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Once Were Warriors (1994)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  3 March 1995 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 23,618 users  
Reviews: 269 user | 50 critic

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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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)
Ian Mune ...
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:

Her only chance for the future is to embrace the power of her past. 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Once Were Warriors was voted, in a local online poll in 2014, the best New Zealand film of all time, ahead of Boy, Whale Rider and Goodbye Pork Pie. See more »

Goofs

After driving some considerable distance in a hire car on their way to visit Boogie, Jake Heke and his family pull up at a local pub, in which we see some of his friends, such as Bully. See more »

Quotes

Toot: [Leaning over Grace's open coffin] Friends forever G.
[Gives Grace a gentle kiss]
Toot: That's all I ever meant, honest. But you're right, I'm just a stupid kid who lives in an old wreck of a car!
Boogie: She loved you Man, she loved you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the ending credits start, a giant 'END' covers the screen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Die Another Day: From Script to Screen (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

A Powerful Depiction of a Family Coming Apart
21 November 2003 | by (Bow, NH) – See all my reviews

There are films where you can see extensive carnage and it doesn't move you. This is a film where you see a man hit his wife and it hits you in the gut like you're being hit yourself. An excellent depiction of the impact of anger and violence on the members of a poor family. In this case, they happen to be Maoris living in New Zealand. The father dominates the family because he is so powerless in the other facets of his life. He's addicted to boozing and carousing and the only way he can really express himself is with his fists. The wife fights back, but can be beaten into submission. But she's also allowed herself to be seduced by the boozy lifestyle and fears responsibility. The center of the family is the oldest daughter (13), who is really the only one who can communicate with all the other members. The boys are either lost in life or lost in their own rage. The youngest daughter is simply too small and clings to her sister. It takes a tragedy to allow some of these individuals to reach out for each other and try to re-create a form of family life. A very powerful film, not for the faint of heart.


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