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The Origin Of The Warriors' Iconic "Come Out To Play" Line

Easily the most iconic line from The Warriors is the villain's menacing "Warriors, come out to play!" and here's the origin story behind the taunt. Prior to The Warriors, Walter Hill was best known for his screenplays like The Getaway or directing classic thriller The Driver. While The Warriors was somewhat controversial for supposedly glorifying gang violence, it was also a huge success that made Hill a household name. Later Walter Hill movies include 48 HRs, Southern Comfort, Trespass and many more.

The Warriors was based on the novel of the same name and follows the titular gang, who attend a summit held by an influential gang leader named Cyrus. Said leader is gunned down while giving a speech, with the Warriors framed for the deed. They then have to travel from the Bronx to Coney Island while being pursued by just about every other gang in the city, who are seeking vengeance. The movie's lean pace, great characters and music saw it become a word of mouth smash, and it's now considered a cult favorite.

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A remake of The Warriors is currently in development. The original movie is filled with famous quotes, including Cyrus' "Can you dig it?" or Ajax's colorful suggestion for using a baseball bat to turn an opponent into a popsicle. Probably the most iconic line from The Warriors comes near the end, where the gang has finally made it back to Coney Island. The movie's villain Luther pursues them, and taunts them with "Warriors, come out to play!" while tapping mini-beer bottles together with his fingers. The combination of actor David Patrick Kelly's increasingly frantic delivery and the tapping of the bottles makes it an unforgettable moment, but the origin of the "Warriors, come out to play!" line came from Kelly himself.

According to Hill, the way the scene was scripted wasn't working, so the director was challenged to come up with something in the moment. For this scene in gang classic The Warriors, Kelly was inspired by his background in Broadway and a creepy neighbor he knew while living in downtown New York, who used to taunt him by calling his name is in a "sing songy" way (via Book & Film Globe). At the time, small bottles of beer were also in vogue and littered the location, so Kelly improvised "Warriors, come out to play!" pretty much on the spot.

Luther's "Warriors, come out to play!" is the most quoted line from The Warriors, and has been referenced in the likes of The Simpsons and Luke Cage. Kelly would go on to appear in memorable roles in Twin Peaks and Commando and reunited with Hill on the likes of 48 HRs and Last Man Standing, starring Bruce Willis.

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