7.9/10
25,740
273 user 54 critic

Once Were Warriors (1994)

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

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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

Director:

Writers:

, (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
4,929 ( 166)
22 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

This sequel to the New Zealand-set drama "Once Were Warriors" revisits alcoholic Maori man Jake Heke (Temuera Morrison) and his wife, Beth (Rena Owen), who have separated, largely due to ... See full summary »

Director: Ian Mune
Stars: Temuera Morrison, Rudolph Alford, Julian Arahanga
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A group of skinheads become alarmed at the way their neighbourhood is changing.

Director: Geoffrey Wright
Stars: Russell Crowe, Daniel Pollock, Jacqueline McKenzie
The Patriarch (2016)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

From the author of "The Whale Rider", a tale of family rivalry and reconciliation, set against the stunning backdrop of rural New Zealand in the 1960's.

Director: Lee Tamahori
Stars: Temuera Morrison, Akuhata Keefe, Nancy Brunning
Lone Star (1996)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When the skeleton of his murdered predecessor is found, Sheriff Sam Deeds unearths many other long-buried secrets in his Texas border town.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peña, Stephen Mendillo
Smoke (1995)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A Brooklyn smoke shop is the center of neighborhood activity, and the stories of its customers.

Directors: Wayne Wang, Paul Auster
Stars: Harvey Keitel, William Hurt, Giancarlo Esposito
Babylon 5: The Gathering (TV Movie 1993)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The opening of a crucial space station is put in jeopardy when the commanding officer is accused of the attempted murder of a diplomat.

Director: Richard Compton
Stars: Michael O'Hare, Tamlyn Tomita, Jerry Doyle
Boy I (2010)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Set on the east coast of New Zealand in 1984, Boy, an 11-year-old kid and devout Michael Jackson fan, gets a chance to know his father, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years ago.

Director: Taika Waititi
Stars: James Rolleston, Taika Waititi, Moerangi Tihore
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

"What if someone had an absurd dream and the visions ran out in the street?" a scientist asks Rose, a researcher who discovers a way to engender beneficial dreams (to produce contented, ... See full summary »

Director: Václav Vorlícek
Stars: Dana Medrická, Jirí Sovák, Olga Schoberová
Drama | Romance | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A perfect red-colored violin inspires passion, making its way through three centuries over several owners and countries, eventually ending up at an auction where it may find a new owner.

Director: François Girard
Stars: Carlo Cecchi, Jean-Luc Bideau, Christoph Koncz
Chopper (2000)
Biography | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Chopper tells the intense story of Mark "Chopper" Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his autobiography while serving a jail sentence in prison. His book, "From the Inside", upon which the film is based, was a best-seller.

Director: Andrew Dominik
Stars: Eric Bana, Simon Lyndon, David Field
Crooked Earth (2001)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Forces of tradition and tribal pride collide with government authority.

Director: Sam Pillsbury
Stars: Temuera Morrison, Jaime Passier-Armstrong, Lawrence Makoare
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is a underprivileged white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Phyllis Logan
Edit

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
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Actor Cliff Curtis initially refused the role of Uncle Bully as he found the character so repulsive, but his agent and his auntie persuaded him to do it. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Mavis: You know the rules - keep your mouth shut and your legs open!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Followed by What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Just like to clear up some misconceptions.
22 August 2003 | by (Christchurch, New Zealand.) – See all my reviews

I've been reading the comments that people have made on this brilliant piece of film making that makes me proud to be a kiwi. Although I'm not Maori, I have somewhat of an understanding of, and a very deep appreciation for Maori culture. It is after all a major contributor to the uniqueness of New Zealand, and it's what a lot of the tourists come here to see/experience.

Some people have commented that the character of Beth is "descended from Maori royalty" and that the character of Jake is "descended from slaves". That's not quite correct. Although there is a Maori monarch; (Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the current Maori queen lives at the Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia, her official residence.) the Maori monarchy only goes back to the 19th century, and its not really representative of all Maori as it only really affects Waikato iwi/hapu, (tribe/sub tribe) It is more likely that Beth would be descended from chiefly linage, and hence she and her whanau, (extended family) would be very much aware of and in tune with their whakapapa or ancestry. Beth's line near the end of the movie that her people "once were warriors" is an indicator of this.

(The facial and body tattoos, or Moko that one sometimes sees Maori wearing are in fact representative of their whakapapa. Also, the carvings that feature on Marae and other carved Maori buildings/gates etc are representative of tribal ancestors, much like Indian Totem poles.)

Jake on the other hand is obviously urbanized. He would most probably know little or nothing about his whakapapa, and in addition he probably would not even be able to identify with an iwi or hapu. This would explain why he makes several references to "Maori bulls***". He is disenfranchised from his culture, and probably doesn't even speak Maori that well. (Although Temurera Morrison himself speaks fluent Maori.) His family have obviously been living in Auckland for so long, and there has been such tribal intermingling, that he doesn't know whether he's Arthur or Martha. And what's more, he doesn't care either.

(For those of you who are interested, the motorway shown at the start of the movie is the Southern Motorway which runs right through South Auckland, which is where *a lot* of Maoris and Pacific Islanders live.)

As other people have said, this kind of thing is sadly not unique to Maori, as American/Canadian Indians and Australian Aborigines can testify. Likewise domestic violence itself is not only limited to minority ethnic groups.

This is easily one of the best movies that I have ever seen. So if you haven't had the privilege of seeing it yet, then I highly recommend that you do so. George Henare's stirring Taiaha scene alone is well worth the cost of getting the movie out.

(A Taiaha is a Maori spear. To use one of these, one must have immense mana, or importance. As Henare's character said, the British *feared* the highly skilled Taiaha warriors.)


70 of 82 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
eggs women!! wanted-doa
Other New Zealand movies? kleptomanie2009
fans explain... makkhinho
Name of song sang in Maori at house party? NOT 'here is my heart' submerged99
Song played during the closing credits? elfmanNW
Finally watched this - I'm a Kiwi myself viilqi
Discuss Once Were Warriors (1994) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?