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
Because the Colt 1911 .45 ACP pistols carried by Pike Bishop (William Holden) and the other members of the Wild Bunch are notoriously unreliable when firing blanks, Spanish-made Star Model B 9mm pistols were substituted for all of the firing scenes. Aside from being chambered for the smaller 9mm round, the Star Model B is externally almost identical to the Colt 1911. See more »
When Pike shoots Buck to put him out of his misery after the opening sequence, Buck is first shown turning to the left as he falls - when we cut back to his fall he is clearly turning to the right 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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