The Wild Bunch

Critics Consensus

The Wild Bunch is Sam Peckinpah's shocking, violent ballad to an old world and a dying genre.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 63

91%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 34,229

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Movie Info

In this gritty Western classic, aging outlaw Pike Bishop (William Holden) prepares to retire after one final robbery. Joined by his gang, which includes Dutch Engstrom (Ernest Borgnine) and brothers Lyle (Warren Oates) and Tector Gorch (Ben Johnson), Bishop discovers the heist is a setup orchestrated in part by his old partner, Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan). As the remaining gang takes refuge in Mexican territory, Thornton trails them, resulting in fierce gunfights with plenty of casualties.

Cast & Crew

Ernest Borgnine
Dutch Engstrom
Robert Ryan
Deke Thornton
Edmond O'Brien
Freddie Sykes
Warren Oates
Lyle Gorch
Ben Johnson
Tector Gorch
Emilio Fernández
Gen. Mapache
Jerry Fielding
Original Music
Lucien Ballard
Cinematographer
Lou Lombardo
Film Editor
Edward Carrere
Art Direction
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News & Interviews for The Wild Bunch

Critic Reviews for The Wild Bunch

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (6)

Audience Reviews for The Wild Bunch

  • Jun 07, 2014
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jan 18, 2014
    Solid western/action film that's become somewhat of a classic. Definitely worth checking out.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 12, 2013
    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.
    Cameron S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 16, 2013
    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. <i>The Wild Bunch</i> 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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer

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