Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

"Essential"

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid Review


Calling Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid a great Western is like calling Dom Perignon a really great bottle of grape juice. Yeah, that's correct, but you're missing the point entirely.

Butch and Sundance is more than a Western: It's an iconic, American experience, a classic adventure tale, and a singular slice of late-'60s moviemaking that has never really been repeated. The story is a surprisingly, "mostly" accurate tale of two of history's best-known outlaws. The film comprises two major sequences: First, the duo robs a series of trains on the frontier, then spends a lengthy amount of time on the run from the hired guns the railroad is paying to hunt them down. The heat gets so severe that it leads them to the second sequence: Self-imposed exile to dingy Bolivia, where they rob banks instead, only to have the federales try to hunt them down. The final moments of the film are unforgettable.

Director George Roy Hill uniting of Paul Newman (Butch) and Robert Redford (Sundance) is magically delicious. (He'd repeat that with The Sting, several years later.) The way they play off of each other is nothing short of perfect, and the addition of Katharine Ross as Sundance's girlfriend is like icing on the cake. She's tolerant and patient, the perfect counterpart to the brash men she has to contend with... when they can be bothered to spend time at home, that is.

I'd be remiss in not mentioning the unforgettable, clipped, Mamet-like dialogue courtesy of one of William Goldman's finest screenplays. Every line in Butch and Sundance is sharply honed down to its meaty essentials, and not a line is wasted. There's a small sense of stiltedness in the lingo, but, as with Mamet, that somehow makes it more compelling, more real. It makes you yearn for the characters to say more, instead of, as with most films, wishing they'd just shut up.

Then there's the score from, of all people, Burt Bacharach. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" got its start in this movie, which even today is bafflingly inappropriate for a film about gunslingers and train bandits. And yet it's now become so intertwined into the film, along with the jangly piano soundtrack, that it somehow seems to fit. In 1969 this may have bothered audiences looking for a grittier version of the old West, but combined with a face like Ross's and Goldman's dripping, wry pen, it somehow works. Today the score is memorable if only because it is so very different.

As for the historical accuracy of the film, not much is known for certain about the fate of Butch and Sundance, but the film does seem to live up to its promise that it's mostly true. The only real liberty is in the way Butch and Sundance went out of this world: The real-life consensus is that, surrounded by Bolivian police, they committed suicide.

But that would be a sad end for such a classic, classic film.

Fans and newcomers are highly encouraged to check out the new special edition DVD. Disc one has separate commentaries from Hill and Goldman. Disc two is packed with extras: Numerous making-of and retrospective documentaries, trailers, and a deleted scene (which, tragically, is without sound). Highly recommended.



Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th October 1969

Box Office Worldwide: $102.3M

Budget: $6M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Campanile Productions, Newman-Foreman Productions, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 8.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Butch Cassidy, as Sundance Kid, as Etta Place, as Percy Garris, as Bike Salesman, as Sheriff Ray Bledsoe, George Furth as Woodcock, as Agnes, Ted Cassidy as Harvey Logan, as Marshal, Donnelly Rhodes as Macon, Jody Gilbert as Large Woman, Timothy Scott as News Carver, as Fireman, Charles Dierkop as Flat Nose Curry, Pancho Córdova as Bank Manager, Nelson Olmsted as Photographer, Paul Bryar as Card Player #1, as Card Player #2, Charles Akins as Bank Teller, Eric Sinclair as Tiffany's Salesman

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.