The Wanderers


1h 53m 1979
The Wanderers

Brief Synopsis

Adapted from Richard Price's novel, THE WANDERERS is a coming-of-age story about five members of an Italian-American street gang in the Bronx in 1963. A soundtrack of classic doo-wop establishes the time and place, but it's a time that is about to change, and a place that is about to disappear. Set on the eve of the Kennedy assassination, the eponymous gang lives through a dizzying succession of racial, cultural and generational conflicts marking the end of an age of innocence, as the greaser paradigm of the 1950s encounters the first angry folk-rock notes of the 1960s.

Film Details

Also Known As
Wanderers
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Adaptation
Comedy
Drama
Period
Release Date
1979
Distribution Company
KINO LORBER/ORION PICTURES

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.66 : 1

Synopsis

The Wanderers are five high-school boys who have formed an Italian-American street gang in the Bronx in 1963. Their teenage years are marked by the Kennedy assassination and various experiences caused by racial, cultural and generational conflicts, as the age of the greaser and doo-wop is about to be eclipsed by folk-rock and the counter-culture movements of the 1960s. Based on the novel "The Wanderers."

Crew

Neal Adams

Art Department

Linda Artuso

Technical Advisor

Johann Sebastian Bach

Music

Burt Bacharach

Music

Bill Barney

Sound

Nat Boxer

Sound

Brian Carman

Song

Fred Caruso

Associate Producer

Fred Caruso

Unit Production Manager

Joseph Catracciolo

Props

Michael Chapman

Director Of Photography

Bob Crewe

Song

Susan Danzig

Production Coordinator

Hal David

Theme Lyrics

Robert De Mora

Costume Designer

Dion

Song Performer

Dion

Song

Luther Dixon

Song

Placido Domingo

Song Performer

Lee Dorsey

Song

Lee Dorsey

Song Performer

Jim Dunkey

Music

Bob Dylan

Song Performer

Bob Dylan

Song

Laurie B Eichengreen

Assistant Director

W Ewing

Song

Robert Feldman

Song

Nancy Forner

Production Assistant

John Friedrich

Song Performer

Tony Ganios

Song Performer

Bob Gaudio

Song

Sidney Gecker

Script Supervisor

Edward Gold

Camera Operator

Louis Goldman

Photography

Gerald Goldstein

Song

Berry Gordy

Song

Richard Gottehrer

Song

Florence Green

Song

Alan Hopkins

Assistant Director

Philip Kaufman

Screenplay

Rose Kaufman

Screenplay

Lilly Kilvert

Consultant

Ben E. King

Song Performer

Ben E. King

Song

Jerry Leiber

Song

Phil Leto

Hair

Calvin Lewis

Song

Victor Livingston

Production Assistant

Vic Magnotta

Stunt Coordinator

Ernest Maresca

Song

Mel Martin

Music

Steve Maslow

Sound

Norman Mau

Production Assistant

Cynthia Maurizio

Assistant Editor

Kyle Mccarthy

Production Assistant

Craig Mckay

Editing

Jay Moore

Art Director

Warren Morrill

Costume Supervisor

Amy Ness

Production Assistant

E Newson

Song

Bob O'bradovich

Makeup

Stuart H Pappe

Editor

Bruce Patterson

Production Assistant

Terri Peppi

Song Performer

Richard Price

Source Material (From Novel)

Ed Quinn

Key Grip

Martin Ransohoff

Producer

Chuck Rio

Song

M C Robinson

Song

William Robinson Jr.

Song

Ronald Roose

Editor

Scott Rudin

Casting

Tex Rudloff

Sound

Phill Sawyer

Music

Sam Shaw

Sound Effects

Margery Simkin

Casting

Bob Spickard

Song

Richard R St Johns

Executive Producer

Mike Stoller

Song

David Streit

Location Manager

Lawrence Tan

Advisor

The Isley Brothers

Song

The Isley Brothers

Song Performer

The Shirelles

Song Performer

Rachel Ticotin

Production Assistant

Thomas Tonery

Set Decorator

Richard A Ventre

Art Department

Ken Wahl

Song Performer

Chuck Ward

Other

B Williams

Song

Jim Younger

Song

Videos

Movie Clip

Wanderers, The (1979) -- (Movie Clip) Bunch Of Neanderthal Retardos After director Philip Kaufman’s credit, The Bronx 1963, Joey (John Friedrich) hopes to stop fellow Wanderer Turkey (Alan Rosenberg) from joining the Fordham Baldies (a real street gang of the day), and we meet PeeWee (Linda Manz), Terror (Erland van Lidth), Toni Kalem as Despie beneath Ken Wahl as Richie, and Jim Youngs as Buddy, in The Wanderers, 1979.
Wanderers, The (1979) -- (Movie Clip) Just The Dirty Parts Molesting women for sport in The Bronx, 1963, Ken Wahl as Richie, semi-leader of the title-gang, takes a run in their crudely named game at Karen Allen, in her first scene, as Nina, supported by John Friedrich as Joey, with Tony Ganios as big Perry and Jim Youngs as Buddy, in director Philip Kaufman’s The Wanderers, 1979.
Wanderers, The (1979) -- (Movie Clip) I Seen This In My Favorite Movie In a Bronx bowling alley, 1963, Richard Price, author of the underlying book, is the hustler in the necktie, John Califano his accomplice, Ken Wahl and John Friedrich representing the title gang, Dolph Sweet as Chubby, overseeing the wager and his own goons, in director Philip Kaufman’s The Wanderers, 1979.
Wanderers, The (1979) -- (Movie Clip) All Men Are Created Equal Fluid work by director Philip Kaufman and cinematographer Michael Chapman, title-gang member Joey (John Friedrich) arrives at school in The Bronx with Perry (Tony Ganios), his new neighbor from New Jersey, meeting fellow members Richie (Ken Wahl) and Turkey (Alan Rosenberg) in the class led by Mr. Sharp (Val Avery), in The Wanderers, 1979.

Film Details

Also Known As
Wanderers
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Adaptation
Comedy
Drama
Period
Release Date
1979
Distribution Company
KINO LORBER/ORION PICTURES

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.66 : 1

Articles

The Wanderers -


Richard Price drew from his high school experience for his first novel, a collection of vignettes about life in his Bronx neighborhood in 1962 and 1963. Published in 1974, The Wanderers is named for the Italian-American gang that the main characters belong to but it's less a gang novel than a remembrance, a coming-of-age portrait of guys in a macho culture on the cusp of becoming adults and the futures available to them in a world that is giving way to the changes of the 1960s. The novel was quickly bought up by Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. and Price was hired to write the screen adaptation; but he was unable to translate the book's episodic nature into a narrative feature and the project languished.

Filmmaker Philip Kaufman was introduced to the novel by his then-14-year-old son, who insisted that it would make a great film. Kaufman was a little older than Price and grew up in Chicago but he recognized the culture of boys joining gangs (which Kaufman describes as really more like clubs than the modern conception of violent criminal gangs) and proclaiming their allegiances with colorful jackets. He optioned the book and his wife, Rose Kaufman, wrote the first draft, which was shopped around the studios. In the years it took to land a production deal (the studios had no faith in "teenage movies," according to Kaufman), he kept rewriting and refining the film with Rose, until Orion Pictures took on the project. It went into production quickly and he shot it back-to-back with his remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).

Kaufman chose to cast unknowns and non-actors as his teenage characters. Ken Wahl was a pizza delivery driver when he was invited to audition for one of the supporting roles. Kaufman was so impressed that he cast him as the handsome Richie, the closest that the gang has to a leader. Tony Ganios, who played the hulking Perry, was found by calling around gyms looking for a "six-foot, four inch, 18-year-old kid" and Erland Van Lidth De Jeude, who plays the enormous leader of the Fordham Baldies, was a wrestling champion and an engineering graduate of M.I.T. Linda Manz, who had just finished shooting Days of Heaven (1978) for Terrence Malick, was still an unknown (the film wasn't released until later) but made such an impression during her audition that the part of Peewee was created for her. Only a couple of young performers came to the film with significant acting experience, notably Toni Kalem, who had a few TV and Off-Broadway credits to her name when she was cast as Richie's girlfriend Despie, and Alan Rosenberg, who attended the Yale School of Drama and was cast as Turkey. Rosenberg went on to an impressive career, including roles on TV's L.A. Law and Chicago Hope and serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild.

With a relatively low budget and short shooting schedule, Kaufman prepared for the production by scouting Bronx locations with members of the cast and engaging them in improvisations in the weeks leading up to principal photography. Kaufman wanted to be historically accurate but also create a stylized vision of life in 1963 Bronx as seen by a teenager in high school. He worked with his Body Snatchers cinematographer Michael Chapman to create a vivid, colorful palette for the street scenes that gives way to the dingy reality of their oppressive apartments and broken family lives. For the scene when the Wanderers first meet the feared Ducky Boys, a gang of Irish-Americans notorious for their ruthlessness, Kaufman and Chapman recreated the atmosphere of Body Snatchers to suggest a mythic, larger than life quality. The gangs featured in the novel and the films--the Wanderers, the Del-Bombers, the Fordham Baldies, the Wongs and the Ducky Boys--were real gangs in Richard Price's neighborhood and members of the real-life Baldies even showed up to watch the shoot.

Philip and Rose Kaufman took liberties with the novel, removing some characters and adding others, and they pushed the setting up a year to 1963 to situate them at a moment of social change and upheaval, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. One of the most memorable additions, featuring Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin" at Folk City in Greenwich Village, was made possible thanks to Kaufman's friendship with Dylan, who rarely licensed his music to movies. There is no equivalent scene in the novel but it was important to Kaufman, who wanted to suggest the cultural revolution leaving these Bronx kids behind. Despite the changes, author Richard Price praised the film: "I love that picture. It's not my book, and I don't care. The spirit is right, and the way Phil Kaufman directed it showed me another way of looking at my own book." Kaufman also gave Price a cameo in the film: he's one of the men bankrolling the bowling alley hustlers.

Coming after the violence spawned by screenings of The Warriors, theaters were reluctant to book another "gang" film and it suffered mixed reviews and spotty distribution, but it was a hit overseas and built a fan base over the years from TV and repertory showings. In 1982, a Wanderers fan club formed in Telluride, Colorado and reunited at every Telluride Film Festival in their jackets to watch the film at a special screening, and in 1996 it received a brief rerelease.

In 2016, Kino Lorber remastered the film for theatrical rerelease (where it played in more theaters than its original run, according to Price) and a subsequent special edition DVD and Blu-ray release, which included a slightly longer "preview cut" featuring five minutes of additional footage cut from the release version.

Sources:
Philip Kaufman, Annette Insdorf. Univ. of Illinois Press, 2012.
Cult Movies III: 50 More Hits of the Reel Thing, Danny Peary.
""The Wanderers" Comes Home at Last", Michael Sragow. The New Yorker, July 16, 2012.
"Wanderers Forever - Live Q&A at NYC's Film Forum," Karen Allen, Toni Kalem, Tony Ganios and Richard Price, moderated by Bruce Goldstein, December 4, 2016. Kino Lorber Home Video, 2017.
"The Wanderers Q&A at LA's Cinefamily," Philip Kaufman, Alan Rosenberg and Peter Kaufman, moderated by Hadrian Belove, November 17, 2016. Kino Lorber Home Video, 2017.
"Audio Q&A at Film Forum," Philip Kaufman, moderated by Bruce Goldstein, December 19, 2016. Kino Lorber Home Video, 2017.
"Audio Q&A at Film Forum," Richard Price, moderated by Brian Rose, December 5, 2016. Kino Lorber Home Video, 2017.
AFI Catalog of Feature Films
IMDb

By Sean Axmaker
The Wanderers -

The Wanderers -

Richard Price drew from his high school experience for his first novel, a collection of vignettes about life in his Bronx neighborhood in 1962 and 1963. Published in 1974, The Wanderers is named for the Italian-American gang that the main characters belong to but it's less a gang novel than a remembrance, a coming-of-age portrait of guys in a macho culture on the cusp of becoming adults and the futures available to them in a world that is giving way to the changes of the 1960s. The novel was quickly bought up by Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. and Price was hired to write the screen adaptation; but he was unable to translate the book's episodic nature into a narrative feature and the project languished. Filmmaker Philip Kaufman was introduced to the novel by his then-14-year-old son, who insisted that it would make a great film. Kaufman was a little older than Price and grew up in Chicago but he recognized the culture of boys joining gangs (which Kaufman describes as really more like clubs than the modern conception of violent criminal gangs) and proclaiming their allegiances with colorful jackets. He optioned the book and his wife, Rose Kaufman, wrote the first draft, which was shopped around the studios. In the years it took to land a production deal (the studios had no faith in "teenage movies," according to Kaufman), he kept rewriting and refining the film with Rose, until Orion Pictures took on the project. It went into production quickly and he shot it back-to-back with his remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). Kaufman chose to cast unknowns and non-actors as his teenage characters. Ken Wahl was a pizza delivery driver when he was invited to audition for one of the supporting roles. Kaufman was so impressed that he cast him as the handsome Richie, the closest that the gang has to a leader. Tony Ganios, who played the hulking Perry, was found by calling around gyms looking for a "six-foot, four inch, 18-year-old kid" and Erland Van Lidth De Jeude, who plays the enormous leader of the Fordham Baldies, was a wrestling champion and an engineering graduate of M.I.T. Linda Manz, who had just finished shooting Days of Heaven (1978) for Terrence Malick, was still an unknown (the film wasn't released until later) but made such an impression during her audition that the part of Peewee was created for her. Only a couple of young performers came to the film with significant acting experience, notably Toni Kalem, who had a few TV and Off-Broadway credits to her name when she was cast as Richie's girlfriend Despie, and Alan Rosenberg, who attended the Yale School of Drama and was cast as Turkey. Rosenberg went on to an impressive career, including roles on TV's L.A. Law and Chicago Hope and serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild. With a relatively low budget and short shooting schedule, Kaufman prepared for the production by scouting Bronx locations with members of the cast and engaging them in improvisations in the weeks leading up to principal photography. Kaufman wanted to be historically accurate but also create a stylized vision of life in 1963 Bronx as seen by a teenager in high school. He worked with his Body Snatchers cinematographer Michael Chapman to create a vivid, colorful palette for the street scenes that gives way to the dingy reality of their oppressive apartments and broken family lives. For the scene when the Wanderers first meet the feared Ducky Boys, a gang of Irish-Americans notorious for their ruthlessness, Kaufman and Chapman recreated the atmosphere of Body Snatchers to suggest a mythic, larger than life quality. The gangs featured in the novel and the films--the Wanderers, the Del-Bombers, the Fordham Baldies, the Wongs and the Ducky Boys--were real gangs in Richard Price's neighborhood and members of the real-life Baldies even showed up to watch the shoot. Philip and Rose Kaufman took liberties with the novel, removing some characters and adding others, and they pushed the setting up a year to 1963 to situate them at a moment of social change and upheaval, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. One of the most memorable additions, featuring Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin" at Folk City in Greenwich Village, was made possible thanks to Kaufman's friendship with Dylan, who rarely licensed his music to movies. There is no equivalent scene in the novel but it was important to Kaufman, who wanted to suggest the cultural revolution leaving these Bronx kids behind. Despite the changes, author Richard Price praised the film: "I love that picture. It's not my book, and I don't care. The spirit is right, and the way Phil Kaufman directed it showed me another way of looking at my own book." Kaufman also gave Price a cameo in the film: he's one of the men bankrolling the bowling alley hustlers. Coming after the violence spawned by screenings of The Warriors, theaters were reluctant to book another "gang" film and it suffered mixed reviews and spotty distribution, but it was a hit overseas and built a fan base over the years from TV and repertory showings. In 1982, a Wanderers fan club formed in Telluride, Colorado and reunited at every Telluride Film Festival in their jackets to watch the film at a special screening, and in 1996 it received a brief rerelease. In 2016, Kino Lorber remastered the film for theatrical rerelease (where it played in more theaters than its original run, according to Price) and a subsequent special edition DVD and Blu-ray release, which included a slightly longer "preview cut" featuring five minutes of additional footage cut from the release version. Sources: Philip Kaufman, Annette Insdorf. Univ. of Illinois Press, 2012. Cult Movies III: 50 More Hits of the Reel Thing, Danny Peary. ""The Wanderers" Comes Home at Last", Michael Sragow. The New Yorker, July 16, 2012. "Wanderers Forever - Live Q&A at NYC's Film Forum," Karen Allen, Toni Kalem, Tony Ganios and Richard Price, moderated by Bruce Goldstein, December 4, 2016. Kino Lorber Home Video, 2017. "The Wanderers Q&A at LA's Cinefamily," Philip Kaufman, Alan Rosenberg and Peter Kaufman, moderated by Hadrian Belove, November 17, 2016. Kino Lorber Home Video, 2017. "Audio Q&A at Film Forum," Philip Kaufman, moderated by Bruce Goldstein, December 19, 2016. Kino Lorber Home Video, 2017. "Audio Q&A at Film Forum," Richard Price, moderated by Brian Rose, December 5, 2016. Kino Lorber Home Video, 2017. AFI Catalog of Feature Films IMDb By Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Gotta go, but if you ever need us just whistle loud and we'll be there.
- Joey
Who wrote this?
- Mr. Sharp
You did, sir.
- Class
It's a shame to see kids beatin' each other's brains out, especially when there's no financial advantage.
- Chubby Galasso
Twenty seven guys with the last name 'Wong' all know Jujitsu and kill you with one judo chop.
- Joey
I saw that one in my favorite movie. Did you ever see 'The Hustler'? Good enough for Paul Newman, good enough for you!
- Chubby Galasso

Trivia

The gangs whose names are introduced early in the film (including The Wanderers) were based on real street gangs in the New York City area. However, they did not all exist at the same point in time. Many of the Wanderers did actually belong to a local football team, named "The Stingers".

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer July 1979

Re-released in United States November 10, 2016

Released in United States Summer July 1979

Re-released in United States November 10, 2016

Released in United States October 2000

Released in United States October 2000 (Shown at AFI Fest 2000: The American Film Institute Los Angeles International Film Festival (Philip Kaufman Retrospective) October 19-26, 2000.)