“The Wanderers” (1979) dir. Philip Kaufman

Philip Kaufman is one our most sorely underrated directors. He’s not held in the same light as other directors of the era like Martin Scorsese, but when Kaufman is good, he’s great. His 1978 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” remake is considered one of the best remakes of all-time. 1983’s “The Right Stuff” is rightly considered one of the greatest modern epics. 1988’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” is probably the best and classiest high-brow boner film of all time. And 1979’s “The Wanderers” may be Kaufman’s most beloved film.

The trailer here is pretty abysmal, but don’t let that dissuade you from seeing the film. It’s a darker, grittier “American Graffiti,” but also a lot of fun. And if you enjoy the movie be sure to read Richard Price’s novel that the movie was based on. Some people prefer the much darker novel to the film, but Price himself admitted “I love that picture. It’s not my book, and I don’t care. The spirit is right, and the way Phil Kaufman directed it showed me another way of looking at my own book.”

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