Once Were Warriors (1994)

Once Were Warriors

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

This New Zealand drama offers a scathing examination of the violence, emptiness, and desperation inherent in the existence of many modern urban Maori families. The film chronicles the trials of a woman and her 16-year-old daughter, who provide the glue that holds the disintegrating Heke family together.

Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Riwia Brown
On DVD: Sep 2, 2003
Runtime:

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Cast


as Beth Heke

as Jake Heke

as Boogie Heke

as Huata Heke

as Dooley

as King Hitter

as Judge

as Taunter in Court

as Matawai

as Policeman

as Policewoman

as Prosecuting Officer

as Youth Advocate

as Taunter in Court

as Old Drunk

as Nig's Friend

as Nig's Girlfriend

as Joking Man Outside C...

as Karaoke Singer

as Party Guitarist

as Evicted Partygoer/Pu...

as Gang Rape Victim

as Bully's Girlfriend

as Core Gang Member

as Core Gang Member

as Core Gang Member

as Core Gang Member

as Core Gang Member

as Core Gang Member

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate

as Jake's Mate
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Once Were Warriors

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (13)

A gut-grabber from New Zealand ... that stays with you for days.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

As often happens when films are intent on getting a message across, Once Were Warriors can't stop itself from overdoing things.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The actors, many of them of European-Maori descent, are wonderful to look at. They also deliver authoritative yet sympathetic performances that get at the roots, or rootlessness, of their characters.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Reserve judgment until this raw, uncompromising working-class saga is over, and you might find yourself unforgettably moved -- and grateful for the experience.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

It is powerful and chilling, and directed by Lee Tamahori with such narrative momentum that we are swept along in the enveloping tragedy of the family's life.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Yet familiar as the pattern is ... the film holds because of the acting and because it functions as travelogue.

January 1, 2000
The New Republic
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Once Were Warriors

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

A powerful story of love, loss, violence and cultural awakenings. Not for the faint hearted, this film contains some of the most extreme scenes of domestic abuse I've witnessed. Compelling stuff!!!

Graham Willis
Graham Willis

Super Reviewer

I went for this one presuming it's a war movie. Little did I know that it was instead a social story of a family headed by a violent person. Anyway, as the credits started rolling in somewhat unusual way, I thought that this is gonna be some offbeat movie beyond my grasping abilities (somewhat is still left, honestly). Fortunately, it wasn't so. It was a simple story of a beautiful woman marrying a lower class, violent man and the disastrous consequences of her decision. It was a simple story of a woman's struggle to survive against all odds and who learns a lifetime lesson only after a dreadful tragedy. There was too much violence in the movie, but I can't say it was unnecessary. Hell, it was difficult to even merely look at the face of the lead actress after her husband beats her badly. I'm glad that I was able to sit through those painful scenes and it was well worth my time.

All in all, it's a brutally realistic tale told in an incredible way, thanks to the best efforts put in by those involved in the making of the film. Rena Owen was second to none in the role of tolerant wife, and Temuera Morrison was so natural as a violent asshole that you start hating his guts in no time.

imrealgod
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Once Were Warriors Quotes

– Submitted by Joshua G (21 months ago)

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