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With its iconic pairing of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, jaunty screenplay and Burt Bacharach score, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has gone down as among the defining moments in late-'60s American cinema.
All Critics (48)
| Top Critics (8)
| Fresh (43)
| Rotten (5)
| DVD (18)
It is a great film and will be an exceptionally popular and profitable one.
You have to admire the craft and assurance of the thing even as its artificiality hits you in the face.
Every character, every scene, is marred by the film's double view, which oscillates between sympathy and farce.
The John Foreman production is episodic, but George Roy Hill's direction is so satisfying in catching the full value of the Goldman screenplay that a high degree of interest is sustained.
One of the funniest, if slightest, Westerns of recent years.
William Goldman's script is constantly too cute and never gets up the nerve, by God, to admit it's a Western.
It's a hilarious film with some surprising dark moments...it's a damn good one.
Such an amiable and ingenious movie that it seems curmudgeonly to get on any critical high horse.
Funny and poignant tale of two famous outlaws.
Fine escapist entertainment.
One of cinema's greatest ever advertisements for pure entertainment...
Although much of its freshness has faded, this still-amusing film reinvented the Western for a new generation.
A disappointing hippie Western that is too light for its own good and errs in tone by diluting the urgency of the story with a tongue-in-cheek humor and endless landscape shots that make it painfully slow - not to mention how hard it is to care about its one-dimensional characters.
Fantastic dialogue, but, wow, this movie is a direct rip-off of Arthur Penn's BONNIE AND CLYDE.
It may have only big name actors, but at it's core, it's pure hollywood storytelling at it's finest. I was so completely focussed on each character, that by the time each action scene occurred, it was the last thing that was interesting on the screen. The dialogue, the acting, and the scenery are all perfect representations of a western town, and the story is so brilliantly told that it held a smile on my face for the entire duration of the film. It is beautifully shot, but not quite perfectly edited, I did feel the need to voice my opinion on some edits, but overall, this is a near perfect western that I can watch over and over again, even if it does stray away from it's known formulas for most of the film, but that is why I found it so unique. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" is easily of my favourite films. Definitely worth it's praise!
For my 300th review I recently viewed the "classic' film Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. My recollection of this film was that it was very fresh, exciting, and cutting edge filmmaking. Sadly, as is so often the case when something is a very much a product of it's time, it now seems trite, overblown and an experiment gone wrong.
Not to say that Newman and Redford don't command your attention, but there is so much that went astray in this 70's retooling of the western genre (in truth, more of a buddy film if you ask me). Starting with the music - I'm sure signing the then very hot Burt Bacharrach to write the soundtrack seemed like gold at the time, and yeah, it did produce a hit song (a hit song in a western???? Oh well, remember Rio Bravo had Ricky Nelson crooning and strumming guitar... at least that marginally fit the theme, while here, the canned popcorn sounds didn't resonate at all. Frankly it got in the way of the film, as if saying, hey, listen up, I'm Burt Bacharrach and this is my groovy sound!).
The film starts off well enough, with the sepia toned intro moving into real life while still being sepia. The color doesn't come in until the two stars are riding towards Hole In The Wall, giving the 60's viewer a wow moment of the red rock canyonlands. Of course the print I was viewing must have been an old one, for the color was pretty washed out, sad to say.
The filming itself isn't bad, with some really nice use of shading, but there were many a script decision made that went sideways. In trying to stay grounded in The Western, there were too many scenes of horses riding like hell - it made me wonder, seeing both heroes on the back of a single galloping horse - surely the poor horse couldn't keep going nearly as long as the film suggested. Further there are the requisite "shoot the bad guy and watch him fall off the roof" kind of stuff - and then the film attempted to say something more meaningful by cranking up a guy's death scream, then doing a close up of his shot up body writhing in pain. OK, nice attempt, but you can't have it both ways - fantasy and realism cannot truly coincide if you're attempting to make a worthwhile narrative.
The real topper though was in the middle of the film, which was running fairly well except for the overuse of the horse chases. For whatever reason, the director decided to get all artsy again, showing a full 5 minutes of "postcard" pictures that conveniently had the stars front and center. WTF? A minute of this "art" would have been too much, so this went on waaaaay too long.
In the end what you get with this film is a look into the time in which it was filmed. It was the beginning of an era where boundaries in storytelling were being challenged. Hooray for that, but now the film seems very rooted in those times and very dated. I'm sure it was racy at the time to suggest that there may have been some hanky panky between the Katherine Ross, the female lead and both Newman and Redford - but it was couched in such a way as to be vague and non threatening to the conservative sensibilities.
Newman and Redford hold this thing together, exhibiting an easy charm and chemistry and do the most difficult thing of all, seeming natural in a film that wasn't. I've heard that a new film focusing on the Kid's later years (assuming that he somehow survived that final shootout)is in the works - it will be interesting to see how this film will be treated.
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