The New York Times has reported that author Sol Yurick died on Saturday in New York City, at age 87. Cause of death was complications of lung cancer, according to his daughter, Susanna Yurick.
Mr Yurick is probably best-known for his 1965 novel The Warriors – inspired by an ancient Greek work written titled Anabasis, about the Greeks’ failed conquest of Persia around 400 B.C.
Yurick’s novel was updated and essentially recast, setting the story in New York, and centering it on a battle between a variety of street gangs, after one gang leader tries to bring all the gangs together against the cops. But Coney Island’s The Warriors are framed for his murder, as all the other gands and the cops, turn on them.
That 1965 novel became a feature-length film, 14 years later, in 1979, under the direction of Walter Hill.
The film, now a cult classic, was immediately popular with young audiences. It takes place in a violent, dystopian landscape, with running commentary by an unseen radio DJ, as the warriors confront rival gangs.
With an ensemble cast featuring performances from several black actors like Dorsey Wright and David Harris, it’s colorful, fast-moving and lean, embracing its own campiness, even as it takes it characters and their emotions very seriously.
A pulpy narrative, operatic cheesiness, yet surprisingly poetic images, it’s an enjoyable cult classic.
And for those who’ve never seen it, you should know that it’s currently streaming on Netlifx, so if you have an account there, you’re just a few clicks away from watching the film, which I recommend you do.