The year 1979 saw an epidemic of American street-gang films, including Phil Kaufman's hit period drama The Wanderers
. Set in the Bronx in 1963, the film concerns the titular gang of Italian-American teens and their ongoing power struggle with the rival "Fordham Baldies." Richard Price, upon whose novel this film was based, drew from his own experiences to weave his tale. Essentially a series of anecdotes-some tension-filled, some amusing -- The Wanderers
climaxes on the occasion of the J.F.K.
assassination, which for Price and hundreds and thousands of his aimless contemporaries served as a wake-up call. Viewed from the vantage point of the 1990s, one would wish that the current
street gangs be shocked into adulthood with such suddenness (though not through the same tragic means). Ken Wahl
, Karen Allen
, and Linda Manz
are among the standout performers in this richly detailed period piece.