It’s been 36 years since The Warriors made the rounds in theaters. Some of the cast members are heading to a reunion this Sunday at the Warriors Festival in Coney Island. In addition to reminiscing about old times together, they’ll probably talk about how fantastical the film seems now, because New York City now is nothing like it was in the ‘70s. When they filmed The Warriors on the city streets at night, those streets were anything but safe.
In the late Seventies, Paramount was notorious for being one of the toughest Hollywood studios to work for; they wanted their films made fast and cheap. To be a Warrior would mean running all night, every night, through the sweltering summer streets of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. It would mean showing up for work at six in the evening and not wrapping until the crew could see the sun rise over the East River. It would mean hopping subway turnstiles and enduring the taunts of the local street gangs. The line separating art and life would become blurred, the making of the film an adventure in and of itself.
"I was really going to put them through it out there," [director Walter] Hill remembers. "You never quite knew what you were going to run into."
The producers ended up paying various street gangs for enough peace to complete the movie. There were times when the young actors actually had to fight the locals, but some of them were pretty streetwise, having grown up in the same type of culture. And there were plenty of other challenges in bringing The Warriors to the big screen. The Village Voice talked to several actors and crew members about the experience, in an oral history of The Warriors. -via Metafilter
See also: A Documentary About The Real Life Gangs That Inspired The Warriors.