A warrior-assassin is forced to hide in a small town in the American Badlands after refusing a mission.
Walter Hill's hip, super-stylized action film unfurls in a dystopian near-future, when various gangs control New York City. Each gang sports a unique moniker ('The Warriors,' 'The Baseball Furies,' 'The Rogues'), with a costume underscoring its "theme"; each, in turn, is also responsible for one geographic area. Hill sets up the landscape as a massive, violent playground - replete with bridges, vacant subway tunnels, parks, abandoned buildings and the like, all ripe for exploration and adventure. As the tale opens, the titular Coney Island has traveled to the Bronx to attend a city-wide meeting of all gangs; at that event, however, the psychotic leader of a rival gang, The Rogues (David Patrick Kelly of Dreamscape) assassinates the head of the city's foremost gang, but The Warriors are pegged as culpable. This sends the gang fleeing through the labyrinthine city. With every thug in Manhattan in vicious, homicidal pursuit, they must also overcome all obstacles in their way.
Cyrus, the leader of the most powerful gang in New York City, the Gramercy Riffs, calls a midnight summit for all the area gangs, with all asked to send nine unarmed representatives for the conclave. A gang called The Warriors are blamed for killing Cyrus as he gives his speech. They now have to cross the territory of rivals in order to get to their own 'hood. The Warriors slowly cross the dangerous Bronx and Manhattan territories, narrowly escaping police and other gangs every step of the way.