7.9/10
28,443
274 user 59 critic

Once Were Warriors (1994)

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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.

Director:

Lee Tamahori

Writers:

Riwia Brown, Alan Duff (novel)
Reviews
22 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rena Owen ... Beth Heke
Temuera Morrison ... Jake Heke
Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell ... Grace Heke
Julian Arahanga ... Nig Heke
Taungaroa Emile ... Boogie Heke
Rachael Morris Jr. Rachael Morris Jr. ... Polly Heke
Joseph Kairau ... Huata Heke
Cliff Curtis ... Bully
Pete Smith ... Dooley
George Henare ... Bennett
Mere Boynton Mere Boynton ... Mavis
Shannon Williams ... Toot
Calvin Tuteao ... Taka (Gang Leader)
Ray Bishop 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

FineLine

Country:

New Zealand

Language:

English | Maori | Spanish

Release Date:

3 March 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Alma dos Guerreiros See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,201,126
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

When Beth and friend are out looking for Grace in the car, its raining outside. When they go to a front shot of the car its not raining. See more »

Quotes

Beth Heke: Got your period bub? Bound to make you a bit uptight eh!
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

Featured 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 FADrurySee 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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