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It's 1881 in New Mexico, and the times they are a'changing. Pat Garrett, erstwhile travelling companion of the outlaw Billy the Kid has become a sheriff, tasked by cattle interests with ridding the territory of Billy. After Billy escapes, Pat assembles a posse and chases him through the territory, culminating in a final confrontation at Fort Sumner, but is unaware of the full scope of the cattle interests' plans for the New West. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A bent flange on a lens of one of the Panavasion cameras caused all the shots made with that one camera (all of them master shots) to be out of focus on the right side, and thus rendering them totally unusable. Because MGM had refused Sam Peckinpah's request for a camera mechanic to be on duty during the shoot in Durango, and because all the footage was first sent back to Los Angeles for processing, the crew didn't discover the problem for weeks. Only after the faulty lens was replaced did MGM send a camera mechanic down; and by that time, the film was several days over schedule, and several hundred thousand dollars over budget. See more »
As Pat Leaves Fort Sumner, a young boy throws stones at him. In longer shots, Pat and the boy are in shadow, but the close shots of the boy show him in bright sunshine with clear sharp shadows defined. See more »
[after firing a coachgun loaded with 10 cents coins at Deputy Bob Ollinger]
Keep change, Bob!
See more »
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a unique western. Parts of it are just brilliant, other moments are bungled, but it is composed and structured like no other movie from the genre.
Everyone knows the western legend about these two central characters, who went from being friends to sworn adversaries. The leading performances of James Coburn (Garrett) and Kris Kristofferson (Billy) are rather colourless, but the subsidiary characters are beautifully delineated. There are some pretentious moments. For example, near the start Billy is arrested and as he makes his way towards the lawmen who have come to take him, he adopts a Christ-like pose which is presumably meant to signify that he was some kind of martyr among Wild West outlaws (when, in reality, he was probably just a psychopath).
However, there are stunning moments in the film too. In fact, the scene in which Slim Pickens stumbles, wounded and mortally bleeding, to a riverside so that he can die peacefully is arguably the most moving scene ever in a motion picture. The acting, the music and the photography fit together harmoniously to make this a truly magical cinematic moment.
One word of warning: beware of the incoherent, chopped-up 106 minute version of the film. If you're planning to watch it, go for the full 122 minute director's cut, which is immeasurably superior.
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