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The Wild Bunch (1969) Poster

Alternate Versions

There have been at least four different "official" versions of The Wild Bunch since its initial release in 1969. Thanks to Paul Seydor, author of "Peckinpah: The Western Films: A Reconsideration" (1980, rev. ed. 1997: University of Illinois Press) for the following data:
The cinema version was cut by around 10 secs for an 'X' rating by the BBFC to shorten the climactic machine gun shootings and Angel being dragged behind the car. All later releases were restored and uncut.
For the original theatrical release, the Ontario Board of Film Censors wanted four minutes cut from the movie in order to be suitable for a "Restricted" rating. After extensive negotiations with the director and producer, it was agreed that only thirty seconds would be cut.
The complete film, and the only version to which Peckinpah ever lent his wholehearted imprimatur, is the European version of 1969, which is 145 minutes long and contains: the flashback showing how Thornton was captured; (2) the flashback showing how Pike's lover, Aurora, was killed and he himself wounded; (3) the scene in the desert that establishes Crazy Lee is Sykes's grandson and that Pike deliberately abandoned him in the opening robbery; (4) the raid by Villa on Mapache as he awaits the telegram; (5) the aftermath of Villa's raid in Agua Verde; and (6) about a minute's worth of the festivities at night in Angel's village.
The first domestic version is essentially identical except for the removal of the Aurora flashback, which Peckinpah agreed to, albeit with great reluctance; this version runs about 143 minutes.
The second domestic version (sometimes called the American version) is missing all the material just described and runs about 135 minutes.
The 1995 restoration, which runs 144 minutes and 24 seconds, returns to the European version but drops the intermission, which was originally inserted just before the train robbery, the first half of the film ending with Pike and Dutch on the trail and Pike's line, "This is our last go-round, Dutch, this time we do it right." As the intermission was created in the first place only in response to the European distributor's demand for a roadshow engagement, it has been left out of the restoration. Warner Home Video's current video tape and laserdisc, both widescreen, are from the 1995 restoration, which, despite some claims to the contrary, is to the version that Sam Peckinpah himself prepared and authorized for release in 1969 and it represents his final cut of The Wild Bunch.

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