Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid Reviews

Page 1 of 23
July 9, 2016
I watched the 2005 Special Edition version of this Sam Peckinpah Western and I quite enjoyed it. I liked both Kristofferson and Coburn in it, and there's a ton of great character actors I like in supporting roles such as: Harry Dean Stanton, Jason Robards, Slim Pickens, Jack Elam, and more. Bob Dylan has a supporting role and also composed the soundtrack which is quite good. This would make a great double-bill with "The Wild Bunch". Check it out.
May 3, 2016
One of the greatest western movies of all time.
½ April 10, 2016
This review is of the Director's Cut.

Any movie that's got so many of my favorite classic actors in it I could watch it over and over just for that. But the plot is good. The music, cinematography, all good. I think it's underrated.
March 31, 2016
Unforunately, Sam Peckinpah never got to polish a definitive cut, but he did make a preview cut that was posthumously released as the "Turner Preview Version." It's the one to watch and while it's still uneven, there's some great stuff in there. Kristofferson and Coburn are excellent, as are most of the character parts - and Slim Pickens' scene by the river is perhaps the best thing Peckinpah's ever done.
March 9, 2016
Former confidante-turned-lawman Pat is the true villain as he hunts the deadly outlaw-hero Billy the Kid throughout New & Old Mexico. Pat (an amazing performance by Coburn) represents the suffocating capitalist interests as the West & it's inhabitants are reluctantly & slowly tamed. A bleak and violent film with a surprisingly amazing Bob Dylan soundtrack & an obvious influence on Tarantino.
August 3, 2015
Give me some time to think this one over.
July 7, 2015
This has all the hallmarks of a great western, however it's somewhat subdued and labours in places. Despite this it remains a thoughtful historical piece of cinema.
May 22, 2015
Said to be Sam Peckinpah's masterpiece which was ruined by studio tampering, watching the extended special edition of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is clearly watching it the way it was intended by the director.

Billy the Kid is a man of Western history who many tell stories of just like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or Frank and Jesse James. But Pat Garrett is a name I am not all that familiar with, so a tale which tells the story of both him and Billy the Kid sounded interesting, and there is really not a better man to helm the story than legendary western director Sam Peckinpah.
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is one of the most brilliantly stylish western films I have ever seen in my life. While its colour palette maintains a very monochromatic feel which is a greyish sepia, the colour of the dirt and stone which reinforces the dry feeling of the frontier, it manages to be lit so perfectly that it captures many tones of the dirt and manages to feel bright and energetic yet grim at the same time. The scenery in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is flawlessly convincing and depicts the grim nature of the frontier flawlessly. Admittedly it took no time before I was sucked into Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid on the simple basis of its style. I mean, the setting is so convincing and reminiscent of the time that western films were in their heyday that I was easily able to lose myself in the film. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid was one of the most unforgettable western visual experiences of my life, and it essentially reaffirmed my love of western cinema.
Considering that Sam Peckipah is hailed as one of the greatest western film directors of his time, it is no surprise that his handling of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid was excellent. The man himself is known for incorporating violence and blood into his films which proves to be the case with Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Unlike many westerns which simply have men falling off their horses when shot, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid has blood flying out of their backs when they are shot in the chest. It is fairly brutal yet perfect and reinforces the realism of the film as well as the true violent nature of the old west. Sam Peckinpah applies his iconic visual style to Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid which proves to be of seriously major benefit to the story, and it ensures that the film is an unforgettable stylish western experience.
Boasted an excellent production design and fine costumes to combine with the nice dry scenery of the film, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid also has everything captured with ease by gently moving cinematography which is edited in perfect time. Frankly, every visual aspect of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is unforgettable and it is an undeniably stylish experience which puts good use of funds in. A lot of traditional western films tend to use extensive shots from a distance with minimal editing, but breaking new ground John Coquillon manages to use widescreen cameras to get a lot of close up shots of the actors' faces to enhance the character driven feel of the film while also taking shots from a reasonable distance which manage to capture a lot of things in frame without ever transcending the actual scale of the film and attempting to go into epic territory. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid stays firmly in the character-based roots of its story and never tries to be anything more than it should be, so it is an invigorating and refreshing piece of filmmaking which came at a time when people were beginning to question if they should follow traditional values, as in the counterculture movement of the 60's and 70's, as well as dealing with such themes that were prevalent at the time including betrayal and such.
Combined with the visual style is an unforgettable soundtrack. As well as providing some nostalgic country themed tunes, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid makes use of an interesting contemporary pieces such as Bob Dylan's original "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" among others. The beautiful country music in the film makes it very atmospheric and gives it a genuine western and country feel. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a paradigm of a western experience and reminds us just what kind of a skilled director Sam Peckinpah was.
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid has no problem telling its story and doing it honestly. It covers the stories of both Billy the Kid living as an outlaw and Pat Garrett as he attempts to bring him to justice. The story is structured well because it tells both stories as they run parallel at a gentle pace without excessively jumping back and forth between each story. The balance in the story structure of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is excellent and it lets the story unfold at develop very smoothly. Audiences not familiar with the slow style of western cinema may find that it doesn't grab them as much as was the case with me the first time I watched Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, but after becoming more acquainted with the genre and understanding its norms including the general style and pacing of such films, I was able to appreciate Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid for being the artistic masterpiece of western cinema that it was.
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid also benefits from a terrific script. Boasting Rudy Wurlitzer's natural ability to write intelligent dialogue and good story direction, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid manages to come out as an intelligently written western which is given the best of treatment by Sam Peckinpah and delivered with passionate gusto by the skillful cast lined up.
Taking on the titular role of Pat Garrett, legendary actor James Coburn delivers his role with unflinching strength and heroism. The man's name is easily associated with heroic roles as well as films with rough material to deal with, so he has the appropriate name to be taking on such a role. And with such ease and natural strength as an actor, he easily sinks into the role and adopts the fearless values of law enforcement in the frontier without difficulty. James Coburn takes on the role of Pat Garrett with skillful ease and charisma, and he interacts with the surrounding cast easily.
And Kris Kristofferson gives one of the finest performances of his career. The best of Kris Kristofferson's acting can be seen in western films, and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is quite possibly the finest example of it. Putting his natural charisma and youthful charm into the role of William H. Bonney / Billy the Kid, and he delivers the performance flawlessy by sinking his characterisation of the man into the natural way of living as a man during frontier times. He captures character elements that suggest he adapted to the setting long ago, and he removes any elements that have him left as being a simply young and senseless man of the west. Kris Kristofferson plays Billy the Kid as he most likely truly would have been by sticking to western archetypes will injecting his natural acting talent into the role, and his handsome face makes him iconic for playing the character. Kris Kristofferson is unforgettable for his role in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and his chemistry with James Coburn is excellent as it has a certain rough tension to it.
Jason Robards' small time on screen was effective also due to his natural ability to play a character with true grit, and he made an important contribution to the cast.
Bob Dylan's small role was good as well and it is good to have him acting in the film as well as contributing to the soundtrack.

So all in all, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is one of the most unforgettable western masterpieces I have ever seen. It has an excellent visual style to it which doesn't skimp on the blood or a beautiful soundtrack, and it captures a great western feel thanks so some of Sam Peckinpah's greatest skills as a film director and excellent performances from James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson.
November 2, 2014
Three things about this movie that make it pretty good: The director, the actors and the music of Bob Dylan.
August 30, 2014
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid is an excellent film. It is about an aging Pat Garrett is hired as a lawman on behalf of a group of wealthy New Mexico cattle barons. Kris Kristofferson and James Coburn give amazing performances. The script is well written. Sam Peckinpah did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama.
February 25, 2014
This might be Peckinpah"s greatest film and that's saying an awful lot considering he also made "The Wild Bunch". It's a variation of that film. It is also ultra-violent with the theme of the corrupt wealthy taking over the old west leaving no room for infamous outlaws. It is also about conflicted allegiances and betrayal. Coburn is perfect in his role; he has never been better. Kris Kristofferson is brilliant as the happy-go-lucky kid, the paradoxical outlaw with charisma and a good heart. Really, it's an awesome film and if the ending seems anti-climactic it is because it is dealing with real men not comic book characters. The strange behaviors of Garrett at the end shows ever expanding hidden layers of profound meaning .
½ November 28, 2013
An atypical american western, even in morals. The pace is slow and the direction nonclassical but beautiful. Magnificent soundtrack by Bob dylan and enjoyble photography.
November 2, 2013
director sam peckinpah's final western
½ July 27, 2013
This movie is really not as good as the ratings suggest. It was obviously filmed in the early 70's. Has a very distinct stereotypical 60's feel. Has no place in a western. And, Bob Dylan just looked lost. He had no place in this movie.
June 29, 2013
Genuine Peckinpah. A brilliantly paced and acted film (despite Bob Dylan's irrelevance), Coburn and Kristoffersen are equal parts rugged and charming. Unlike a lot of Westerns before it, this is a beautifully shot film and along with Dylan's finest contribution to the film, the soundtrack, it really stands out from the crowd. You've seen the Billy The Kid story play out before, if you're a Gen X'er you're more than likely familiar with the Emilio Estevez version, but this is probably the best version out there. A casual look through the cast list and you'll find very few of them are still alive and kicking. A sobering reminder of my own mortality, mirrored by Pat Garrett's realization that everything changes. For better or for worse.
May 13, 2013
"Remember me to whoever rides by." Sam Peckinpah's ultimate expression on the passing of the American West (a sub genre all utno itself), Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid is a passionately somber saga in which James Coburn's bought sheriff damns his soul in the pursuit of Kris Krisstofferson's outlaw spirit. Billy the Kid might be a cattle rustling murderer, but through Peckinpah's twisted morality he represents independence and the pursuit of happiness. Peckinpah's Garrett is a man who sold his freedom for the white picket fence, and the house to box his converted Mexican bride. The film is preachy with nearly every frame coated in Bob Dylan's lyrics, and Peckinpah's hatred for institution poisons the well for those looking for the simplicity of a High Noon. It's a film busting at the seems with Western icons - Jack Elam, Slim Pickins, LQ Jones, Harry Dean Stanton, RG Armstrong - most of which violently fall in the conflict between titans. Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid tackles the fiction of American mythology; it's angry, mean, but mostly sad - not the rollicking adventure we often seek from the genre, but a heartfelt sendoff from its most iconoclastic creator. VF.
April 20, 2013
Peckinpah's drop dead gorgeous, melancholy tribute to the western. The actual story of Billy the Kid is mostly used as a backdrop to explore one of Peckinpah's favorite themes, old friends turned enemies. Peckinpah's trademark stylized violence is on stunning display, but the film also has a haunting, dreamy quality about it, utilizing ruggedly beautiful, on-location shots of the Durango, Mexico countryside to great effect. Every scene absolutely basks in the sun-soaked, weather beaten landscape.

From the outset of the film, the viewer already knows the fates of Billy and Pat, and the characters themselves seem to know it as well, that they'll both die at the hands of the same violence and the same men whom they once stood behind. Coburn's portrayal of the bitterly reluctant sheriff is the best performance of his career. Kristofferson plays an effortlessly charming Billy the Kid, but theres something in his demeanor that suggests a deep sadness and regret about the life he's led, probably the most powerful performance in the film. Peckinpah perfectly taps in to a sense of longing for a lost innocence that both lead characters seem to share, even as they hurtle themselves through a path of self destruction, while their friends and accomplices are killed in their wake.

Bob Dylan's soundtrack is absolutely perfect, Peckinpah uses Dylan's somber music as a reminder during even the most spectacular and triumphant scenes that there are no real personal or moral victories for either character a midst the blood-letting and pursuit, as both know where their destinies will ultimately lead them. Peckinpah's finest film and final western is the perfect farewell letter to a genre that catapulted him to fame but also led him to his own personal destruction. Powerful cinema at its finest and remains my favorite movie of all time.
March 4, 2013
Really poorly cast. Kris Kristofferson as Billy the Kid?!
½ January 2, 2013
Fantastic soundtrack really amazing, and a very great movie i can't complain
Page 1 of 23