7.9/10
31,024
299 user 62 critic

Once Were Warriors (1994)

R | | Crime, Drama | 3 March 1995 (USA)
Trailer
2:08 | Trailer
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)
22 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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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:

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:

View content advisory »
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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 is being beaten by Jake at the start of the film she is thrown into a mirror which shatters completely. Later when the children are cleaning up the mess the mirror is back on the wall with only a few cracks. See more »

Quotes

Beth Heke: You did this to me you bastard! I hope you spew your guts out.
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 »

Soundtracks

Once Were Warriors (The Awakening)
Performed by Tama Renata
See more »

User Reviews

A True Pot of Emotions
6 August 2004 | by jasmin4lifeSee all my reviews

This movie is based on a modern day New Zealand family, dealing with near poverty and violence from all sides, including the often inebriated father.

The acting in this movie was just plain amazing. I was hooked from beginning to end, entranced with the wide range of feelings and emotions the movie evoked in me.

You will cry, laugh, sing, and rage right along with the characters, and you will find it hard not to restart the movie just to watch it again.

This is just one of the few movies that stayed with me all these years, since first seeing it back in 1995. I will never forget this movie, and if you watch it, I can guarantee that neither will you.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

Once Were Warriors See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,608,570

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,608,570
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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