The Warriors (1955)

Errol Flynn, Joanne Dru, Peter Finch, Yvonne Furneaux,
During the fourteenth century when the Hundred Years War between France and England is beginning the English occupation of French Aquitainia, rebel French Knights vow to oust Edward, Prince of Wales, ruler of Aquitaine.
  • 5.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Daniel B. Ullman, Phil Park, Writer:
  • Henry Levin, Director:
  • Walter Mirisch, Producer:
3 / 10

So, it's the English versus the French. So why does everyone sound so British or like an Aussie?!

For many viewers, perhaps a history lesson is due in order to understand this picture better. When William of Normandy felt he had a claim to the English throne, he crossed the English Channel from his lands in modern day France and defeated the English king, Harold. From 1066 up through much of the 15th century, the English Kings controlled not just England but much of their ancestral land in France. By the 14th century, the kingdom of France was small and weak...and the English king was not making a claim that he also had a right to the rest of France! And so, over the next century the French and English fought a series of wars collectively termed The Hundred Years War. The English were the early winners and it looked as if they'd take all of France but eventually the French not only regained lost territory but all of France....huzzah!

This picture picks up partway through the Hundred Years War--when the English were clearly doing very well. After all, they'd captured the French king and forced him to cede them even more land. And, apparently, the theater audiences are supposed to root for the English and against the French--which is odd for two reasons. Folks in America had no stake in all this, so I can't see why American audiences would have cared for one side versus the other. Second, telling everyone apart is very difficult as EVERYONE has either an English accent or, with Errol Flynn in the lead, an Aussie/American accent. Because I had no dog in the battle, so to speak, I really didn't root for anyone though I know Errol (playing Prince Edward) was supposed to be the hero. And, rooting for no one makes the film tough to care about one way or the other.

As far as the plot goes, Compte De Ville (Cruella's brother) is fighting on despite a truce ordered by the captured French King. Having the very English Peter Finch play De Ville was a bit odd and I would have preferred Jacques Tati or Marcel Marceau (at least they were French). Errol Flynn is Prince Edward (also called The Black Prince) and he spends much of the film posing as a mercenary in the hire of De Ville. However, instead of trying to save his life or England, he seems to spend all his energy trying to save a dumb Englishwoman who walked into a trap. You know that eventually the woman will be rescued...but it's a long and circuitous route until they get there.

The film looks decent since they re-used costumes from "Ivanhoe", but the story itself was a bit dull despite the costumes and castles. Not a terrible film but one that really had me longing for Flynn's earlier (and better) movies...ones where he did more of the stunts and fighting instead of having him wear a helmet and having a stuntman do most everything. Of interest mostly to completists who insist on seeing all of the star's films (like me, actually)...or English folks. Otherwise easy to skip. My advice is to see "Ivanhoe", "The Adventures of Robin Hood" or "The Vikings"--all much more enjoyable and interesting sword epics.

4 / 10

He wasn't the "Black Prince" for nothing

Years ago I read a book on the Hundred Years War by an English historian named Desmond Siward. The author's premise was that there is indeed an English and a French interpretation of the conflict. The English see it as a great period of glory and conquest in their history. The French look on it as a century of agony for their people. Professor Siward came down pretty hard on his fellow countrymen and said the French version is far closer to the mark.

Case in point is Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Edward III of England and military genius bar none. He was in fact the architect and inspiration of their military victories at Crecy and Poitiers. Edward was also a pretty bloodthirsty guy who led a massacre at Limoges and also negotiated an alliance with the Castilian Ruler Pedro the Cruel. I'll let his name speak for itself.

The movie here has the English as liberators as Edward comes to the continent to enforce his father's claim on Aquitaine. In fact that had been part of the English crown through their descent from Eleanor of Aquitaine. In point of fact the Black Prince was there trying to enforce Dad's claim on the throne of France itself through his mother who was a daughter of the French king Philip IV the Fair. That was what the whole Hundred Years War was about, the English trying to conquer France, pure and simple.

An aged Errol Flynn who's dissipation is plainly showing is the Black Prince. He looks older than Michael Hordern who appears briefly as Edward III. I think Flynn may very well have been older than his "dad."

Joanne Dru plays Joan of Kent, widow of Sir John Holland and beloved of the Black Prince. The love story is one of the great medieval legends of Merrie Old England and maybe they should have made a film on just that. But Ms. Dru looks bored throughout. She was soooo much better in Red River, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, and All the King's Men.

Peter Finch plays the "villain" Count Robert DeVille, deputy of the Constable of France, DuGuesclin who waged a successful guerrilla war against the English although it wasn't called that then. Finch is a villain because he and other nobles won't accept a peace treaty with England that their King John has signed in captivity. How rude of them. Finch is the best one in this film and he could easily have been written as the hero.

This was the last of Errol Flynn's swashbucklers and he was clearly getting too old for believable swordplay.

6 / 10

Historical/action/adventure movie with Errol Flynn as valiant ¨Black Prince¨, Edward IV of England

It is set during the 14th century, in the Hundred-Year War . Edward IV (the pudgy Errol Flynn) served as the king's representative in Aquitaine , where he and his cousin Joan of Kent kept a court which was considered among the most fashionable of the time . It was the resort of exiled kings such as James IV of Majorca and Peter of Castile . Prince Edward of Wales is the son of King Edward III (Michael Hordern) of England and he also is the heir to the English throne . This moving film deals with the rebel French knights led by the nasty Count De Ville (Peter Finch) who resent his power in French Aquitain and scheme to kill Edward IV . Then , there takes place the Prince Edward's brave rescue of the widow Lady Joan (Joanne Dru) and his children from the clutches of the villainous count and his hoodlums .

Swashbuckling/historic movie with the old hero Errol Flynn who proves still some his feats , as fighting , batting , and sword-play against the evil enemies , but he buckles his way gallantly through this stirring actioner . Also the last Errol Flynn to see along with ¨Against all flags¨, ¨Master of Balantry¨ and ¨Crossed swords¨.

The picture is partially based on real events ; the true facts were the followings : The English army occupies French Aquitaine , but rebel French knights vow to continue the war and oust Prince Edward of Wales, English ruler of French Aquitaine . He served as the king's representative in Aquitaine, where he and Joan kept a court which was considered among the most fashionable of the time. It was the resort of exiled kings such as James IV of Majorca and Peter of Castile . Peter of Castile, thrust from his throne by his illegitimate brother Henry of Trastámara , offered Edward the lordship of Biscay in 1367, in return for the Black Prince's aid in recovering his throne. Edward was successful in the Battle of Nájera , in which he soundly defeated the combined French and Castilian forces led by Bertrand Du Guesclin. However Peter did not pay fully and refused to yield Vizcaya , alleging lack of consent of its states . Edward retreated to Guienne by July . Edward lived in a century of decline for the knightly ideal of chivalry . On one hand, after capturing John the Good, king of France, and Philip the Bold, his youngest son, at the Battle of Poitiers, he treated them with great respect — at one point he gave John permission to return home, and reportedly prayed with John at Canterbury Cathedral. Notably, he also allowed a day for preparations before the Battle of Poitiers so that the two sides could discuss the coming battle with one another, and so that the Cardinal Périgord could plead for peace. However, some argue "he may have been playing for time to complete preparation of his archers' positions . The Black Prince returned to England in January 1371 and died on 8 June 1376 , at 46th years old , after a long-lasting illness that was probably amoebic dysentery contracted ten years earlier while campaigning in Spain .

The motion picture shot in England was professionally directed by Henry Levin , though has some flaws and gaps . Levin began working as director assistant and dialogue expert and subsequently graduated to direction features , and turned out movies in just about every genre over the next decades ; shooting entertaining pictures but more and less completely familiar and derivative stories . His heyday was in the 1960s , when he turned out several bright , fun and frothy sex comedies , notably : Come fly with me (1963) and Honeymoon hotel (1964) . He made several adventure movies as Genghis Khan , The wonderful world of Grimm Brothers , The bandit of Sherwood forest , The return of Montecristo and his greatest success : Journey to center of earth . Although Levin's forte was light comedies , one of his most interesting films were two dark , brooding westerns The Lonely Man (1957) and Desperados , both of of them played by Jack Palance . He also made two hit thrillers : Matt Helm and The Ambushers . He finished his career piloting made-for-television movies, and died on the final day of shooting Scout's Honor (1980).

4 / 10

"Do we need an army to kill one man?"

Errol Flynn stars as the Duke of Aqualung (or something like that) in this boring costumer about the English protecting the French from the other French. Errol's seen better days and at this point Technicolor was not his friend. Joanne Dru plays Errol's love interest. The two don't have particularly strong chemistry but the lifeless script could douse the raging fire in anyone's loins. Peter Finch plays the heavy and does fine. He's very British and movies like this are best suited for Brits. It was a chore to get through for me but I'm trying to be fair and see what others might be seeing. I just don't think it's much fun. Even the action scenes are dull.

2 / 10

Watch an earlier one instead

You know those jokes they made about Errol Flynn when he got older? If you watch Adventures of Don Juan, you'll think those people were mean to say he couldn't get over playing Robin Hood. If you watch The Warriors, you'll still think they were mean, but you'll understand why Flynn got that reputation. So, don't watch The Warriors.

Unlike the other swashbucklers he made when he had a few miles on him, like Don Juan and Crossed Swords, this one isn't tongue-in-cheek. That little bit of sarcasm makes all the difference in the world. If actors prance around obvious sets in cheap costumes reciting lines from a lousy script and try to take themselves seriously, it's a lot different than if they do it with a twinkle in their eyes. This one's pretty sad to watch, so you're better off watching an earlier movie with the dashing swashbuckler.