The Wild Bunch (1969) / Western-Action
MPAA Rated: R for pervasive violence, some nudity, sexual situations, and language
Running Time: 145 min.
Cast: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmund O'Brien, Warren Oates
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Screenplay: Walon Green, Sam Peckinpah
Review published December 22, 1997
A band of ruthless outlaws rob a bank in the early 1900s but face an ambush by equally ruthless bounty hunters. They head for the Mexican border and join up with a gang of Mexican thugs who incorporate them in a plot to steal guns from a passing U.S. Army train.
The Wild Bunch ranks among the greatest Westerns ever made by sheer testosterone alone. It's quite violent, even by today's standards, but totally exhilarating in the take-no-prisoners attitude in Sam Peckinpah's (The Getaway, Convoy) gritty vision. Great performances, landmark directing, a terrific script and beautiful cinematography create an Old West unlike any other before in Hollywood. Fittingly enough, this film represented the death of the Western, both on screen and in Hollywood, before the revisionism of Clint Eastwood later on. A true classic and damn near a masterpiece.
©1997 Vince Leo