It's 1913, and the "traditional" American West is dying. Amongst the inhabitants of this dying era are a gang known as "the wild bunch." After a failed railroad office robbery, the gang heads to Mexico to do one last job. Seeing their times and lives drifting away in the 20th century, the gang takes the job and ends up in a brutally violent last stand against their enemies deemed to be corrupt, in a small Mexican town ruled by a ruthless general.Written by
According to Susan Compo in her biography, "Warren Oates: A Wild Life", Bo Hopkins had not worked with blood squibs before. For the scene in which he is shot during the railroad office hold-up, he was hooked up to copper wire holding powder capsules. "They'd been putting wires on me all day, all up my legs and on my chest. They asked me if I wanted to wear a T-shirt, and I said, 'Oh no, I want to feel it so I can react,' Like a dummy, I didn't know they went off and caused blisters." See more »
The machine gun used at the end of the film is a Browning model 1917, the film is supposedly circa 1913 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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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. See more »
Shall We Gather at the River?
Written by Robert Lowry
Played by the Temperance Union Band in the shootout at Starbuck See more »
A great period western...
Critics of Sam Peckinpah generally focus on the gore and violence in his films. "The Wild Bunch" will probably not assuage these critics, but the violence is not gratuitous. In fact, it is almost perfectly meshed in this story of a group of outlaws held together by some frail and some strong bonds who realize that their era - and probably their lives - are almost at an end. The story also deals with a man (Robert Ryan) who was wounded and forced out of the gang, and who must now capture and kill his friend (William Holden), with no option other than to succeed. This film is also about loyalty, choice and honor, and is carried by surprisingly strong acting and writing. Yes the violence is on a large scale (which seems to be commonplace for films portraying the Mexican Revolution), but it is completely in place with these characters and the era in which they live. This is not always a pleasant film to watch, but it is very rewarding, and may be the best film Peckinpah made.
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