The Wanderers is a 1979 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Philip Kaufman, starring Ken Wahl, John Friedrich, Karen Allen and Toni Kalem. Set in the Bronx in 1963, the film follows a gang of Italian-American teenagers known as the Wanderers and their ongoing power struggles with rival gangs such as the Del Bombers.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Richard Price; its screenplay was written by Philip Kaufman and his wife Rose. The film had a troubled development stage; after unsuccessfully trying to obtain finance for The Wanderers from Alberto Grimaldi, Kaufman directed other films. After filming the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Kaufman went to New York and successfully pitched The Wanderers to Martin Ransohoff. The film's budget is unknown, but Kaufman said it was relatively low.
After an advance screening, The Wanderers premiered on July 13, 1979, to mostly positive reviews. The film was a financial success, grossing $23 million at the worldwide box office. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 89 percent. Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle praised Kaufman's directing and the performances of Wahl and Tony Ganios.
The film's increasing popularity and cult status led to The Wanderers being given a theatrical re-release in the U.S. by Warner Bros. in 1996. According to Kaufman, "it took a long time for [the film] to find [an] audience".