Warriors of the Year 2072

Warriors of the Year 2072 (Italian: I Guerrieri dell'anno 2072), also known as The New Gladiators, is a 1984 Italian science fiction film directed by Lucio Fulci. The film is set in the 21st century, where Romans have found a new way to handle criminals: by having them fight each other like gladiators on motorcycles on national television. The film was based on a trend of Italian cinema to develop stories of futuristic barbarians after the popularity of the films Mad Max and Escape from New York.

Warriors of the Year 2072
Directed byLucio Fulci
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Elisa Briganti
  • Dardano Sacchetti[1]
Music byRiz Ortolani[1]
CinematographyGiuseppe Pinori[1]
Edited byVincenzo Tomassi[1]
Regency Productions[1]
Distributed byTitanus
Release date
  • 28 January 1984 (1984-01-28) (Italy)


In the year 2072, set in a dystopia Rome, Italy, WBS TV's chief of programming, Cortez (Claudio Cassinelli), is fuming at the constituently high ratings enjoyed by a rival American TV show, 'Kill-Bike'. The show has features gladiatorial fights to the death on motorcycles, and has made a hero of a man called Drake (Jared Martin) the unbeaten champion. Cortez is all the more bitter because it was he who discovered Drake in the first place. WBS's current answer to the American show is 'The Danger Game', a simulation game showing the hallucinations of a contestant experiencing the approach of violent death. Fear, panic, and screaming at the extremely realistic simulations triggers a further increase in the intensity. Unfortunately for the station, even this spectacle fails to compete against the American show.

Cortez and his two female assistants, Sybil (Penny Brown) and Sarah (Eleonora Brigliadori) receive a video message from the mysterious station boss, Sam, demanding that they recreate the formula of gladiatorial contest and set them back to where they began: in the Coliseum. Sam orders the WBS station, a sort-of flying saucer controlled by a computer system called Junior, to fly over there and initiate training of the future contestants who will be chosen from the Death Rows around the world. Meanwhile, Drake has been imprisoned for the murder of three men who killed his wife Susan (Valerie Jones) after they broke into his house, and he (conveniently for WBS) is now under the sentence of death for taking the law in his own hands.

Drake is brought to the training compound and a detector strip is seared into his wrist. There, he has to contend with the sadistic Chief of the Praetorian Guard, Raven (Howard Ross), and the hostility of the other future contestants. Some of them are introduced; Abdul (Fred Williamson) is an African-American Muslim extremist; Akira (Haruiko Yamanouchi) is a notorious Japanese serial killer; Kirk (Al Cliver) is a German-born robber/killer; and Tango (Tony Sanders) is a Latin American terrorist. Drake also meets an old friend of his from his WBS days, a deformed employee with a fiber optic eye called Monk (Donald O'Brien), who offers Drake some reassurance.

The next day, Drake is strapped into a 'hate stimulator' device, designed to measure the point when man can be provoked into murder. Despite the best efforts of the machine, which creates holographic images of his wife's killers taunting him, Drake does not crack. Cortez's assistant, Sarah, is perturbed by this and becomes attracted to the prisoner. Drake soon earns the respect of the other prisoners after facing off in a battle of wits with the vicious Raven, who is impotent to actually harm the prisoners because of the upcoming TV show. Sarah meets and befriends Drake and shows him videotape evidence she has discovered that proves he was set up for his wives murder merely to get him on the show. A strangely powerful microprocessor smuggled in by Monk facilities an escape attempt. When it fails, footage of Drake and the other prisoners in their escape attempt turns up immediately on the TV news. Who is the mystery cameraman? Raven is given limited access to torture the prisoners with electric shocks. But the harrowing experience bonds the principle gladiators even more. Meanwhile, Cortez is becoming more enraged by Sarah's investigation of Drake.

The following evening, Sarah visits Professor Towman (Cosimo Cinieri), the inventor of Junior, the WBS computer system, looking for a way to gain access to the restricted files. The professor has become a mystic and talks about his invention's soul. Professor Towman gives Sarah a pass-chip to access the computer when he is suddenly murdered by an unseen assailant. Sarah gives chase and sees that the killer is Sybil. But before Sarah can try to capture Sybil, she too is shot and killed by an unseen assailant.

Meanwhile, the WBS Gladiator Contest commences, with each contesting racing around the modified arena in modified motorcycle carts fighting in a chariot-like run. Many contestants are killed, including Tango. Suddenly, Sarah interrupts the games by riding into the arena on a motorcycle. She has discovered from the computer chip that Junior will trigger the bracelet devices of all the surviving gladiators to kill them all 20 minutes after the show ends. Revealing this information to Drake and the rest of the men, they mount an attack on the control tower, killing all the guards, including Raven. But most of the gladiators, including Akira, are killed in the assault. Drake, Sarah, Abdul and Kirk break into the main control room and discover that Cortez is found to have plotted the death of the survivors in order to discredit Sam and take over as station head. Cortez is killed by Abdul who shoots him. Then, a computer screen image of the company boss, Sam, appears and informs them that 'Sam' is really just a video projection of the computer, emanating from a space satellite orbiting 200,000 miles above the Earth. The computer knew of Cortez plan but let it happen to a point.

The four surviving rebels force entry into the main terminal of 'Sam', with the aid of Sarah's pass key. But Kirk is killed when he unwisely tries to remove his bracelet himself. Then, the three surviving rebels are attacked in the control room by Monk, who is revealed to be the traitor who filmed the escape attempt with a mini-camera built into his eye. After a bitter fight, Drake kills him and Sarah uses some of the information stored on his camera chip to access the destruction codes. In the nick of time, Sam is blown up, and the deadly bracelets are deactivated. With the battle won, Drake and Sarah fly off together in a hover-vehicle to start a new life for themselves.



The film was part of a cycle of dystopian science fiction films inspired by the popularity of films like George Miller's Mad Max and John Carpenter's Escape from New York.[1] Following the release of these films, Italian cinema produced films such as Enzo G. Castellari's 1990: The Bronx Warriors and The New Barbarians, Ruggero Deodato's The Raiders of Atlantis and Bruno Mattei's Rats: Night of Terror.[1]

The story for the film was devised by the husband and wife team of Dardano Sacchetti and Elisa Briganti.[1] Fulci felt story by Sacchetti was strong and but was not happy with producers suggestions, which included to add skyscrapers to scenes where Fulci had envisioned a futuristic Rome covered by gigantic Plexiglas domes.[2] The production was originally planned to be part of two-film deal, with Fulci's next project to be Blastfighter.[2] Sacchetti explained that Fulci had had an argument with the production and had been taken to court. The title of the film had been sold, but they were no longer able to use the script, which lead to Blastfighter having its title but a completely different story.[2]

The completed script of Warriors of the Year 2072 was edited further by Cesare Frugoni and Fulci himself.[2][3] The film would mark the last time Sacchetti would work with Fulci who he claimed had stolen his idea for a film to be titled Evil Comes Back.[4] Sacchetti denied these allegations, stating that Fulci was originally excited over his drafts and had it read to a producer who commissioned him for a script.[4] The film would later be made by Lamberto Bava under the title Until Death.[4]


Warriors of the Year 2072 was released in Italy on January 28, 1984.[5] It was released on DVD as The New Gladiators by Troma Video on August 7, 2001.[6]

The film has been released under several titles, including Rome 2072 A.D.: The New Gladiators, Fighting Centurions.[1] Troy Howarth, in his biography on Fulci stated the film is often referred to as The New Gladiators.[1]

See also


  1. Howarth 2015, p. 273.
  2. Howarth 2015, p. 274.
  3. Howarth 2015, p. 275.
  4. Howarth 2015, p. 276.
  5. Brennan, Sandra. "Warriors of the Year 2072". AllMovie. Archived from the original on August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  6. "The New Gladiators (1984)". AllMovie. Retrieved June 25, 2017.


  • Howarth, Troy (2015). Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films. Midnight Marquee Press, Inc. ISBN 1936168537.
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