Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Wild Bunch (1969)

Director: Sam Peckinpah

Writers: Walon Green, Sam Peckinpah, Roy N. Sickner

Composer: Jerry Fielding

Starring: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez, Ben Johnson, Emilio Fernandez, Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, Albert Dekker, Bo Hopkins, Dub Taylor, Paul Harper, Jorge Russek

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The land had changed. They hadn't. The earth had cooled. They couldn't.

Plot: It's 1913, and the traditional American West is dying. Among the inhabitants of this dying time era are a outlaw gang called "The Wild Bunch". After a failed bank robbery, the gang head to Mexico to do one last job. Seeing their times and lives drifting away in the newly formed world of the 20th century, the gang take the job and end up in a brutally, violent last stand against their enemies who deemed to be corrupt in a small Mexican town, ruled by a ruthless general.

My rating: 10/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I love this movie.  I can't recall how many times I've seen it but I can't believe I haven't seen it in six years.  It's one of those staples I go to from time to time to refresh my Western batteries.  The performances are outstanding (it's great seeing Borgnine as a tough bastard), it's sprinkled with humor (the funniest bit for me is when Lyle (Oates) drunkenly announces to the gang that he's engaged) and it's violent.  It's a manly Western.  One can only imagine how heavy the testosterone was during the filming.  And the drinking that must have been going on offscreen must have been staggering.  Giving Peckinpah and co., it's no surprise that the women represented in the film are either super-religious "let's ruin the fun for everyone" types or whores.  In some regards it's refreshing not to have a love interest but then this isn't the kind of story that warrants anything resembling love.


And there are an awful lot of characters that are interesting, distinct and many that you care about which makes the ending even more powerful.  Probably what I love most about this picture is the grittiness of it.  It's such a filthy world that's painted with the desert and the heat of the American West and Mexico.  While it's beautiful, it's also a place and time that most people wouldn't want to try and survive in.  I would have given it a shot, though.  Great score by Jerry Fielding.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favourite westerns :) It is similar to spaghetti westerns. For me great, brutal movie ending an era.