A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.
It's 1913, and the "traditional" American West is dying. Among the inhabitants of this dying era are an outlaw gang called "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 newly formed world of 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
Warner Bros. previewed the film and audience reactions were often negative and hostile. Some sample comments were "Do not release this film. The whole thing is sick," and ""The worst potpourri of vulgarity, violence, sex and bloodshed I've seen put together." The studio wired Sam Peckinpah expressing the desire to cut the film further to go for a more positive response. Peckinpah agreed but only to one print to be run in one theatre. The rest of the theatres would show his initial cut. The studio had Phil Feldman cut the required scenes and then released all prints this way. After such a productive relationship with Feldman for so long, Peckinpah felt betrayed. It influenced his outlook on producers from that point on. See more »
When Mapache is standing on the railroad tracks directing the battle against the rebels attacking the town, a soldier standing next to him is shot in the chest and falls face down at his feet. However, in a following shot, from behind Mapache, the dead soldier's body is nowhere to be seen. A few minutes later when Mapache turns around to board the train that is withdrawing from the town, that soldier's body can be seen but another dead soldier who had been lying on his back directly behind Mapache was missing. 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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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. See more »
Peckinpah has a rep and this is the film which provided most of it. I had the privilege of actually seeing this on the big screen once, in the late seventies. As the beginning credits end, Pike (Holden) tells his bunch "If they move, Kill 'em!" Then Peckinpah's credit appears. A woman seated behind me gasped, whispering "oh, no..." Oh, my. It sounded like the lady didn't know she'd wandered into a Peckinpah film and she knew what she was in for. When you enter Peckinpah-land, you need to be prepared. There are no punches pulled, no sidestepping the unpleasant aspects of life. Peckinpah's characters are tough men; I mean, really tough, not phony-Hollywood tough. In this case, they are coarsened by what seems to be years on the trail, blasted by the sun, snapped at by rattlesnakes, and harassed by bandits. And at this point, they've pretty much had it.
Not that they're complaining, mind you. They've lived their lives how they saw fit, this bunch, and they make no apologies for any of it. I believe the actual year is around 1913, just before World War I begins. Most of the action takes place in Mexico, where the Bunch becomes involved with a local general (Fernandez) with the usual delusions of grandeur. If you go by the name of the character Angel, the general can be viewed as a version of the devil. That would make the Bunch avenging angels at the end. But heroes? No, not at all. They have their own code, they know instinctively they're stronger together than on each own, but they reason this concept out also - Peckinpah wants to make sure it's clear these are not unthinking savages. They're just men, who've reached a point in history where they must make a crucial turn. History, it seems, has no real use for them anymore. It's quite simple - they either fade slowly or go out quickly. In a film such as this, with its now insurmountable rep, you tend to wait for those big set pieces, especially the climactic battle. Wait for it, wait for it... here it is. Bam! - you're in Peckinpah territory. You're a part of history.
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