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The Wild Bunch (1969)

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An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them.

Director:

Sam Peckinpah

Writers:

Walon Green (screenplay), Sam Peckinpah (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
2,255 ( 189)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Holden ... Pike Bishop
Ernest Borgnine ... Dutch Engstrom
Robert Ryan ... Deke Thornton
Edmond O'Brien ... Freddie Sykes
Warren Oates ... Lyle Gorch
Jaime Sánchez ... Angel (as Jaime Sanchez)
Ben Johnson ... Tector Gorch
Emilio Fernández ... Mapache (as Emilio Fernandez)
Strother Martin ... Coffer
L.Q. Jones ... T.C
Albert Dekker ... Harrigan
Bo Hopkins ... Crazy Lee
Dub Taylor ... Wainscoat
Paul Harper Paul Harper ... Ross
Jorge Russek ... Zamorra
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Storyline

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 blazesnakes9

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They came too late and stayed too long. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Mexico

Language:

English | Spanish | German

Release Date:

7 August 1969 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Divlja horda See more »

Filming Locations:

Bavispe, Sonora, Mexico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,244,087 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$638,641, 31 December 1995
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(director's cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| DTS (1995 re-release)| Dolby Digital (1995 re-release)| Mono (35 mm prints)| SDDS (1995 re-release)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There is a mention of Sam Peckinpah screening an eight-hour version of the film for studio executives who were anxious about his being over budget and late finishing it. See more »

Goofs

When Lyle and Tector are shooting at the wine casks, the slide on Lyle's gun is locked indicating the gun is empty. However, shots are still heard. In the 1995 re-release version this has been corrected. Only one shot is heard after the slide locks on Lyle's .45, and that shot comes from Tector's revolver. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[indistinct voices]
Rev. Wainscoat: 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?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The second domestic version (sometimes called the American version) is missing all the material just described and runs about 135 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Taxi Driver (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Polly Wolly Doodle
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the bounty hunters as they leave Agua Verde
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Brutal and elegiac masterpiece.
4 March 2008 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Outlaws led by Pike Bishop on the Mexican-U.S. frontier face not only the passing of time, but bounty hunters {led by a former partner of Pike, Deke Thornton} and the Mexican army as well.

In 1969 Sam Peckinpah picked up the torch that Arthur Penn lit with 1967's Bonnie & Clyde, and literally poured gasoline on it to impact on cinema to the point that the shock wave is still being felt today. The death of the Motion Picture Production Code in 1967 ushered in a new era for cinema goers, it was a time for brave and intelligent directors to step up to the plate to deliver stark and emotive thunder, and with The Wild Bunch, director Sam Peckinpah achieved this by the shed load.

The Wild Bunch doesn't set out to be liked, it is a harsh eye opening perception of the Western genre, this is the other side of the coin to the millions of Westerns that whoop and holler as the hero gets the girl and rides off into the sunset. The Wild Bunch thematically is harshly sad for the protagonists, these are men out of their time, this is a despicable group of men, driven by greed and cynicism, they think of nothing to selling arms to a vile amoral army across the border.

The film opens with a glorious credit sequence as we witness the Bunch riding into town, the picture freeze frames in black & white for each credit offering, from here on in we know that we are to witness something different, and yes, something very special. The film is book-ended by carnage, and sandwiched in the middle is an equally brilliant train robbery, yet the impact of these sequences is only enhanced because the quality of the writing is so good (Walon Green and Roy N. Sickner alongside Peckinpah). There's no pointless discussions or scene filling explanations of the obvious. Each passage, in each segment, is thought thru to gain credibility for the shattering and bloody climax. There is of course one massive and intriguing question that hangs over the film; how did Peckinpah make such low moral men appear as heroes? Well I'm not here to tell you that because you need to witness the film in its entirety for yourself. But it's merely one cheeky point of note in a truly majestic piece of work. A film that even today stands up as one of the greatest American films ever made. 10/10


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