The Warriors is a 1979 American cult action/thriller film directed by Walter Hill and based on Sol Yurick's 1965 novel of the same name. Like the novel, the film borrows elements from the Anabasis by Xenophon.
Cyrus (Hill), leader of the Gramercy Riffs, the most powerful gang in New York City, calls a midnight summit of all New York area gangs, requesting them to send nine unarmed delegates toVan Cortlandt Park. The Warriors, from Coney Island, are one such gang. Cyrus proposes the assembled crowd a permanent citywide truce that would allow the gangs to control the city. Most of the gangs laud his idea, but Luther (Kelly), leader of the Rogues, shoots Cyrus and frames the Warriors. The Warriors "warlord" Cleon (Wright) is beaten down by the Riffs who believe the Warriors are responsible for Cyrus' death. With Cleon missing and presumed dead, the other Warriors escape. The Riffs put out a hit on the Warriors through a radio DJ (Thigpen). Swan (Beck), the gang's "war chief", takes charge of the group and they head back to the subway.
Almost immediately, the Turnbull ACs attempt to run down the Warriors but they manage to escape and board the subway. On the ride to Coney Island, the train is stopped by a fire on the tracks, stranding the Warriors in Tremont, in the Bronx. Setting out on foot, they come across a gang called the Orphans who were not invited to Cyrus' meeting and who are sensitive regarding their low status in the city hierarchy. Swan makes peace with the Orphans leader, Sully (Greco), who agrees to let the Warriors through their territory peacefully. However, a woman named Mercy (Van Valkenburgh) mocks Sully as a "chicken" and instigates a confrontation, which the Warriors avoid by using a Molotov cocktail. Mercy decides to follow the Warriors.
When they arrive at the 96th Street and Broadway station in Manhattan, they are chased by police. Three of them make the train to Union Square, while Fox (Waites), struggling with a police officer, falls to the tracks and is run over by a train while Mercy escapes. Swan and the remaining three Warriors are chased into Riverside Park by the Baseball Furies where a fight ensues and the Warriors are victorious. After the fight, Ajax (Remar) notices a lone woman (Ruehl) in the park, becomes sexually aggressive and is arrested when the woman turns out to be an undercover police officer. Arriving at Union Square, Vermin (Michos), Cochise (Harris), and Rembrandt (Sánchez) are seduced by an all-female gang called the Lizzies. Back at their hangout, the Lizzies draw weapons, but the trio escape, learning in the process that everyone believes they killed Cyrus.
Having scouted ahead on his own, Swan returns to the 96th Street station, and finds Mercy there. More police show up and Swan and Mercy flee into the tunnel. They have an argument and Swan continues to Union Square where he reunites with the other Warriors. A fight ensues with the Punks but the Warriors defeat them. The Riffs are visited by a gang member who attended the earlier gathering and saw Luther firing the gun.
The Warriors finally arrive at Coney Island, but find the Rogues waiting for them. Swan challenges Luther to fight one-on-one, but the Rogue leader pulls his gun instead. Swan throws a knife into Luther's wrist, disarming him. The Riffs then arrive and apprehend the Rogues, but not before acknowledging the courage of the Warriors. The DJ announces that the big alert has been called off and salutes the Warriors with a song. Swan, Mercy, and the rest of the gang walk down the beach, illuminated by the sunrise.
- Michael Beck as Swan
- James Remar as Ajax
- Dorsey Wright as Cleon
- Brian Tyler as Snow
- David Harris as Cochise
- Tom McKitterick as Cowboy
- Thomas G. Waites as Fox
- Terry Michos as Vermin
- Marcelino Sánchez as Rembrandt
- Deborah Van Valkenburgh as Mercy
- David Patrick Kelly as Luther
- Lynne Thigpen as D.J.
- Ginny Ortiz as Candy Store Girl
- Mercedes Ruehl as Policewoman
- John Snyder as Gas Station Man
- Edward Sewer as Masai
- Paul Greco as Sully
- Roger Hill as Cyrus