70 user 51 critic

The Wanderers (1979)

R | | Drama | 4 July 1979 (USA)
2:18 | Trailer

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Set against the urban jungle of 1963 New York's gangland subculture, this coming of age teenage movie is set around the Italian gang the Wanderers. Slight comedy, slight High School angst ... See full summary »


Philip Kaufman


Richard Price (novel), Rose Kaufman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Wahl ... Richie
John Friedrich ... Joey
Karen Allen ... Nina
Toni Kalem ... Despie Galasso
Alan Rosenberg ... Turkey
Jim Youngs ... Buddy
Tony Ganios ... Perry
Linda Manz ... Peewee
William Andrews ... Emilio
Erland van Lidth ... Terror (as Erland Van Lidth De Jeude)
Val Avery ... Mr. Sharp
Dolph Sweet ... Chubby Galasso
Michael Wright ... Clinton
Burtt Harris Burtt Harris ... Marine Recruiter
Samm-Art Williams Samm-Art Williams ... Roger


Set against the urban jungle of 1963 New York's gangland subculture, this coming of age teenage movie is set around the Italian gang the Wanderers. Slight comedy, slight High School angst and every bit entertaining with its classic 1950's Rock n' Roll soundtrack such as "Walk Like a Man", "Big Girls Don't Cry" by The Four Seasons and "My Boyfriend's Back" by The Angels. Focusing around a football game where the different gangs play with and against each other, then at its grand finale, come together in a mass of union to defend their honour and their turf. Nostalgic stuff and above all a Rock n' Roll retrospective on a grand musical era. Timeless. Written by Cinema_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's 1963. Meet the Fordham Baldies. They thought they were the hottest guys in town. See more »




R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 July 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wanderers See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,937, 18 November 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$11,827, 2 December 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The football game sequence was shot in three days. See more »


Perry and his friends are driving after Nina, when they get lost and are found to be in the place of the Ducky Boys. After that, Perry goes out from his car to fight with them, when one of the Ducky Boys hit him with a baseball club until it breaks up. When the same guy is seen again in a different scenery, the baseball club is back to normal. See more »


Joey: Hey I told you, if we're going to be hanging out you've got to promise not to be an asshole.
See more »


References The Hustler (1961) See more »


Performed by The Chantays
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
Written by Bob Spickard (uncredited) and Brian Carman (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Great cult movie about coming of age in a street gang in The Bronx
16 July 2011 | by nathanschubachSee all my reviews

I was delightfully surprised with this film. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but I watched it after it was mentioned by "The Warriors" director Walter Hill because he had some worries that his film and The Wanderers would be coming into theaters around the same time, and he described them as two street-gang movies competing for box office sales. As much as the seniors in this movie had a "gang," the two movies were far different from each other, I feel.

The Wanderers is a strange movie. At moments, intensely serious fighting and interpersonal problems exist amongst these teens in the community, and then in other scenes, the moments couldn't have been lighter (ie. Playing strip poker with a couple of the girls at a party). It reminded me more of "Porky's" and the relationships between characters in that film. The cast was an excellent ensemble, and even though most of them went on to other acting work, I'm surprised I haven't seen them in more roles.

Watching the movie now is a little difficult due to political correctness and the way the movie tried to cut the racial tension with a knife. The movie has real guts by laying it out there for the audience to get uncomfortable by. The truly surreal moments involve a whole different gang that shows up a few different times during the movie; they don't seem to resemble a different neighborhood and its residents but more like zombies, and it was very difficult to take them seriously without understanding their true intentions and characters. In contrast, I really enjoyed The Baldies, the neighborhood skinhead gang that didn't seem to take life too seriously, which differentiates itself between the skinhead stereotype of white supremacists which most skinheads get labeled as.

Overall, I really want to buy this movie after watching it. It reminds me of a movie that tried to get remade in the same style, "Dueces Wild." The characters were playful yet had real problems. The music is classic 60's tunes from the era, with a handful of originally scored pieces for the surreal fighting scenes. I feel that its good enough for a few more watches, but there are some odd choices for included scenes that I didn't feel fit the movie too well. Definitely check it out if you like gang movies like The Outsiders or The Warriors.

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