Monday, February 2, 2009

The Wanderers (1979) R - 4 Stars

Great all time classic coming of age movie, between boys, girls and the gangs on the streets of the Bronx in 1963. The music score alone make The Wanderers one of those movies you should see at least once in your life time. The 60's are probably one of my favorite nostalgia eras growing up. The simpleness and togetherness of the nation and the impact that was felt when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, will never be forgotten. Back then, even the gangs took a break, after the assassination, to take a better look at their own human spirit. Sort of a clash between "West Side Story", with a lot less drama and "Happy Days" with the Fonz. Great acting and a big thumbs up.

The movie focuses on 5 young teenage Italian-American boys involved with their gang "The Wanderers" and their ongoing clashes with their rival gangs the "Fordham Baldies" and the "Wongs" and "Bombers". The Baldies, at over 50 strong, have started taking over the streets and have shaved their heads bald, not to be known as skin heads but when fighting, hair won't be in the way. One of the members of the Wanderers, Joey (John Friedrich) , shaves his head to try and fit in with both gangs.

When two of the boys Richie (Ken Wahl) and Joey are cornered by the Baldies, Perry (Tony Ganios) at 6'5", appears as a out of nowhere and the Baldies back down. Perry has just moved into the neighborhood, and the Wanderers are happy to show him the ropes while inviting his strength into their gang. As the rivalries grow, the gangs are all called out to finally settle the score once and for all. As they show up to take each other on, the "The Ducky Boys", (a real life gang of that time period, known as killers) arrive and the teens unite, black, Asian, white and bald, to take them on.

GTO Films Ltd, Orion Pictures
Director: Philip Kaufman
Writers: Philip Kaufman, Rose Kaufman
Producer: Martin Ransohoff
I viewed 1/09

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