Blu-ray, DVD Release: Once Were Warriors

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Sept. 6, 2016
Price: DVD $22.99, Blu-ray $29.99
Studio: Film Movement


The 1994 New Zealand drama Once Were Warriors bracing portrayal of domestic violence made it nothing short of a phenomenon when it was released in its native country some 22 years ago.

oncewerewarriors1Directed by Lee Tamahori (The Devil’s Double) and adapted from Alan Duff’s bestselling novel, the film is a harrowing depiction of a Maori family’s struggle for survival. Jake Heke (Temuera Morrison, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena) lives with his family in a tenement house for native Maori in the slums of Auckland. Despite his love and devotion, Jake’s battle with alcoholism frequently results in terrifyingly erratic outbursts in front of his children and violent beatings of his wife Beth (Rena Owen, The Last Witch Hunter). After Jake loses his job, each member of the Heke family is forced to face their own personal demons and the societal constraints that shackle native New Zealanders.

Once Were Warriors received several awards from around the world: the Audience Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Best Foreign Film by the Australian Film Institute, the Best Actress Award at the San Diego International Film Festival, and recognition at the Venice and the Fantasporto Film Festivals.

The new DVD and Blu-ray will include a behind-the-scenes featurette; the film’s original theatrical trailer; and an essay by Peter Calder of the New Zealand Herald.

Buy or Rent Once Were Warriors
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.