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The Wild Bunch (1969)

tomatometer

93

Average Rating: 8.4/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

91

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 32,822

My Rating

Movie Info

"If they move, kill 'em!" Beginning and ending with two of the bloodiest battles in screen history, Sam Peckinpah's classic revisionist Western ruthlessly takes apart the myths of the West. Released in the late '60s discord over Vietnam, in the wake of the controversial Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and the brutal "spaghetti westerns" of Sergio Leone, The Wild Bunch polarized critics and audiences over its ferocious bloodshed. One side hailed it as a classic appropriately pitched to the violence and

R,

Western, Drama, Action & Adventure

Walon Green, Sam Peckinpah

Aug 27, 1997

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (46) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (1) | DVD (18)

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.

April 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In an era when body-count films mirror the mounting body count offscreen, The Wild Bunch dissects death rather than glorifying it.

April 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
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The Wild Bunch is an American masterpiece, one of the greatest films ever produced in the Hollywood system.

April 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is certainly one of the best westerns ever made, and the best film of any kind to come out in 1969.

April 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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It's a towering achievement that grows more riveting and resonant with the years.

April 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Wild Bunch is Peckinpah's most complex inquiry into the metamorphosis of man into myth. Not incidentally, it is also a raucous, violent, powerful feat of American film making.

April 29, 2013 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's the melancholy, the desolation. It's one of the saddest Westerns ever made.

April 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

It's one of the great, arrogant take-it-or-leave-it jobs in history, and by this point it is so beyond either defense or attack that I come neither to praise nor to bury it but merely to describe it.

April 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

One of the great artistic achievements of the 20th century. And a bloody awesome western to boot!

April 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

[VIDEO ESSAY] Famous for its breathtaking bridge explosion sequence, "The Wild Bunch" is a western layered with social commentary about war, codes of honor among men, and humanity's childish nature that bends equally between violence and pleasure.

August 7, 2012 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

a work of art, and revives love for pure cinema

March 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

one of the absolute best movies in the short history of the medium

January 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

... a spurting blast of pulp and poetry choreographed into a ballet of violence.

October 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Seanax.com
Seanax.com

Sam Peckinpah's great, bloody Western shocked most people with its extreme violence upon its original release, but now it's firmly nestled in the American canon.

July 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

...a landmark Western and a good, thoughtful, rousing adventure besides.

October 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Peckinpah's masterpiece, which is replete with poetic and violent imagery, demystifies the Old American West where no group (outlaws, railroaders, businessmen) is spared critical scrutiny. A highlight of the Western genre, it's one of 1969's best films.

December 20, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

The sign of change in the old formula, the advancement of technology and time in a genre that brutally snuffed both.

October 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Audience Reviews for The Wild Bunch

Damn straight, itâ(TM)s âWildâ?!

Full review coming to themoviefreakblog.com on August 22, 2013.
July 29, 2013
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

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.
June 21, 2013
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

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.
June 19, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

A gang of outlaws involves itself with a Mexican dictator while pursued by one of their own.
One day in my one-sentence synopsis of a Western's plot, I plan to write, "A man in a white hat kills a man in a black hat." In that sentence I'm making fun of Westerns' penchant for clearly dividing villains and heroes by the color of their hats, but more to the point, I'm making fun of the simplistic idea that there is such a thing as clearly defined good guys and bad guys. The Wild Bunch flies in the face of this idea. And yes, they all wear brown hats. The "heroes" of this film are hardly heroes. They kill indiscriminately, they rob, and they have no altruistic motivation. The closest we get to an admirable goal is Pike's desire to rest. The antagonists are just as bad if not worse, obeying no obvious code and also killing without compunction. As a whole, I like this theme for its complexity.
William Holden shows range, playing the blood-letting Pike, and Ernest Borgnine does likewise as the fat, laughing Dutch.
I thought the plot got contrived in the third act.
Overall, this western defies the conventions of its genre and is all the better for it.
April 16, 2013
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

    1. Pike: Come on you lazy bastard!
    2. Dutch: I"m coming damn it!
    – Submitted by James H (23 months ago)
    1. Don José: We all dream of being a child again, even the worst of us. Perhaps the worst most of all.
    – Submitted by Ben O (2 years ago)
    1. Dutch: Give 'em hell Pike! [Pike goes down]
    – Submitted by Dusan D (2 years ago)
    1. Pike: Let's go!
    2. Lyle Gorch: Why the hell not?
    – Submitted by Dusan D (2 years ago)
    1. Dutch: They'll be waitin' for us.
    2. Pike: I wouldn't have it any other way
    3. Dutch: Pike, I wouldn't have it any other way either!
    – Submitted by Dusan D (2 years ago)
    1. Dutch: Well, I'd say those fellas know how to handle themselves!
    2. Sykes: They been fightin' Apaches for a thousand years. That's a sure way to learn.
    3. Pike: They ever get armed, with good leader, this whole country'll go up in smoke!
    4. Sykes: That it will son, that it will.
    – Submitted by Dusan D (2 years ago)
View all quotes (11)

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Foreign Titles

  • The Wild Bunch - Sie kannten kein Gesetz (DE)
  • The Wild Bunch (UK)
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