7.9/10
28,524
276 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

Temuera Morrison said he found it hard to go back to his regular television role after doing this movie. He said that after finding all the pain and anger to play Jake the Muss, it was hard to let it go, and he wanted to swear and curse at all the nurses and patients in Shortland Street. 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

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

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

Connections

Referenced in Tromeo and Juliet (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Riveting & Emotionally Raw
17 March 2006 | by llytnSee all my reviews

I wasn't going to watch this movie when it came on but I couldn't turn the channel. This is a movie that makes you feel like you are there in the middle of it. If you have ever been in a relationship that is so violent like this one, you will relive it to the point of near panic when you know that moment that Jake will blow up.

This is absolutely one of the best films I've ever seen. This is the first time I have ever written down who the actors were so that I could check them out and see what else they were in. The group that Nig was in were the most frightening men I have ever seen. They make Hells Angels look pretty meek & mild.

I felt for the New Zealand natives. This film showed their pride and that the Warrior Spirit is not dead. And unfortunately shows the prejudices that still plague our world and morph into hatred and anger.

I was so impressed with the actors and didn't once think of them as acting. There were wonderful things happening and there were tragic things happening. The children's pain was real,the fathers rage was electric. My emotions were so raw that I found myself holding my breath in fear they would know I was watching!

Every once in awhile a great movie rolls along, and as usual, it rolls in quietly and unassuming and hits you like a lightening bolt! This is that one movie for me. Everyone should see this film!!!!!


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