The Wild Bunch (1969)
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as Pike Bishop
as Dutch Engstrom
as Deke Thornton
as Lyle Gorch
as Tector Gorch
as Pat Harrigan
as Crazy Lee
as Mayor Wainscoat
as Lt. Zamorra
as Don José
as German Army Officer
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Critic Reviews for The Wild Bunch
It's a traumatic poem of violence, with imagery as ambivalent as Goya's.
Arguably the strongest Hollywood movie of the 1960s -- a western that galvanizes the clichés of its dying genre with a shocking jolt of delirious carnage.
In an era when body-count films mirror the mounting body count offscreen, The Wild Bunch dissects death rather than glorifying it.
The Wild Bunch is an American masterpiece, one of the greatest films ever produced in the Hollywood system.
It is certainly one of the best westerns ever made, and the best film of any kind to come out in 1969.
Audience Reviews for The Wild Bunch
Raw, intense, visceral and gritty are just some of the few words that describe Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, which ranks among the finest Westerns ever made. The film features an all star cast of talented actors who light up the screen in the classic film. Every actor brings something terrific to the screen that elevates the plot significantly. Under Peckinpah's kinetic direction, The Wild Bunch is an action packed Western that is one of the finest in the genre. Peckinpah, like Sergio Leone before him, helped shape the Western film in a way that was both brutal, yet beautiful. Peckinpah had a flair for crafting pictures that really raised the bar in the way violence was presented, and in doing so, he broke new ground in what you could do in the cinematic medium. Set near the end of the Old West, when the country is being modernized in first years of the 20th Century, the film follows a group of aging outlaws out for one last score. The story is simple, but it works to the film's advantage because it doesn't overcomplicate things, the film uses the performances to elevate the films story. The result is impressive and in turn The Wild Bunch is a superb and accomplished picture that ranks among the finest Westerns ever made. With a great cast at his disposal, Sam Peckinpah does what he does best, and that's to make a riveting, violent and highly thrilling picture that has all of the director's trademarks that has made his work standout. In terms of sheer entertainment, The Wild Bunch succeeds on every level, with memorable performances, tense, well executed action; this is a blistering Western that is ranks among the finest of the genre. Sam Peckinpah knew how to get the most out of a simple concept, and that's exactly the case with this movie. Highly engaging from start to finish, this is a thrilling picture that delivers on all fronts, and it's a movie made with that raised the bar of what you could do in the genre.
A tale of unfaltering masculinity in an era of change, Sam Peckinpah's 'The Wild Bunch' is a masterfully crafted deviation from the conventional western. Initially following the titular criminals as they rob, murder and brutalize a town for personal gain the film's protagonists are shown as unrelenting and cold-blooded, this is soon altered, however, and the film's theme of change (both politically and morally) is reflected by the audience's perception of the bunch as they are subjected to the benevolence and brotherhood prominent within them over the two and a half hour running time. Aesthetically 'TWB' adheres to the iconography common to the genre, dirty characters inhabit the beautiful landscapes and the fight between America and Mexico acts as a political backdrop, cementing the globalism of the film's ideologies in a realistic nature and adding a sense of authenticity to the plot. At its core 'The Wild Bunch' is quintessentially about camaraderie against all odds, and the thoughtful visual metaphors throughout, such as a scorpion being overwhelmed by red ants, do not seem out of place or overly obvious amongst the intrigue and action that keeps the film above entertaining throughout.
Sam Peckinpah's eulogy to the old west is regarded as something of a classic of the genre. One of the most striking things about this film is the total lack of a "good guy vs. bad guy" mentality, something Peckinpah made clear right from the opening scene when Holden's men arrive dressed as soldiers, seemingly about to be ambushed by outlaws. But everything is not as it seems. Holden and his gang are a bunch of outlaws and thieves but operate with loyalty and a code of honour. Robert Ryan, an ex-partner, heads a pack of bounty hunters hunting them down who act like the vultures picking through the trail of corpses they leave behind. Boasting not one, but two of the most spectacular shoot outs ever committed to celluloid, the final scenes redefine the word "bloodbath" and make a John Woo set piece look like a Sunday school picnic. It does sag a little in the middle when there's one too many scenes involving tequilas and trumpets, but otherwise an essential addition to the collection for fans of the old fashioned western.
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