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
During a screening in New York, Sam Peckinpah invited Jay Cocks, of Time magazine, who brought his friend Martin Scorsese. They sat in an empty Warner Bros. screening room with only two other critics, Judith Crist and Rex Reed. That final scene knocked them out of their seats. Recalled Scorsese, "We were mesmerized by it; it was obviously a masterpiece. It was real filmmaking, using film in such a way that no other form could do it; it couldn't be done any other way. To see that in an American filmmaker was so exciting." Cocks remembered that he and Scorsese "literally turned to each other at the end and were stunned. We were looking at each other, shaking our heads, like we had just come out of a shared fever dream." See more »
As the Bunch begin their walk toward the final shootout, they are walking facing the camera and Dutch's shotgun is on his right shoulder with the sling facing skyward. Immediately upon passing the camera, as it films them from behind, Ernie's shotgun is still on his right shoulder but with the sling facing downward. 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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There comes a point at which every man reaches the end of the road and is forced to make a decision. Fade away, or go out in a blaze of glory. It goes without saying that the main characters of this film chose the latter. Sam Peckinpah's classic western is the tale of a gang of outlaws who see the world they know slipping away all around them. Scores are getting more dangerous. Technology is making killing too easy. Still they fight on, because they simply wouldn't have it any other way.
William Holden plays a man named Pike Bishop. He and his gang of outlaws hit banks, trains, you name it. They stick together no matter how thick things get. After a failed attempt at a bank robbery in which nearly an entire town is gunned down, the gang sets out to steal a shipment of new guns from the US Army and sell them to a Mexican general. But this will not be an easy score. Not only will they have to fend of US soldiers, but the railroad has hired a former member of their gang named Deke Thornton and a bunch of sloppy bounty hunters to stop them. Also, the Mexican general is a dangerous man with hundreds of men at his disposal. Pancho Villa and his army are also in the area. Bullets are going to fly, and fly they do.
From the opening shot of children torturing a couple scorpions to death by feeding them to a colony of ants, this film makes its point very thoroughly about violence. In this shot we see efficient killers overwhelmed by an army of a weaker species of animal. The scorpions are a metaphor for Pike and his gang. Outnumbered at every turn, they are still a handful for those who would try to hunt them down.
Pike and his men are able to pull off the score and deliver the guns to the general. But they don't go riding off happily into the sunset like the heroes of a traditional western. Their story could never end that way. Knowing that their way of life is coming to an end, and knowing that one of the gang is being tortured by the general, Pike calls the remaining members together. "Let's go," he simply tells them. Each man knows what this means. They grab every gun they own and all the ammunition they can carry. Then they take a nice stroll down the main street of the general's compound to pay him and his army a little visit. The resulting gun battle has to be seen to be believed.
Once the shooting stops, there is an odd; sad feeling that settles over the compound. The bounty hunters show up when the vultures do. The sight of his former companions' dead bodies slumped over the backs of horses is too much for Thornton to bear. You know he would have rather been there by their side during the battle, and now he cannot bring himself to claim the reward for their hides. He simply sits down in the dirt as the survivors of the compound quietly file out and an ominous wind begins blowing through the dusty streets. Moments later it's his turn to make a choice. You can't help but feel he made the right one.
The Wild Bunch is an incredible film. If ever a film was ahead of it's time, this is it. See it! 10 of 10 stars.
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