Once Were Warriors

Once Were Warriors


The hard-hitting New Zealand classic about a violent and troubled family in South Auckland, based on Alan Duff's novel. Directed by Lee Tamahori and featuring a towering performance from Temuera Morrison as Jake the Muss.... More

Jake and Beth (Rena Owen) Heke have been married for 18 years and have five kids. While the love is there, Jake is a terrifying man who frequently fights at the pub and in the home. The film follows several weeks in the Otara family's life, showing Jake's alcoholism and its destructive effect, as well as the indomitable spirit of Beth.

Once Were Warriors became the highest ever grossing NZ movie at the domestic box office, until it was overtaken by Roger Donaldson's The World's Fastest Indian in 2005.Hide

On Demand, DVD & Blu-Ray

Available from 3 providers

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 1 ratings, 2 reviews
Reviewed & Rated by
Your rating & review
Rate / Review this movie

The Press Reviews

94% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • As often happens when films are intent on getting a message across, Once Were Warriors can't stop itself from overdoing things. Full Review

  • Powerful and chilling... directed by Lee Tamahori with such narrative momentum that we are swept along in the enveloping tragedy of the family's life. Full Review

  • In his visceral first feature, Tamahori offers social realism with a savage kick, depicting Maori New Zealanders whose ties to their own history have been destroyed. Full Review

  • The barren lives of members of an urban Maori family are rigorously exposed in this rugged and painful picture... one of the best to emerge from New Zealand in quite a while. Full Review