We breakdown the famous “Can You Dig It” sequence from Walter Hill’s The Warriors.
Imagine you’re at a family gathering. You might see your aunts, grandparents and even cousins. You’re catching-up with relatives you rarely see when suddenly your uncle comes bursting into the kitchen, yelling “CAN YOU DIGG IT?”. Well, this must have rung true for many of you because of the iconic status that 1979’s The Warrior directed Walter Hill has achieved. The Warrior follows a New York gang on their journey from The Bronx back to Coney Island. Along the way, rival gangs will try to capture and dispatch The Warriors. They’ve been framed for the murder of Cyrus, the local crime kingpin who wants to establish a truce among all the gangs of the state. The scene shows thousands of New York City gang members gathering at night to discuss Cyrus’ truce proposal. The scene may seem iconic, but there are many interesting facts and stories that have been told during production. This makes the scene even more impressive. The character of Cyrus, played by Roger Hill, was originally intended to be played by an actual NYC gang leader. The man met with the production team multiple times before filming to work on lines and to workshop the scene. The gang member was nowhere in sight when the shooting night finally arrived! Walter Hill had to replace him at the last moment with a professional actor. Roger Hill gave a flawless performance, so it was probably for the best. You may also have heard that most of the film was shot in guerilla fashion, with the production team having to continue shooting despite losing their permits to shoot in the city. The production received death threats during this time from local NYC gangs that were upset about not being included in the film. The production hired “The Mongrels”, an outfit from the locality, to protect the production vans and crew during scenes shot at the night (which was nearly all of them). The release of the film sparked some violence at its screenings, adding a layer of controversy to this already dicey movie. This scene will be remembered as one of the most iconic film scenes and lines. Click here to see more episodes of Scene Breakdown!