The Wanderers

Dir: Philip Kaufman, 1979. Starring: Ken Wahl, John Friedrich, Karen Allen. Drama.

WanderersThat period in American history as the country moved from the Eisenhower conformism of the ‘50s to the freedom of the ‘60s has made for some wonderful films (American GraffitiBaby It’s You), even if they often prove to be overly wistful. The Philip Kaufman film The Wanderers, based on Richard Price’s great novel, captures this period perfectly. It takes place in 1963 and though these teenagers of the Bronx who are the film's subject do stop to watch some JFK assassination news, they have no idea that a cultural youth quake could soon open them up to a whole new world. Not since West Side Story had gang life been as romanticized as it was in the ‘70s with the T-Birds of GreaseThe WarriorsThe Hollywood Knights andThe Lords of Flatbush (only of note because of the presence of a pre-stardom Henry Winkler and Sylvester Stallone). Though perhaps now a cult film because of years of people discovering it on cable, The Wanderers really is a lost gem and the best of its genre.

In a newly integrated Bronx neighborhood, Ritchie (Ken Wahl, an actor who had the toothy good looks and acting chops to be a big star, but his personal life derailed his career) leads the Italian American gang the Wanderers. He’s a stud and has his sights on bohemian chick Nina (played by the adorable Karen Allen), ...

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Posted by:
Sean Sweeney
Aug 31, 2011 4:55pm
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