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Warriors Coney Island Festival organizer muses on the cult classic

It's two weeks before The Warriors Coney Island Festival and, in between fielding phone calls about tickets at all hours of the night and interviewing key cast and crew members of the film, event organizer Eric Nyenhuis still found time to sit down and watch the cult classic.

"I had it on the other night. And I should be sick of it by now!" he said.

AmNewYork caught up with Nyenhuis in advance of the festival, which takes place Sunday in Coney Island.

When did you first see the film?

In '79, when I was 12. I was mesmerized by it. My uncle snuck me in, because my mother wouldn't let me see it. I had been going to New York around that age, going to CBGB matinees. . . . The tourists in New York were given a survival guide. And one thing on it was "Stay off the subways." At 12 years old, I didn't know what was out there. My only knowledge of gangs were the Jets and the Sharks.

Why do you think this film still has such a following 36 years after its debut?

It's lightning in a bottle. Everything just worked. . . . And very rarely do you see casts get along so well. They love each other. And I think that translates to the fans. And a lot of that positive energy translates to the screen. There's a great energy behind it.

If you had to join one of the film's gangs, to whom would you pledge allegiance?

Oh, I'd be in the Warriors. Michael Beck [who played Swan, the central character in the film] called me the "11th Warrior" the other day.

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