The Warriors – the best cult movie of 1979

In early 1979, I left the ABC cinema in South Woodford thrilled to bits. I’d watched an American movie called The Warriors in which a gang must return to their base in Coney Island having been wrongly framed for a murder. Every other gang in New York is after them. It’s the ultimate chase nightmare and at the time, freaked us out.

In the US, real gangs went to the cinemas cheering on particular fictional gangs on screen they’d decided to root for. There was a real fear that the movie would spark off gang warfare in the country’s already fragile cities. You have to remember that at the time, New York had gone financially bust and large parts of the inner suburbs were a wasteland.

The New Musical Express reported on the ‘year of the gang flick’ in the US and now it’s hard to believe the movie caused such a fuss. But it did. There was some outrage in the UK when our mild mannered film censor James Ferman decided to let the film go to cinema screens uncut. His view was that it was no worse than Clockwork Orange.

The Furies, the High Hats, the Grammercy Riffs, the Boppers and the Warriors. “Can you dig it?”

How the NME captured The Warriors
How the NME captured The Warriors

The movie Times Square – 1980

TimesYou know the kind of movie you’re ashamed to say you like and for some reason need to watch on DVD with the curtains drawn every three or four years – like Sliver or 13th Warrior for example.  Well, Times Square also fits the bill.  I mean, the story line is so arch that it’s hard to imagine how this got past the pitch stage.

Basically, two girls from a loony bin escape to New York though they are very different – one tomboy and one not – they form a punk band and start to enjoy success until the powers that be close in on them.

Bonkers film about bonkers people.  But the soundtrack, which I remember having at the time, included some classics including the lovely Patti Smith singing ‘Pissing in the River’ – which I adored.  Robert Stigwood was the brains behind it, having produced Saturday Night Fever which might explain the rather incongruous presence of a Bee Gees track in what’s otherwise a punk/new wave soundtrack for the movie.