Known to be a difficult director with a history of conflicting with his actors (I don't care, he makes badass movies), Hill was a visionary who wrote his own material, as directors used to, and therefore was a perfectionist behind the camera.
Already credited with writing The Getaway and Alien, Hill had directed a few movies before then and had dropped out of directing Alien over other conflicts. On the set of The Warriors, tensions between Hill and actor Tom Waites led to Waites being fired. From there, everything quite drastically changed.
Like it matters. Even if things had gone according to plan, Hill's adaptation of Sol Yurick's bleak and grotesque 1960s street gang crime thriller already bore so little resemblance to the source material that, by comparison, Yurick's novel is the one left looking like a cheap ripoff. Just as the final film and original would-be film would have been two completely different animals, the final film and original novel most definitely are as well.
How It Would Have Gone, and What ChangedFrom the beginning, the Warriors travel from their digs on the Coney Island beach promenade by train all the way up to the Bronx to hear Gramercy Riffs leader Cyrus's proposal of a mass gang truce, followed by all-out war on law enforcement, the mafia, and big business. Because we got the streets, suckas!
Rogues leader Luther assassinates Cyrus, triggering a riot just as the cops arrive en masse to split up the gangs. In the chaos, Luther blames Warriors leader Cleon for Cyrus's murder, making him pay the lethal cost for the villain's dirty deed. Cyrus's surviving warlord Masai sends the word, and the chase is on: every gang in the city is after the Warriors, and every cop in the city is after anyone in gang colors. Thus begins the painstaking journey through the midnight underbelly of NYC from the Bronx back to Coney Island.
After the Warriors bop their way past a not-so-solid crew, the Orphans, picking up Mercy along the way, Fox makes it a priority to look after her. With growing chemistry, they become the not-so-lovely love interest of the film as Swan tries to lead the gang home safe. Fox and Mercy get cozy and the dynamic begins to shift from the unflappable warlord keeping the gang together, to the young and scared members ending up having to take care of themselves.
Why It Never HappenedDuring filming, Hill was getting stressed that there seemed no chemistry at all between Fox (Tom Waites) and Mercy (Deborah Van Valkenburgh). It wasn't working for the film, and after a fallout, Hill fired Waites and decided to make Mercy the skanky love interest of warlord Swan (Michael Beck). That is why, in the existing version, Fox is thrown under the wheels of a speeding train by a dirty-ass beat cop.
|"Here, remember him by this piece of poop..."|
What ChangedCochise isn't even in this scene in the movie. Instead, it's down to Swan and Snow to flank the Furies in Central Park after Cowboy is knocked out, leaving Ajax to show us just how badass he really is. Joining forces, they kick wholesale Fury ass to save Cowboy (Tom McKitterick) and head back to the station. Ajax (James Remar) is arrested along the way because he just can't turn down the offer of rough sex from an undercover female cop. This last part was meant to happen originally.
|"Aww thanks, you really think I look like Paul Stanley?"|
Only in the intended version, instead of finding Mercy, Swan is kidnapped by a savage gang called the Dingoes, notorious for their appreciation for nonconsensual anal sex.
Having already escaped to Union Square before the others, Rembrandt (the late Marcelino Sanchez), Vermin (Terry Michos), Fox, and Mercy are taken in by the Lizzies while they wait for the others to arrive. Bad news for them, instead of trying some girl-on-girl action with Mercy (because she really needs a wash), the chicks are packed, THE CHICKS ARE PACKED!!!
|"Whoa girl, I meant Phat. Fat with a Ph!"|
What ChangedVermin was originally meant to die, and with that in mind actor Terry Michos made it his goal to inject his character with humor to 1) to lighten the tone of the film and 2) get more screen time. Ultimately, however, Hill so liked what Michos did with Vermin, making the character so entertaining, that he decided not to kill him after all.
Isn't this turning out to be a nice story? Full of sunshine and sweetness?
|Dead, Arrested or Buttnapped.|
On your feet, Warriors! Although the Gramercy Riffs discovered that the Warriors had been betrayed by Luther (David Patrick Kelly), that grimy midget is now chasing them through the streets of Coney Island, clanging bottles together and waxing lyrical about coming out to plaaaaaay.
|"And IIIIIIEEEEIIII... will always... LOVE YOOOOOO-ohhhhh..."|
|"Bitch please, I am so coming out to PLAY-AYEEEE!"|
The way is clear, the Warriors are acquitted (although without receiving an apology for the wrongful murder of their warchief, Cleon), while Luther and his gang look on, awaiting death at the hands of about 50 really angry black men. The Warriors walk off into the sunrise, paying no attention to the fact that the only compensation they're getting out of this is a poor white boy song by wealthy ex-Eagle Joe Walsh.
Fox and Mercy probably go on to have skanky kids and become alcoholics while Swan goes on to need an inflatable rubber donut. Ajax too for that matter. But hey, we were never getting a sequel anyway.
|"Aaaarghhh, fuck me... Jellyfish!"|