In 1943, in the Russian front, the decorated leader Rolf Steiner is promoted to Sergeant after another successful mission. Meanwhile the upper-class and arrogant Prussian Captain Hauptmann ... See full summary »
In the Wild Bunch the movie opens with a group of aging outlaw's final score, a bank robbery. The event concludes with a violent and overtly bloody shootout that would generally mark the finale of a movie. This is correct in that it marks the finale of an era, for the characters and the world they live in. They simply can no longer keep up, the times are changing, technology advancing, and they're style of life is getting left behind in the dust that they spent so long galloping through. They abandon their careers for the simpler life of retirement. They enjoy this time, they live their fantasies. During this time the law is always on their tracks, bounty hunters. The further into their fantasy they get, the closer their demise seems to get. When one of their own is captured they are faced with the choice of escape or what is certainly a suicide mission to attempt and free their fallen behind comrade. For them it is not a choice. They all die in what can only be described as a ... Written by
Robert Ryan's incessant complaints about not receiving top billing so annoyed director Sam Peckinpah that he decided to "punish" Ryan. In the opening credits, after freezing the screen on closeups of William Holden's and Ernest Borgnine's faces while listing them, Peckinpah froze the scene on several horses' rear ends as Ryan was listed. See more »
After the hijacked train crashes into the railroad car holding the horses of the army unit assigned to guard the train, the sergeant in charge orders a corporal to ride to the garrison and report the train robbery. The corporal salutes with his left hand and responds, "Yes, Sir!" Soldiers salute with their right hand and sergeants are neither addressed as "Sir"--except in basic training--nor saluted. A raw recruit might make such mistakes in such a stressful situation, but not someone who has been in the army long enough to become a corporal. See more »
Do not drink wine or strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, least ye shall die. Look not though upon the wine when it is red, and when it bringeth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright at the last, it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder. Now folks, that's from the Good Book, but in this here town it's five cents a glass. Five cents a glass, now does anyone think that that is a price of a drink?
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I got this movie on DVD at the suggestion of my brother. I admit to knowing nothing about it's director and a complete lack of familiarity with most of it's actors or the mythology behind it's production (I was born years after it was made). I can, however, safely say this: this is one of the greatest movies ever made. Every aspect of the film is flawless, from the acting to the cinematography to the script.
This is also the most truly macho of all macho movies. It's not cartoonish machismo, rather it's the kind of machismo you see in drywall hangers: no-nonsense comments like "We're after men" and "Let's go" predominate, the men don't swagger around and violence is approached (fairly) honestly. The reserved dialogue and physicality reminds me of "Seven Samaurai" (to which this film owes a great deal). To me, that is the highest praise that I can give a movie.
The photography is amazing: the desert looks sweltering and parched, the close-ups of actor's faces outdoes Sergio Leone and the action is probably the best ever filmed. Scorcese and Tarantino obviously owe a lot to Peckinpaw. The scene during the opening credits of "Reservoir Dogs" is a direct lift from this movie, just to cite one of countless examples.
The acting is on par with the direction. Robert Ryan steals the show and, c'mon, who doesn't love Ernest?
Some would poo-poo the films treatment of women, and I am not going to get involved in that debate. Just go see it because, like the best movies, it immerses you in a time and place. Smell the sage!
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