7.9/10
31,134
302 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 »

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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 ... 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

In 2014 a '20 years after' documentary was made about the film, narrated by actor Julian Arahanga (who plays Nig in the movie), who is now a film maker based in Wellington NZ. See more »

Goofs

When Beth is serving Jake's dinner, she puts two boiled potatoes on the plate, then she dishes out some carrots. In the next shot, there are three potatoes on the plate and the carrots have vanished. See more »

Quotes

[about Boogie]
Beth Heke: He's gone! He's gone to welfare! And you slept through the whole bloody thing.
Jake Heke: Is that all? Is that what all this slamming of fucking doors, crying and carrying on is about?
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Tromeo and Juliet (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

Gut-wrenching
5 December 2003 | by TasTiggerSee all my reviews

This is one of the most powerful and realistic movies I have ever seen.

A true modern-day tragedy, this movie shows the negative aspects of one indigenous culture in today's society. This is a very important movie as it forces you to look at issues that some have to live with on a daily basis.

This movie literally left me feeling sick in the stomach. Particularly with the knowledge that there are families out there living through this. The performance by Temuera Morrison was incredible.


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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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