7.9/10
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273 user 54 critic

Once Were Warriors (1994)

R | | Crime, Drama | 3 March 1995 (USA)
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2:07 | Trailer

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A family descended from Maori warriors is bedeviled by a violent father and the societal problems of being treated as outcasts.

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Writers:

, (novel)
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Popularity
4,843 ( 200)
22 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Taungaroa Emile ...
Rachael Morris Jr. ...
Joseph Kairau ...
...
Bully
Pete Smith ...
Dooley
George Henare ...
Bennett
Mere Boynton ...
Shannon Williams ...
Calvin Tuteao ...
Taka (Gang Leader)
Ray Bishop ...
King Hitter (in pub)
...
Judge
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Storyline

Set in urban Auckland (New Zealand) this movie tells the story of the Heke family. Jake Heke is a violent man who beats his wife frequently when drunk, and yet obviously loves both her and his family. The movie follows a period of several weeks in the family's life showing Jake's frequent outburst of violence and the effect that this has on his family. The youngest son is in trouble with the police and may be put into a foster home while the elder son is about to join a street gang. Jake's daughter has her own serious problems which are a key element in the plot. Written by Chris Maslin <maslinc@cad.canterbury.ac.nz>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A family in crisis, a life in chaos... Nothing is more powerful than a mother's love. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and strong depiction of domestic abuse, including sexual violence and substance abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

3 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Alma dos Guerreiros  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,201,126 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was turned down by various potential backers and producers including the New Zealand Film Commission. A key turning point in getting the project off the ground was that Wellington playwright Riwia Brown rewrote Duff's original script and made it as much the story of Beth and her children as it is the story of Jake. Then director Tamahori knew he was onto a winner. Tanahori said "You couldn't have it be a story about a mindlessly violent thug. I was more fascinated by a story of a mother who makes efforts to rise above her circumstances and create a life for her children." See more »

Goofs

The swallow tattoo on Rena Owen's breast disappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

Jake Heke: Fuck woman you look awful, go clean yourself up.
Beth Heke: This is as cleaned up as I get you bastard.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Most of the opening credits are either split in half, scattered in different areas of the screen, abnormally shaped or used in small white print. Some are even mixed. See more »

Connections

References White Men Can't Jump (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Great New Zealand film!!!
26 September 2002 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

OWW is a truly great film. However I feel that people have missed one of the main ideas of the film. That is the fact domestic violence is truly horrifying. And it doesn't just happen in Maori families, it happens all over the world! I am Maori myself and first saw this film at the theatres with a mostly Maori audience. It was very well recieved. I was surprised to read the commentary by Glamwog when she said all of her Maori friends hate it. Oh and by the way not all Maori are as depicted in the movie!

If you haven't seen this film, do yourself a favour...watch it.


36 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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