One of the first things I recall about Pauline Kael's rave review of The Warriors, which may have been the first Kael piece I ever read, was her allusion to the then-recent Saturday Night Fever at the start of the article. I don't have a copy and it's not available online so far as I can tell, but the gist of Kael's review was that the working class young protagonists of Saturday Night Fever seemed quite rough-edged and downtrodden at the time of its release in 1977, but that The Warriors was eye-opening because its characters were even lower on the socioeconomic scale.
Watching Saturday Night Fever again for the first time in several years, I most enjoyed the invaluable mid-'70s Brooklyn footage contained throughout the film. Here's a New York movie that mostly stays out of Manhattan, although it does have several iconic shots of the lower Manhattan skyline, and shows audiences a part of the city rarely depicted on film. This focus on the outer boroughs is one of the things I also love about The Warriors, which confuses things somewhat by substituting Brooklyn and Manhattan locations in some scenes that are supposed to take place in the Bronx.
Two of my favorite moments from Saturday Night Fever and The Warriors are the long subway journeys that come near the end of each film. In each film, the subway serves as a venue for the characters to rest after a long, arduous evening and also reflect upon what came before.
I'm sure it was coincidental, but I was struck by the visual similarities between John Travolta's Tony and the surviving Warriors on the graffiti-filled subway, from their weary expressions to the eye bruises that Travolta and Michael Beck's Swan share.
Check out Jeremy's tribute to the opening credits of Saturday Night Fever at Moon in the Gutter, which inspired me to pull out my DVD.