The New York City Filming Locations of The Warriors – Part 1

The Warriors never set foot in the Bronx.

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This might come as a surprise, seeing as how the movie revolves around a New York City gang trying to make their way from the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park to Brooklyn’s Coney Island, but filming only took place in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. However, authenticity aside, The Warriors captured nighttime New York in a way that very few movies had previously, using some insanely brilliant and memorable locations.

Let’s see how many we can find.

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As the credits roll, we’re treated to the POV from a rushing subway train zipping through various New York City subway stations.

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This was shot along the A-C line in Brooklyn. You can make out the Nostrand Ave (above) and Franklin Ave stations among others (these shots are actually repeated several times during the credits).

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The Warriors are headed up to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx for a meeting of all of New York City’s gangs. Based in Coney Island, the gang naturally boards the D-train at the Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue station, which underwent a major renovation in 2004/05.

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As the credits continue, we’re treated to several shots of (sadly) unidentifiable subway stations with increasingly defunct elements. For example, the old entry gates…

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…and wooden turnstyles (there’s something so cute about the fact that this gang politely buys tokens for each member):

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As the movie begins, the Warriors have arrived at the Conclave, scripted as the Bronx’s Van Cortland Park, but actually shot in Riverside Park in Manhattan, just north of 96th Street:

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If you visit in person, you might be surprised to find that the park doesn’t seem as big as it does in the movie:

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However, this was the perfect location to set the Conclave, as the park’s many tiers (some built for the film) filled with people create the illusion of a much larger space:

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A wall was built around the northern side of the park…

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…which is good, because otherwise you’d see the very cute Dinosaur Playground just behind all the tough gang members!

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As Cyrus tries to convince the gangs to unite, we’re treated to a few shots of the gathered ruffians, including the very evil Luther, seated on the ground:

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Here’s another bunch perched in front of the park’s distinctive arches:

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But trouble is brewing as the police quietly approach.

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These gates can be found at the top of the arched structure (for you drivers, that’s the 96th Street on-ramp to the West Side Highway just beyond):

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More police officers arrive…

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…pulling up at the park’s main gates:

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Luther shoots Cyrus, then blames The Warriors. Chaos breaks out, and soon, everyone is running (by the way, is that a camera guy on the right side of the frame??):

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Falsely accused, the Warriors flee for their lives.

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More fleeing gang members:

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The Warriors exit the Conclave via the false wall at the northern end of the park (just to their left is Dinosaur Playground):

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The Warriors seek refuge in a nearby cemetery, which would be Woodlawn if they were actually in the Bronx:

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However, this was actually shot in Evergreen Cemetery, in the Cypress Hills section of Brooklyn:

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It’s very easy to find the Warriors’ shooting location: as you enter the Conway Street entrance, just follow the road to the right, and you’ll quickly see some of the distinctive graves above just off the road.

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I’m actually amazed at how many actual graves were allowed to be featured in the film. Nowadays, you often have to provide your own graves if they’re going to get such significant screen time.

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Ditto the fact that they let an actor climb on an actual grave…

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But man, what a fantastic use of existing statuary:

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Here’s the full grave, belonging to the Yunker family:

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Seeing the subway station in the distance, the Warriors head out:

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We’re given a few shots of New York’s eerily empty streets. I wasn’t able to identify this first one, which is killing me because the buildings are so distinctive. Anyone know?

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The next one is the passageway beneath Riverside Drive at West 96th Street, just south of The Conclave park:

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And finally, a street with distinctive elevated tracks. This was shot under the J train at the corner of Broadway and Truxton Street, just outside Evergreen Cemetery, which we’ll return to in a minute.

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The Warriors bolt from the cemetery, passing through a tunnel. Check out that “Al” graffiti…

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It’s still there!! Special thanks to reader Amir for pointing this out.

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The Warriors turn right and run up a hill on the other side:

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This awesome tunnel can be found at the corner of Cooke Court and Stewart Street in Brooklyn, another example of a totally unique yet very iconic New York location:

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The Warriors descend onto Broadway and scope out the el train staircase across the street, their one hope for returning to Coney Island:

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It took me a LOT of trips up and down Broadway before I realized the reason I couldn’t find this staircase: it doesn’t exist anymore:

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This entrance to the Eastern Parkway stop (now Broadway Junction) was located at the corner of Conway Street and Broadway. You can just see the Carbone Memorials building behind it, a gravestone manufacturer:

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As rival gangs patrol the area, a glimpse in the opposite direction reveals the current slanted entrance to the station in the distance:

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As the Warriors run for the stop, a rival gang begins racing them down:

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The Warriors hurry down Broadway toward the subway entrance:

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There used to be a ton of exposed cobblestones at this end of Broadway, which have since been paved over:

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The Warriors book it into the old Eastern Parkway station…

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…which today is boarded up, as it’s no longer in use:

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So take a look – this doesn’t exist anymore:

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CLICK HERE FOR PART 2!

-SCOUT


View The Warriors Filming Locations Map in a larger map

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35 comments

  1. The opening sequence, with the subway corridor and oldschool turnstyles? 7th avenue in Brooklyn, F train stop. I was a kid, and we went to watch them film.

    • THANK YOU!! This is exactly the sort of comment I hope to get when these locations are otherwise unidentifiable. I’ll update as soon as I can get down to 7th Ave…

  2. The scene where they are stuck on the train when a building is burning was at Myrtle/Broadway on the (J) line. I believe the neighborhood where they ran into the Orphans was Bushwick because when they run to the subway with Mercy it is the Wilson Ave stop on the (L) train.

    I know the final scene on the beach was filmed on Breezy Point/Fort Tilden.

  3. What’s with the CSI in the park? Or is it just fence painters being very careful?

  4. I love these reads. May I suggest you do one for a similar movie, The Wanderers. Being a Bronx native and resident, this is one of my favorites and it’s filmed almost entirely in my borough!

  5. This is fun! Thanks for all the effort you put into this. I really look forward to seeing these posts!

  6. Hi. Just want to say thank you for this. I’m a Location Manager in UK and have visited New York and tried to find the route they took…with little success. I made it to Coney Island, not knowing the real location. I am currently looking into moving to LA to work as a Loc. Man. How is the industry in NY at the moment?
    Weirdly, I was sent a link to your page over a year ago and this morning I found it in my favourites list but the link wouldn’t work…then I found The Warriors article on a friends Facebook page this afternoon. Fate.

  7. Great website. Warriors was/is my favourite film of all time. I am from the UK, but travel to USA quite often. I dragged my wife down to Coney to see the Wonder Wheel. Also (non film related) sampled Nathans hot dogs….back later this year. Might go to Riverside park to take some pictures.

  8. Well done – another thoughtful peak into the past. Thanks! rm

  9. Great work! Thank you very much for your job.

  10. That was just awesome! It brings me back to NYC when I was a kid. It’s great to see how many of these places survive and find a new context in the changing city. It’s super-fun to test myself against you, too. I’m continually surprised not only by how many I get right, but how many I’m sure of that it turns out are something entirely different.

  11. I love these then and now movies write-ups. It’s amazing what has survived over the years! I wonder if there is anything left in that boarded up Eastern Parkway station.

  12. Nice work! Do you know offhand if that part of Riverside Park was also used for the big song in The Wiz? It looks the same, but my memory is hazy — I can’t remember if it was all shot in Flushing-Meadows.

  13. One of the most amazing things for me about this whole recap is how many of the original locations exist as they were.
    Of those, the most amazing one for me is the tunnel in Brooklyn, at the corner of Cooke and Stewart.

    I don’t know if you missed it, but in the film, the exit of the tunnel is tagged with the letters “AL”. In your image of the tunnel today, I swear I see those letters still faintly showing through.

    It blows my mind. What is it 40 years since the film was shot?

    A.

  14. Nice to see how AL’s name is partially still on the wall.

  15. While citywide conclaves might have been a bit extreme, many years ago it wasn’t unheard-of for different gangs to have occasional meetings or other communications with one another. For example, if a gang got wind of an upcoming police crackdown, it might pass along that information to other gangs. As gangs generally “owned” particular blocks they weren’t really in competition with one another.

    Inter-gang cooperation pretty much disappeared once gangs became involved in the drug trade in the 1960’s.

  16. I can’t help but notice how gritty NY looked in the film. Even more so when compared to today’s photos. Was there really graffiti and such all over the place(like movies depict)? Or did the crew create the graffiti for the film?

    • All the graffiti on the subways in this movie were done not in relation to the movie with exception of the graffiti done by the Warriors in the movie. “Iz The Wiz” the all time king of subway graffiti name appears a few times in this movie. Along with many other well known writers from the era.

  17. This is amazing work. I wonder if someone could do this for coming to america.

  18. Thank you for a very enjoyable read. I always knew the scenes were filmed under the J line in Brooklyn but I was never exactly sure at which location. I always assumed it was closer to Myrtle Ave. The entire subway scene shots are filmed on R27-30 Subway BMT cars. None of which can go outdoors on any Bronx train lines. This model car is to wide to fit on IRT(Numbered train lines).The only (BMT/IND) letter line train in the Bronx(The D & CC back then) is underground.

    Also the scene in 96st is filmed on the old Aqueduct platform of Hoyt & Schemerhorn. They covered the signs over with 96st but still it has the distinct IND station tiling. Many NYC subway shots are filmed in this location. One can see these unused platforms when standing on this station.

  19. .^^^Ah see that was a pt2 & pt3 to this and that you covered Hoyt & Schemerhorn.

  20. Oh, Scout, I am so happy you did this project! I love this film with a passion. I remember how excited I was to learn, in retrospect, that Lynn Thigpen was the DJ–I think when I first saw her face I recognized her lips and jaw immediately.

    This may be one of the most ’70s of NYC films. What a treat this is. Now I want to go watch it again…

  21. Tremendous job. I know that in the 1978-79 a german outfit filmed a gang called the “Sex Boys” and they put some episodes on You tube. Your excellent posting made me feel vindicated because I pointed out some of the movie’s discrepancies.

  22. Great info Great site! I am a Brooklyn Boy thru and thru… and a warriors fan. That last scene always bothered me cause I knew it was not Coney… there are no dunes in coney like in the movie… Breezy makes more sense. Also that scene had to be filmed in mid to late September I recognize the beach grass flowering yellow… happens only in the fall… depending on temperature also the end scene is filmed at sunset… shadows give that away!

  23. I am also curious about the empty street with those distinctive brownstones where the baseball furies come up from swinging their bats. it looks like it might be in the former hell’s kitchen on the west side of Manhattan or maybe Brooklyn, it’s hard to tell since there are brownstones like that all over the city.

  24. Never been to New York and have not seen the movie since it first came out but do I remember that Sean Penn was in the movie? I remember the line “Warriors…come out and play!” Loved it can’t wait for part 2. Love your pictures and stories!!

  25. “Iā€™m actually amazed at how many actual graves were allowed to be featured in the film.”

    If you watch close, you see shLarman & shEarman name on :
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/scoutingny/8750960695/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/scoutingny/8752074548/

    same thing, beElamy & beLlamy name on:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/scoutingny/8752082210/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/scoutingny/8752074394/

    My mistake, or…? ;-)

  26. Also, when they exit the subway at 96th St, it’s actually 72nd (which was Needle Park at the time). They then swing around, and you see them in front of Gray’s Papaya, which was there now and still exists. They run down 71st st and then–b/c of camera editing/cuts–they are on a wider street headed towards Riverside Park (probably the 90s).

  27. Hi,

    Wow, I love those locations in our city. Actually most of locations are looks very similarity but very famous and has good impact in film industry. i Love it and waiting part2. Film shooting today become a passion of live, Regards

  28. I was an extra in the Riverside Park scene; as a matter of fact, as an actor new to NY, it was my first paid “acting” job. I didn’t get one of those cool weird gang uniforms, as I got hired last minute and was told to come wearing jeans and a t-shirt; I would be part of the gang contingent known as “The Irregulars.” Ha! I remember that hearing the actor (I don’t know his name) do the “Can you DIG IT?” speech was amusing to me. To my ears he sounded like a Shakespearean actor—not some guy from the street.
    I believe my pay for the evening was to be about thirty bucks, though I never made it all the way through to the end of the shoot. I split about halfway through during our food break (everybody was supposed to get a “box lunch”) because I was TERRIFIED. Virtually all the other young people around me—to my eyes, at least—looked like the real thing: gang members and not actors. I actually saw some roughhousing when the camera stopped rolling, including a few knives flashing around. As I tried to leave via an exit point, I was blocked by a crew member who told me I couldn’t leave. For a second, I felt trapped. Then he said: “You won’t get paid!” I told him the hell with it and ran past him.
    As I rode the subway back to my $35/week hotel room in Times Square, I felt cheated. My first acting job, and I didn’t even get to finish it.

  29. At Van Cortlandt House Museum we just had visitors from England who were looking for the location of the playground where the rumble took place. The man had pulled up Scouting NY to show us the photo and we couldn’t identify where it was in the park. We pulled up Scouting New York only to read that, although the action was set in The Bronx, no filming took place in the borough let alone Van Cortlandt Park. He could have saved himself a lot of time and a long subway ride had he read your awesome website closer.

  30. Whew they ran from the Lizzies, it was on 49st, between 9th and 10th Avenue. Across the street from the High School. I was playing basketball that night at the high school and they asked me to stop fora minute so they could film the escape scene. Great movie!

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