Here's how director Sam Peckinpah described his motivation behind The Wild Bunch at the time of the film's 1969 release: "I was trying to tell a simple story about bad men in changing times. The Wild Bunch is simply what happens when killers go to Mexico. The strange thing is you feel a great sense of loss when these killers reach the end of the line." All of these statements are true, but they don't begin to cover the impact that Peckinpah's film had on the evolution of American movies. Now the film is most widely recognized as a milestone event in the escalation... of screen violence, but that's a label of limited perspective. Of course, Peckinpah's bloody climactic gunfight became a masterfully directed, photographed, and edited ballet of graphic violence that transcended the conventional Western and moved into a slow-motion realm of pure cinematic intensity. But the film--surely one of the greatest Westerns ever made--is also a richly thematic tale of, as Peckinpah said, "bad men in changing times." The year is 1913 and the fading band of thieves known as the Wild Bunch (led by William Holden as Pike) decide to pull one last job before retirement. But an ambush foils their plans, and Peckinpah's film becomes an epic yet intimate tale of betrayed loyalties, tenacious rivalry, and the bunch's dogged determination to maintain their fading code of honor among thieves. The 144-minute director's cut enhances the theme of male bonding that recurs in many of Peckinpah's films, restoring deleted scenes to deepen the viewer's understanding of the friendship turned rivalry between Pike and his former friend Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan), who now leads a posse in pursuit of the bunch, a dimension that adds resonance to an already classic American film. The Wild Bunch is a masterpiece that should not be defined strictly in terms of its violence, but as a story of mythic proportion, brimming with rich characters and dialogue and the bittersweet irony of outlaw traditions on the wane. --Jeff Shannon [show more]
A genre that had dominated Hollywood for over 30 years - the Western - was coming to an end. 'The Wild Bunch' by the great Sam Peckinpah is arguably the greatest western ever made. Featuring top class acting, it is a film that represents the violent death of the western. It is a study of American society (containing references to Vietnam)and masculinity (the Bunch is the ultimate boys club), it destroyed all the frontier myths created by the likes of John Ford. With a final scene of extreme violence intercut with freeze frames. The Bunch finally decide to live up to the ideals that William Holden's character, Pike has referred to throughout the film. There is only one way I can finish this review and it is with one word.... "PIKE".
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. Nine men who came too late and stayed too long! This Original Director's Cut restores it to a complete, pristine condition unseen since its July 1969 theatrical debut. The image is letterboxed, the colour renewed, the stereo soundtrack remixed and reintegrated - all to blood-and-thunder effect. Watch William Holden, Earnet Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates and more great stars saddle up for the roles of a lifetime. This DVD also features (on Side B) the home video debut of The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage, the Academy Award nominated 1996 documentary by Paul Seydor and Nick Redman. It includes long-unseen footage of the on-set shooting and reminiscences by principals connected with the film. The year is 1913, just one year short of World War 1. Disguised as U.S. soldiers, a gang rides into a Texas border town. Silently, they enter and rob the railroad company, but an ambush lies in wait. When the gang emerges, the company's hired gunmen open fire. Men, women, and children are caught in the crossfire. The gang escape to their hideout in the desert where they find that the loot they fought so hard is worthless. With the railroad company hard on their heels, the gang, lead by Pike, head for the apparent safety of the Mexican revolutionaries and representatives of the ruling Government. As a result of these separate meetings, Pike and his gang are forced to re-examine the principles that had, until then, ruled their lives. Actors William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Strother Martin, Jaime Sanchez, L.Q. Jones, Bo Hopkins, Dub Taylor, Emilio Fernandez, Paul Harper, Albert Dekker & Edmond O'Brien Director Sam Peckinpah Certificate 18 years and over Year 1969 Screen Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Languages English - Dolby Digital (5.1) Subtitles English ; Arabic ; English for the heard of hearing Duration 2 hours 18 minutes (approx)
The director's cut of the bloody, violent western from one of the masters of the genre, Sam Peckinpah. In 1913, a gang of outlaws (William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and Robert Ryan, amongst others) ride into a Texan border town where the railroad office is their target. The robbery turns into a blood-bath so the gang flee to a desert hideout where they discover that their loot is worthless. With the railroad company's hired guns snapping at their heels, they decide to escape to the apparent safety of the Mexican revolutionaries.