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The Wild Bunch - The Original Director's Cut
The Wild Bunch - The Original Director's Cut
Actors: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Indie & Art House
R     1997     2hr 14min

DIRECTOR SAM PECKINPAH'S MASTERPIECE IS A WORLD CLASS WESTERN, NOTABLE FOR ITS DARING CINEMATOGRAPHY AND LANDMARK VIOLENCE.
     
     

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Movie Details

Actors: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Creators: Lucien Ballard, Sam Peckinpah, Lou Lombardo, Phil Feldman, Roy N. Sickner, Walon Green
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Indie & Art House
Sub-Genres: Sam Peckinpah, Westerns, Indie & Art House
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 05/21/1997
Original Release Date: 01/01/1969
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1969
Release Year: 1997
Run Time: 2hr 14min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Director's Cut
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Margaret S. (morgan2010) from GLENVIEW, IL
Reviewed on 12/29/2010...
I saw this in the theater years ago, and it was said to be the bloodiest and most violent film of the time. They were right. It is gritty, and mean, and is just what real theives are like. Ernest Borgniene says, " I do it anyway." Meaning he would be a thief and kill everyone in his way. And that's what they all do throughout this movie. Of course, teh nedig has the usually twist, and the thieves back up one of their own and they all die... I guess there has to be a happy ending, sort of. I have watched it more then once and would recomment it. Its not for everyone and its not broken back in any way.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Karla B. (8Rabbits) from S STRAFFORD, VT
Reviewed on 11/17/2009...
This ranks up there with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as my most favorite westerns of all time, and I'm most certainly not alone in that opinion. The violence is legendary, the performances brilliant from William Holden on down to the most junior member of the Bunch, Jaime Sanchez. They are honorable, amoral, supportive and harsh with each other. A completely dysfunctional group that come together in an epic bloodbath that I've watched over and over again throughout the years. Can't say enough praise for this movie. GET IT.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

THE WILD BUNCH.- A Mexican footnote.
Francisco J. Calderon | Mexico City, Mexico | 05/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sam Peckinpah's 'The Wild Bunch' is a masterpiece western. Not the best ever made, but close. So don't think I don't like this movie because I love it. However, since Mexicans are its villains, perhaps you'd be interested to read an opinion from this side of the border.The Mexico of 'The Wild Bunch' looks more like a metaphor than a real place. It is both Heaven and Hell; the theatre where the bunch will find Death but also Redemption. Accordingly, every Mexican depicted in the picture is either a saint or a monster (no middle ground here, except for the Mexican member of the Bunch, who is aptly named "Angel", although a fallen one). This serves the story splendidly, for it's meant to be an epic ballad and not a travelogue, but it does jolt the Mexican viewer because the "good Mexico" is portrayed so idyllic it's unreal, while the "bad Mexico" is very, very accurate; in fact, no American movie has captured the look, sound, feel, texture and carnage of the Mexican Revolution as this one has (even if the grandiose final scene, where the Bunch kills hundreds of heavily armed soldiers all by themselves and none of the four falls down even when riddled by bullets, defies all logic!). Perhaps that's why it was banned in Mexico back when it was released in 1969.Funny, for it was filmed in Mexico as well. The Texas bordertown you see at the begining of the story is actually Parras, Coahuila, and many of its citizens acted as extras in the movie: white ones as "Texans", brown ones as -what else?- Mexicans! Don Raúl Madero, brother of Francisco I. Madero, the man who started the Mexican Revolution, appears ...as a Texan! Even the two German officers are Mexican! So, as you can see, we Mexicans come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and hardly fit these two tiresome "noble peasant"-"greaser bandito" stereotypes American movies seem so comfortable with! I hope some day Hollywood realizes this and "walk the extra mile" to portray us for what we are: a very complex and diverse society. Neither saints, nor monsters, and certainly not mere bowling pins!P.S.: Many great Mexican directors, all personal friends of Peckinpah, appear in the film. Emilio "Indio" Fernández (Mapache) and Chano Urueta (Angel's grandfather) were the best of our cinema's Golden Age. Fernando Wagner (German officer) was also a competent theatre director, and Alfonso Arau (Herrera) is best known for his international hit 'Like Water for Chocolate'. Jorge Russek (Zamorra) was an outstanding photographer for National Geographic, and Sonia Amelio (Teresa) is a world-aclaimmed dancer (she was even awarded with an "Order of Lenin" back in the Soviet Union). And just for the record, the word "Mapache" ("racoon") stands for "coward thief". No Mexican general, no matter how corrupt, would use, I believe, such a nickname! And since Mapache is "a killer working for Huerta", the action takes place in 1913, not 1916 (Huerta was ousted in early 1914)."
Peckinpah's moment in time still packs a punch
Chris K. Wilson | Dallas, TX United States | 03/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There's not much that can be noted about Sam Peckinpah's brilliant 1969 western epic "The Wild Bunch" that has not already been written. It was an unanticipated, influential work where all things came together, but for a moment, the end product a huge, sweeping canvas of intimacy between comrades, violence between combatants, desperate anger amidst changing times. Part Kurosawa, part Siegel, part Fuller, part Ford, Peckinpah combined his inspirations with a healthy dose of 1960s rebellion producing the ultimate work of his generation, and one of the greatest westerns in history. It was Peckinpah's great fortune that the right actors were available for this film - William Holden and Robert Ryan in the twilight of their memorable careers, Ernest Borgnine with just enough youth to be a perfect and loyal presence, Edmond O'Brien chewing up the scenery with tobacco-stained teeth, and of course Peckinpah friends Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones and Warren Oates in salty supporting roles. It was also his great fortune cinematographer Lucien Ballard and composer Jerry Fielding were also on hand to participate in his steadfast vision. Peckinpah also had something to prove at this point in his career, when he was still a hungry director with a vision, before alcoholism, disillusionment and celebrity status took hold. He hid nothing from viewers, and his contradictory heart was laid bare in "The Wild Bunch." The direction and editing during the violent moments of this film - the opening bank robbery and the concluding battle with the Mexican army - are some of the most unforgettable scenes ever put on film. But ironically, and this was usually the case in most Peckinpah films, it is the quiet moments one remembers. Pike (Holden) and Dutch's (Borgnine) melancholy conversation next to a campfire; The Bunch riding out of Angel's village as if in a funeral procession; Deke (Ryan) taking Pike's pistol from it's holster, gently holding it in his hand; and of course Pike standing in the doorway and mouthing two simple words, "Let's go."And of course you have The Walk, in which Holden, Borgnine, Oates and Ben Johnson quietly begin loading their guns, cocking them, arming themselves, smiling at one another, standing shoulder to shoulder. There's not much left for these forgotten outlaws who have lived past their time. Just a code of honor, just their self respect. And so they Walk into the heart of the Mexican army to retrieve their comrade Angel, a prisoner and personal enemy of General Mapache. These surviving members of The Wild Bunch are free to go, but Angel, youthful, love-struck, rebellious, was one of them. They are not going to leave their comrade.After viewing the extraordinary documentary "The Wild Bunch: An Album In Montage" and seeing the rare footage of Peckinpah literally improvising The Walk, walking alongside Holden, Borgnine, Oates and Johnson, inventing by instinct, one realizes how fiercely creative this man was as a director. This film was his moment in time, his vision, his idea, Peckinpah's nightmarish and amazing dream.Peckinpah never really made a film quite like "The Wild Bunch" again. Of course, no director ever really has before or since. His uneven career of 14 films, some good, some not, has been celebrated and honored. Peckinpah the man, adorned in faded jeans and bandanna, certainly perpetuated his myth-like status. But in the end, you will always have "The Wild Bunch," an unforgettable film, raw, gritty, whiskey-soaked, sublime. I cry whenever I watch this film. I cry in awe. All things came together for Peckinpah on "The Wild Bunch," and the moment is everlasting."
A Tone Poem Written in Adrenaline
benjamin kerstein | israel | 01/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are other Peckinpah films I like better. There are other Peckinpah films which are more emotionally affecting. There are other Peckinpah films which are easier to watch. There are other Peckinpah films...But this is the THE Peckinpah film for anyone who wants to know what the fuss is all about. THE WILD BUNCH is Peckinpah's most significant, influential, daring, and ferocious assault on the limits of cinema. This is one of the few movies in cinematic history which fundamentally changed the language of cinema. Violence, death, and carnage would never be treated the same way by the movies after this film. The very idea of action in films can be divided into those made before THE WILD BUNCH and those made after it. Practically every action film you will ever see is little more than a pale attempt at imitating the great original. Watch this movie, and you will see where it all began.

Beyond this, however, there is the film itself; and now that the controversy it engendered has faded into history and its slow-motion carnage has become cinematic banality, the film has begun to emerge in its own right. This is all too the good, because THE WILD BUNCH taken on its own terms is an extraordinary cinematic experience. A tone poem written in adrenaline.

THE WILD BUNCH is, as its creator expressed, essentially a film about bad men in changing times. The changing times, however, brings out the best in these bad men; and a film which begins as a high-spirited bloody romp ends as an epic, apocalyptic tragedy, as its characters choose to go out in an orgy of erotic carnage which changed the cinematic landscape forever.

Peckinpah's skills are magnificently on display in this film. Still youthful as a director, there is not a trace of maturity in this film. It is magnificently adolescent. The camera careens, the cuts flash by, the sound crashes and creaks, the music swells and dies in jagged eruptions.

There is hardly a misstep here. The script, by Peckinpah and Walon Green, is literate, historically knowledgable, and thankfully lacking in the cloying camp which typified the '60s Westerns. The photography by Lucien Ballard is sun-blasted and shadow worn, unafraid of the brutal contrasts so often avoided by today's cinematographers. Jerry Fielding's score is a masterwork, swinging between mariachi ballads and off-kilter rhythms. His music for the Bunch's final walk into immortality overlaps a drunken Spanish ballad with a pulsing snare drum in a completely different rhythm, creating a dissonance which telegraphs the apocalypse to come.

Criminally overlooked by critics obsessed with the film's violence is the quality of the cast. Ernest Borgnine, Jaime Sanchez, and Edmond O'Brien embody their characters so fully that one can hardly imagine them in another role. Emilio Fernandez gives us an indelible caricature of a Mexican general drunk with power and dissapation. Robert Ryan carefully walks the line between his characters honor and his betrayal. And William Holden - in a role rumored to be modeled on Peckinpah himself - gives the performance of his life, culminating in the moment when the sight of a young prostitute, a sleeping baby, and a dying bird finally gives him the strength to live up to his own professed ideals. He and Warren Oates are given what may be the most simple and powerful exchange in modern cinema. "Let's go." "Why not." Four words which never fail to send chills up your spine.

This film is a modern classic. It changed cinema forever. It turned its maker into a legend. It is also a very great film. Put history aside and enjoy it."