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

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

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.