The Wanderers

Director: Philip Kaufman
Screenwriters: Rose Kaufman, Richard Price

Institute History

  • 1993 Sundance Film Festival


The Wanderers begins with sex and the TV, two pervasive obsessions of American youth, in the Bronx in 1963 as well as now. Often described as a darker American Graffiti, the film traces the coming of age of a gang of Italian American teenagers and their girlfriends, especially focusing on the friendship between Richie (Ken Wahl) and Joey (John Friedrich).

To remain true to Richard Price's book, Kaufman assembled a cast of unknowns who really look like they grew up on city streets. But The Wanderers is far from a documentary. Like most Kaufman films, it is an eclectic mix of serious. comic. Ironic, satirical and tender moments all blended seamlessly together. Some sequences, like Richie and Joey being dramatically saved from the Fordham Baldies by Perry (Tony Ganios), actually have the feel of a comic book, and the Bronx by night is decidedly surreal, especially when the hapless Turkey (Alan Rosenberg! wanders into strange surroundings and suffers the consequences.

It is also a film about barriers and boundaries, real and superficial. The ethnic divisions between the gangs—black, Chinese, Italian disintegrate when the neighborhood is invaded by the dreaded Ducky 80ys; all band together. More crucial are the cultural and class differences that ultimately separate Richie from Nina (Karen Alien), the girl he loves.

Sunday. Jan 24 10:3O am
Holiday Village Cinema III


— Barbara Bannon

Screening Details

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