Once Were Warriors

Directed by Lee Tamahori
Film Movement Classics
102 Minutes
New Zealand
English, Maori
Thriller, Romance, Drama, Classics

Maori couple Jake and Beth Heke are deeply in love, but Jake's alcoholic-fueled rage turns into domestic violence that threatens to tear their family apart. As their home life grows increasingly dangerous, Beth must do all she can to protect their three children. Set against the backdrop of traditional tribal culture, this classic and controversial 90's indie sleeper hit put New Zealand on the cinema map.

Director & Cast

  • Director: Lee Tamahori
  • Starring: Rena Owen
  • Starring: Temuera Morrison
  • Starring: Cliff Curtis




  • "It is powerful and chilling, and directed by Lee Tamahori with such narrative momentum that we are swept along in the enveloping tragedy of the family's life."
    Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
  • "A gut-grabber from New Zealand...that stays with you for days."
    Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
  • "The actors...deliver authoritative yet sympathetic performances that get at the roots, or rootlessness, of their characters."
    Rita Kempley, Washington Post