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A town marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.
It's 1913, and the traditional American West is dying. Among the inhabitants of this dying time era are a outlaw gang called "The Wild Bunch". After a failed bank robbery, the gang head to Mexico to do one last job. Seeing their times and lives drifting away in the newly formed world of the 20th century, the gang take the job and end up in a brutally, violent last stand against their enemies who deemed to be corrupt in a small Mexican town, ruled by a ruthless general. Written by
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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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An incredible performance by Bill Holden is the high point of this sensational, landmark film. Holden made a whole career out of laid-back, easy-going, what-the-hell sort of characters but here, at his zenith, he departs from type and plays a character so mean and so embittered that in some ways he even out-Bronsons Bronson himself.
The Wild Bunch is a group of disillusioned outlaws who are out of time and they know it. When Sykes says that they've got one of those things (a car) up north that can fly, they gloomily accept that this new-fangled 20th Century is not for them.
It is a movie all about values and about a man's loyalty to his companions. Holden brilliantly declares that if you cannot stand by a man who rides with you, you are like some kind of animal. In the end, that is all these hunted men have: their loyalty to each other.
And so they band together for one last walk to try and rescue their doomed Mexican comrade. The bloodbath that follows is an eloquent summary of their lives. They who live by the gun.....
Superb performances by Holden in particular and also by O'Brien, Ryan, Borgnine, Oates and Johnson. Peckinpah's finest hour. Definitely ten out of ten.
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