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Selected articles and reviews


The Wild Bunch


     Wild Bunch, The (1969)
      Directed by:
             Sam Peckinpah

      Written by:
             Walon Greenstory
             Roy N. Sicknerstory

      Genre
      Action / Drama / Western
      Synopsis
      An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional"
      American West is disappearing around them.
      Filmed in
      USA
      Runtime
      134 min / USA:145 min (1995 re-release)
      Average Rating
       (4.62 on 5)

Casting:
       William HoldenPike Bishop
       Ernest BorgnineDutch Engstrom
       Robert RyanDeke Thornton
       Edmond O'BrienFreddie Sykes
       Warren OatesLyle Gorch
       Jaime SánchezAngel (as Jaime Sanchez)
       Ben JohnsonTector Gorch
       Emilio FernándezGen Mapache (as Emilio Fernandez)
       Strother MartinCoffer
       L.Q. JonesTC
       Albert DekkerPat Harrigan
       Bo HopkinsCrazy Lee
       Dub TaylorRev Wainscoat
       Paul HarperRoss
       Jorge RussekLt Zamorra

Reviews and Comments
 The Wild Bunch: We Must Think Beyond Our Guns
First of all, "The Wild Bunch," with restored footage, is a masterpiece,
possible the best western ever made. Sam Peckinpah loved the west and the
passing of his mythic west. Yes, the battles in this movie are gory, and
Peckinpah wants us to "feel" the killings. There is real pain, real
suffering,and the feeling of real loss. This film, for all its touted violence,
is a poem of loss, how aging outlaws come to the sad fact that they have
"outlived their guns." After the harsh beginning, the movie settles with a
beautiful rythum, of visits to a Mexican village, where the killers are given
flowers as they leave. The cast is great. Wiiliam Holden has never been better.
Ernest Borgnine is also superb. Ben Johnson, that great cowboy from many John
Ford films, and Warren Oates are fabulous, as the infamous Gorch Brothers. They
steal almost every scene they are in. The added footage makes clearer a few
things but I preferred the original cut, for it was swifter, more furious, if
that is possible, and left me with more regret. The cinematography is wonderful,
and you can almost taste the flavor of the dust of Texas and Mexico. Peckinpah
gives free rein to his supporting actors; the bounty hunters are a startling
bunch themselves,led by a guilt-ridden Robert Ryan, who wishes he were with the
bunch he is tracking. There are poetic flashes everywhere: the scenes in the
viiliage where a young senorita makes little boys out of the Gorch Brothers, the
first battle, going haywire on both sides, until there seems to be no right or
wrong but just a slaughtering of innocent townsfolk caught in the crossfire. the
bunch arguing then laughing, bonding them together, the blown up bridge cracking
and the horses falling as if forever falling into the muddy river, and before
the final battle, the bunch with protitutes, sad, knowing this is their last
day, a lone bird fluttering on the floor. And then the Climax, a rousing,
blood-letting, fight to the death and beyond anything seen on the screen before
and in my opinion since,for this battle, everytime I watch it, lasts only ten or
so minutes but seems to last forever, as each member of the bunch reaching out
for each other, knowing that this is the end, maybe of their kind, but something
greater;the gift of living life to the fullest and in the end, the great musical
score of Jerry Fielding framing the bunch as they ride into legend. One of my
top ten films of all time.



 The Wild Bunch - A Warner Bros. Classic
(November 1999) A Brief Personal Overview - The Wild Bunch
I remember seeing 'The Wild Bunch' in a cinema in Dublin. I loved westerns so I
went to see it. But this movie was different. I left the cinema feeling that I
had just seen a great cinema Movie... a great western.
Years have past and recently I bought the video to revisit those times. It is
evident how well Peckinpah loved the visual image. He gave the cinema a way to
alter time and space by artfully editing multiple camera angles and intercutting
slow and normal motion. Sam Peckinpah knew how to maximise a dramatic scene like
nobody. I don't think I have ever seen, since then, movie images used to such a
dramatic extent as he used them. I feel that the bad reviews he received then
(for the violence) were unjustified and maybe stunted the director's later
works. (Perhaps Peckinpah was a little before his time...)
Also, the acting talents of William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond
O'Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sánchez, Ben Johnson, and, Emilio Fernández (a
wonderful performance), the cinematography of Lucien Ballard, the music of Jerry
Fielding, not to mention the rest of the team, along with the masterful
directing and editing talent of Peckinpah produced a movie that forms a part of
cinematic history, and rightfully so.
It is a hard, violent, shocking, tragic, stylish, nostalgic,... and as somebody
said 'balladic' tale about a group of misfits cornered by time and
circumstance... but, then again, aren't we all in the same boat?



 If you are going to see one Peckinpah, look no further.
Western cinematography at its best, strong willed anti-hero gunslingers and
William Holden's usual strong performance make for the Classic Western of the
60's and certainly better than 99.9% of the westerns made since. Being a bit of
a purist, the widescreen DVD is an absolute must for the ultimate Peckinpah
experience.
Of course being a Pechinpah film eliminates the squimish, those who demand fast
plot development, most of the fairer gender, and those who don't enjoy slow
motion death scenes greater than five minutes in duration. Admitedly It is a
male testosterone joy ride and you couldn't find a worse choice for romantic
nights.
If you liked the story, pace and characters of "The Unforgiven" (Best Picture
1992), this is a likely one for you to add to your collection. If you find
yourself enjoying the violence of some Tarantino or Scorsese films - see this.
Many movie historians site "The Wild Bunch" as the movie that ushered in graphic
depiction of gore and violence so prevelent today. All have there own takes, for
me here the violence does fit the movie and themes presented much like "Raging
Bull" (Best Picture 1980). It is far more than the Van Damme or Segal violence
for violence sake tripe films of today.

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