The Wild Bunch is considered one of the best Westerns of all time, with a cast of an unquestionable strength. This unforgettable adventure of big general shots and fast action definitely deserves to stay in any films compendium. It stars William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson and Jaime Sánchez. According to Vincent Canby, he called the film “very beautiful and the first truly interesting American-made Western in years. It’s also so full of violence –of an intensity that can hardly be supported by the story – that it’s going to prompt a lot of people who do not know the real effect of movie violence (as I do not) to write automatic condemnations of it.”
Ernest Borgnine as Dutch Engstrom
Robert Ryan as Deke Thornton
Edmond O’Brien as Freddie Sykes
Ben Johnson as Tector Gorch/Warren Oates as Lyle Gorch
Jaime Sánchez as Angel
Director Sam Peckinpah opens the film with a group of children who are throwing ants over scorpions and setting fire to the nest, while some robbers disguised as U.S. soldiers arrive at the city. They want to make one last hold-up at the bank before retiring with the booty. When they leave the bank, it occurs a shooting during an anti-alcohol demonstration, among the gang and an unscrupulous bounty hunters (led by Deke Thornton, Pike’s former partner), causing the death of many innocents. Once the gang manages to escape, they realize that the hold-up has gone wrong when they find that there is no money in the sacks. Despite this, they must continue their flight towards a Mexico in war between the army of Mapache and Pancho Villa’s men.
When almost all formulas of Western were used up, Sam uses the genre applying the formula by which characterizes his works: the violence. In this way, anyone could think that The Wild Bunch is a movie out of date.
Thanks to this film, it is occurred a substantial change in the great western genre; the films before this were recreations of historical fact or mere adventures more or less likely, but in The Wild Bunch characters have a past, they have conflicts with law, they are able to show as much aggressiveness as solidarity or friendship: they are, in short, humans.
Wonderfully filmed, with an unforgettable soundtrack, The Wild Bunch is a heart-rending film about honor and camaraderie. There are many extraordinary scenes that remain in history like the final walk of Pike Bishop, Dutch Engstrom, Lyle and Tector Gorch Gorch towards the end of their destiny. It is advisable to see it in original version with subtitles because in this film characters speak both English and Spanish.
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