difficult, since it was summer and the nights didn’t last long. But the cast and crew got a lot of leeway to roam from the city, which was dealing with a fiscal crisis. The Warriors showcases a metropolis that truly was teetering on the brink of chaos.

5. THE WARRIORS OFFERS A GREAT EDUCATION IN THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY SYSTEM.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

Innumerable scenes take place in the real New York City subways, run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including both underground and elevated trains. As seen on the screen, the trains did operate with tokens back then. The characters also avoid paying by jumping the turnstiles, which seems perfectly acceptable when running for your life.

6. WHY IS THERE A GANG OF ... MIMES?

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

The Warriors takes a lot of humorous liberties in concocting its fictional street gangs, which seem to have free rein in a dystopian, futuristic version of New York City. One of the more eccentric tribes is a cluster of mimes in full costume. It begs a number of questions, most importantly: How do they get anything done?

7. IT'S NOT EXACTLY POLITICALLY CORRECT.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

Then again, neither was 1979. The first “f*ggot” is uttered by Warriors member Ajax after Vermin gives him a hard time for only ever thinking about women. (Side note: What did Vermin ever do to deserve that nickname?) Ajax’s go-to defense mechanism is to accuse his friend of being gay with a slur. Some version of the word is used several times throughout the movie. Though it might seem like the film is being homophobic, which is certainly possible, the dialogue is also fairly faithful to the way young men in a tough world at the time would trash-talk each other.

8. THIS IS ONE LONG CHASE FROM A CHASE MASTER.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

The Warriors is one of the more exceptional works from director Walter Hill, who earned a deserved reputation for his hard-boiled tough-guy movies made with elegance. While he’ll always be most famous for 48 Hrs., the hit starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, his other features like The Driver and The Long Riders are worth seeking out. In particular, The Driver, featuring Ryan O’Neal and Bruce Dern, perfected the car-chase move long before Ryan Gosling’s Drive liberally took inspiration from it.

9. YOU’RE WATCHING REAL GANG MEMBERS.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

The real action in The Warriors kicks off with an impressively epic meeting of various gangs in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park (though it was actually filmed in Riverside Park). Cyrus, the leader of the city’s most powerful gang, invites everyone in an attempt to forge an alliance and increase the gangs’ leverage over police, before being abruptly shot and killed. Hill refers to it as “our big production number.” In order to pull off the sequence, the filmmakers asked real gangs to be extras. So The Warriors feels legit for good reason.

10. IT’S NOT ACTUALLY ALL THAT VIOLENT.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

Well, that is, by the standards of today’s superhero movies watched by young children. While the R-rated film puts on a tough pose, beginning with the murder of Cyrus, most of the violence is contained to non-lethal, hand-to-hand combat. The death toll is low relative to the movie’s image, and includes Warriors leader Cleon, who’s framed for Cyrus’s death, and Fox, who’s a victim of a moving train.

11. A DJ STARTS THE TROUBLE.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

Messages are relayed to the gangs by an unnamed female DJ, played by Lynne Thigpen, to whom they all apparently have their radios tuned. We never even see her full face, but her hip attitude is memorable. She may or may not have been an influence on Samuel L. Jackson’s DJ Señor Love Daddy in Do the Right Thing, who’s shot in a similar style and hovers over the proceedings of that other New York-to-its-core narrative.

12. A NEW YORK BASEBALL GANG MAKES A LOT OF SENSE.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

If you’ve ever met a passionate Yankees fan, you might already feel like you’ve been in the presence of a baseball gang member. The infamous Baseball Furies in The Warriors are decked out in uniforms strikingly similar to the Bronx-based MLB team. They wield bats as weapons and wear terrifying face makeup. It’s not so dissimilar from what you might find at a brawl outside Yankee Stadium.

13. THE LEADING LADY HAD A HIDDEN INJURY.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

Deborah Van Valkenburgh plays the fiery Mercy, a sexy woman who catches Swan’s (Michael Beck) eye and joins the Warriors on their journey and turns out to be as tough as the boys. While she’s scantily clad when we first meet her, she’s later dressed in a long-sleeved jacket. That’s likely because, as Hill explained, Van Valkenburgh broke her wrist and had to wear a cast, forcing the crew to get creative.

14. THE REAL VILLAINS ARE THE DISCO DANCERS.

One of the more quietly powerful scenes goes by nearly wordlessly. A pack of merry partiers board the subway and, based on their ruffled attire, seem to be coming from or going to some wholesome disco dancing. They fall silent upon seeing the bruised Swan and Mercy, then leave at the next station. The audience, of course, instantly despises them. It seems like a bit of an overreaction from people on a graffiti-splattered train in then-grimy New York, but the point is clear. Two years after Saturday Night Fever, disco had reached peak saturation. And in fact Hill has complained that Paramount hoped The Warriors would be something like the John Travolta hit. Maybe this was his quiet revenge.

15. THE WARRIORS IS ESSENTIALLY AN URBAN WESTERN.

A scene from Walter Hill's 'The Warriors' (1979)
Paramount Home Video

The Warriors emerge at the end of the movie in their native Coney Island after morning has come, where they face Luther (David Patrick Kelly) and his rival gang who pinned Cyrus’s death on them. It’s striking how much this standoff is filmed like a Western—except on the shores of Brooklyn—but it’s not surprising. Hill’s movies are heavily indebted to Westerns, and The Warriors often resembles one in a different context. It’s also notable that the final duel goes off with only minor injury: Swan throws a switchblade into Luther’s arm. What happens to Luther after the end credits roll—well, that’ll have to be explained in a sequel.

Tom Hiddleston Will Return as Loki for Live-Action Series for Disney+

Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images for Gucci
Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images for Gucci

After various reports and rumors claiming Marvel's Loki would be getting his own TV series for the new Disney+ streaming service, Disney CEO Bob Iger has finally confirmed the news.

In an official press release, it was also announced that ​Tom Hiddleston will be reprising his role as "Loki, the god of mischief" for the live-action series.

It was back in September that Variety first reported that both Loki and Scarlet Witch would be getting their own TV series for Disney+, with Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen reprising their respective roles. It was also rumored these series would only be around six to eight episodes apiece, allowing the stars maintain their otherwise busy schedules.

In the same release, Disney ​announced a Rogue One: A Star Wars Story live-action prequel series, starring Diego Luna, who will reprise his role of Cassian Andor.

“Going back to the Star Wars universe is very special for me," Luna said. "I have so many memories of the great work we did together and the relationships I made throughout the journey."

With its slate of A-list properties, Disney+ is already shaking up the small-screen with its announced original series. The service is not expected to debut until at least late 2019.

40 Educational Facts About Sesame Street

Getty Images
Getty Images

On November 10, 1969, television audiences were introduced to Sesame Street. In the near-50 years since, the series has become one of television's most iconic programs—and it's not just for kids. We're big fans of the Street, and to prove it, here are some of our favorite Sesame Street facts.

1. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before season two.

2. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.

3. During a 2004 episode, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.

4. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street. They played games, sang songs, and R2-D2 fell in love with a fire hydrant.

5. Mr. Snuffleupagus has a first name—Aloysius.

6. Ralph Nader stopped by in 1988 and sang "a consumer advocate is a person in your neighborhood."

7. Caroll Spinney said he based Oscar's voice on a cab driver from the Bronx who brought him to the audition.

8. In 1970, Ernie reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the timeless hit "Rubber Duckie."

9. One of Count von Count's lady friends is Countess von Backwards, who's also obsessed with counting but likes to do it backwards.

10. Sesame Street made its Afghanistan debut in 2011 with Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden). Big Bird, Grover and Elmo are involved.

11. According to Muppet Wiki, Oscar the Grouch and Count von Count were minimized on Baghch-e-Simsim "due to cultural taboos against trash and vampirism."

12. Before Giancarlo Esposito was Breaking Bad's super intense Gus Fring, he played Big Bird's camp counselor Mickey in 1982.

13. Thankfully, those episodes are available on YouTube.

14. How big is Big Bird? 8'2".

15. In 2002, the South African version (Takalani Sesame) added an HIV-positive Muppet named Kami.

16. Six Republicans on the House Commerce Committee wrote a letter to PBS president Pat Mitchell warning that Kami was not appropriate for American children, and reminded Mitchell that their committee controlled PBS's funding.

17. Sesame Street's resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym. His real name was Bernie Liederkrantz.

18. Bert and Ernie have been getting questioned about their sexuality for years. Ernie himself, as performed by Steve Whitmire, has weighed in: “All that stuff about me and Bert? It’s not true. We’re both very happy, but we’re not gay,”

19. A few years later, Bert (as performed by Eric Jacobson) answered the same question by saying, “No, no. In fact, sometimes we are not even friends; he can be a pain in the neck.”

20. In the first season, both Superman and Batman appeared in short cartoons produced by Filmation. In one clip, Batman told Bert and Ernie to stop arguing and take turns choosing what’s on TV.

21. In another segment, Superman battled a giant chimp.

22. Telly was originally "Television Monster," a TV-obsessed Muppet whose eyes whirled around as he watched.

23. According to Sesame Workshop, Elmo is the only non-human to testify before Congress.

Photo of Elmo from 'Sesame Street'
iStock

24. He lobbied for more funding for music education, so that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play."

25. In the early 1990s, soon after Jim Henson’s passing, a rumor circulated that Ernie would be killed off in order to teach children about death, as they'd done with Mr. Hooper.

26. According to Snopes, the rumor may have spread thanks to New Hampshire college student Michael Tabor, who convinced his graduating class to wear “Save Ernie” beanies and sign a petition to persuade Sesame Workshop to let Ernie live.

27. By the time Tabor was corrected, the newspapers had already picked up the story.

28. Sesame Street’s executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente joined Sesame Workshop as a production assistant and has worked her way to the top.

29. Originally, Count von Count was more sinister. He could hypnotize and stun people.

30. According to Sesame Workshop, all Sesame Street's main Muppets have four fingers except Cookie Monster, who has five.

31. The episode with Mr. Hooper's funeral aired on Thanksgiving Day in 1983. That date was chosen because families were more likely to be together at that time, in case kids had questions or needed emotional support.

32. Mr. Hooper’s first name was Harold.

33. Big Bird sang "Bein' Green" at Jim Henson's memorial service.

34. As Mental Floss's Chris Higgins put it, the performance was "devastating."

35. Oscar's Israeli counterpart is Moishe Oofnik, whose last name means “grouch” in Hebrew.

36. Nigeria's version of Cookie Monster eats yams. His catchphrase: "ME WANT YAM!"

37. Sesame Street's Roosevelt Franklin ran a school, where he spoke in scat and taught about Africa. Some parents hated him, so in 1975 he got the boot, only to inspire Gob Bluth’s racist puppet Franklin on Arrested Development 28 years later.

38. Our good friend and contributor Eddie Deezen was the voice of Donnie Dodo in the 1985 classic Follow That Bird.

39. Cookie Monster evolved from The Wheel-Stealer—a snack-pilfering puppet Jim Henson created to promote Wheels, Crowns and Flutes in the 1960s.

40. This puppet later was seen eating a computer in an IBM training film and on The Ed Sullivan Show.

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2012.

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