Friday, March 12, 2010

The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch is a 1969 Sam Peckinpah Western starring William Holden and Ernest Borgnine. Also starring are Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones. We found it a bit long but enjoyed it despite that.


Senses of Cinema says, "The Wild Bunch still remains unsurpassed as one of the great Westerns of the last century." Roger Ebert considers it one of his "great movies". Variety has a review that calls it "overlong". In a review from the time of its release the New York Times calls it "very beautiful and the first truly interesting American-made Western in years." Images Journal lists is as one of the 30 Great Westerns and says
Though many other Westerns have sided with "noble" outlaws, this film totally defies any typical definition of the genre, giving us outlaws and lawmen alike who demonstrate only casual awareness of any "Code of the West." starts its article with a discussion of the violence: an age inured to graphic screen violence and gore, the violence of The Wild Bunch is still remarkably provocative and disturbing. This is partially because the violence is not gratuitous, as some have claimed, but central to the film's vision of human experience: it posits a world in which degrees of violence provide the only standards, and violent death the only liberation. If it is a world not predicated entirely on human evil, it is one at least in which there is very little good or hope for change. It seems clear today that what many people object to in Peckinpah's extravagant depiction of violence in The Wild Bunch is actually his dark view of human nature.

It has a rating of 97% at Rotten Tomatoes.

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