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
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 »
At least twice in the movie, characters refer to Gen. Huerta as the president of Mexico. This would place the time period between early spring of 1913 and the summer of 1914. However, when Sikes is telling his colleagues about a "flying machine", Pike informs them that he heard the machines would be used in "the war", which would place the time period late 1914, after Huerta had been overthrown. Also, at least twice during the film a character refers to Pancho Villa indicating he was a major figure in the rebellion against Huerta. During the revolt Gen. Venustiano Carranza was the leading rebel; Villa was a minor figure, although he did ally his forces with those of Carranza (he also later led a rebellion against Carranza after Huerta was overthrown). Mentioning Villa's name may have been an attempt to place a well-known name before the audience to give them an historical context. 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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