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Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)

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Pat Garrett is hired as a lawman on behalf of a group of wealthy New Mexico cattle barons to bring down his old friend Billy the Kid.

Director:

Sam Peckinpah

Writer:

Rudy Wurlitzer
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Coburn ... Pat Garrett
Kris Kristofferson ... Billy The Kid
Richard Jaeckel ... Sheriff Kip McKinney
Katy Jurado ... Mrs. Baker
Chill Wills ... Lemuel
Barry Sullivan ... Chisum
Jason Robards ... Governor Wallace
Bob Dylan ... Alias
R.G. Armstrong ... Ollinger
Luke Askew ... Eno
John Beck ... Poe
Richard Bright ... Holly
Matt Clark ... J.W. Bell
Rita Coolidge ... Maria
Jack Dodson ... Howland
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Storyline

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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Best of enemies. Deadliest of friends.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for western violence and sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 May 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid See more »

Filming Locations:

Durango, Mexico

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,638,783 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,000,000, 31 December 1973
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1988 restored) | (2005 DVD Special Edition) | (Cut theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

One copy of the uncut movie, before James Aubrey's censors work was done, was stolen from the projection booth of the screen test room, and that allowed the uncut version, that we now know, to survive and being able to be shown to audiences. See more »

Goofs

When Alias tells Billy "He 's coming in", the position of Billy's hands and the way he is holding the glass change between shots. See more »

Quotes

Lemuel: You made me have a bowel movement in my britches. I ain't never gonna forgive you for that.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Television version had violence and nudity cut and new scenes added. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Show Me Something Else (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by Bob Dylan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A rich, haunting, yet demanding work...
7 July 2000 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Peckinpah's "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" is a rich, haunting, yet demanding work that, above everything else, sees Billy as a creature of his day and age…

He is by no means made a wholly sympathetic character, but who was sympathetic in the New Mexico of 1881? Peckinpah has most of his characters dyed with violence and sniffing the prevailing air of corruption—the chief protagonists, their filthy henchmen, even the onlookers…

Where and what is the law? No one seems to know or care… Garrett and Billy have seen both sides, like almost everyone else…

And among the confusion and violence that is the legacy of range war there is no gleam of purifying light in the efforts we see being made to clean up the territory… The powers that be want Billy out of New Mexico, not for ethical reasons, but rather so that things can be neatly protected for the approaching business exploitation…

Garrett is the man made sheriff to hunt him down and thereby the man who compromises . . . 'This country's getting older and I aim to grow old with it ... there's an age in a man's life when he has to consider what's going to happen next.'

But Billy can't compromise… It's not his way… "Billy, they don't like you to be so free!" proclaims the Bob Dylan theme song, summing up why the power men find Billy so irritating… Perhaps that's why Garrett who has sold out to power is in some ways a reluctant hunter… He salutes Billy's spirit—his very own personal declaration of independence—but he knows it's not the spirit of the new times…

It says much for Peckinpah's way with actors that he gets such admirable performances out of the comparatively inexperienced Kris Kristofferson, as Billy, and Bob Dylan, as Billy's mate… It says just as much for his Westerns perceptiveness that he relies even more heavily on experience… The well-tried James Coburn is both solid and hard to define as Garrett… And then there are the others who know their way around Westerns so well—Katy Jurado, Slim Pickens, R. G. Armstrong, Jason Robards, Jack Elam, Chill Wills… There's not a single performance here that isn't a rounded-off portrait in its own right…

It all adds up to a richness in characterization that is matched by the richness of marvelously composed scenes in which interiors and exteriors alike have been put together with loving care and attention to detail, whether it's a big set-piece 'shoot-up' or a close-up of a can of preserves—how such a can looked in 1881…

Garrett's hunt for Billy is told mainly in set-pieces and it has to be said that Peckinpah makes little narrative concession to an audience in the way they are strung together… But for the out and out Western fan this is a most memorable movie…


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