The Wild Bunch

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Deal Score0

Director Sam Peckinpah’s film The Wild Bunch is a powerful tale of hang-dog desperados bound by a code of honor. It is said that The Wild Bunch rates as one of the all-time greatest Westerns, perhaps one of the greatest of all essential video
One of the best action movies ever made, in a cleaned-up print restoring crucial parts of the story. No cavalry ever rode in with more epochal impact than the Wild Bunch in the legendary opening scene. Their s… More >>

The Wild Bunch

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  1. This has to be the most overrated film I’ve seen in a long time. The directing is atrocious! The acting is far below what these actors are capable of, and this is certainly the result of the poor directing. The story is choppy and the whole thing lifeless. Don’t waste your money–it’s not even worth the shipping charge even if you can get it for less than a dollar. To call this thing a classic is beyond belief!
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. I finally get it – it’s a comedy!

    Most Barcalounger Western fans consider director Sam Peckinpah’s western to be a seminal work in the genre. I guess this is because Peckinpah depicted people being shot as though they were actually taking a bullet. Prior to this, characters in Westerns would clutch their stomachs, call out for their Mommas and fall to the ground in dramatic Shakespearean fashion. Why critics thought this film was especially groundbreaking probably has to do with the fact that most film critics are lucky if they can make it to the popcorn stand and back without breaking a sweat. In other words, their range of actual experience is semi-limited and seeing somebody get realistically shot seemed new and cool at the time.

    And of course it’s all the rage now to glorify a director of Peckinpah’s “vision”, much like Stanley Kubrick. Movies don’t have to entertain anymore, or make any sense as long as they’re different and The Wild Bunch is different-as far as I know we even have the genre’s first two gay killers in LQ Jones and Strother Martin. Now these two are FUNNY, but not as funny as General Mapache with his finger superglued to the trigger of a Gatling gun. Now THAT was funny!

    Yes, the Western was dying as a genre in 1969 and the characters in the film were dying as viable villains and that does lend itself to overzealous analysis. Thats fine, but over 3600 scene-to-scene cuts/edits goes way past the point of reasonableness. It leaves the viewer dizzy in the wake of a director’s blatant self-indulgence and disregard for his audience and honestly it’s just plain tiresome to watch.

    My Opinion: Overrated with a capital “O” as well as overlong. I will give credit to the director for his obvious passion for creativity, but does it work-NO! Aside from the blood and guts this film’s departure from the tried and true western formula leaves you flat- there aren’t any “good guys” in this movie. There was no one to root for or against-you just don’t care one way or the other. This movie is totally pointless and the director knows this, it’s a joke on the audience exemplified by the whiskey bottle scene where Warren Oates is left holding the empty bottle with nothing to drink- it’s a metaphor for what you are left holding at the end of the movie-NOTHING.

    Even the famous “walk” into Mapache’s compound for the showdown is hilarious…with shotguns casually cradled in their arms and a dumb grin on their face these guys look more like they’re going duck hunting, not marching to their almost inevitable demise. “Glory through stupidity” is what I think the director is trying to convey in this scene.

    And although the big gun fight may have been groundbreaking at the time, I find it just doesn’t make this movie into a classic all by itself. The entire rest of this film is mediocre at best. The bridge scene is the clear highlight of the film but where are the multiple camera angles when you really need them? Not only is this NOT the greatest Western of all time, and not even close to being one of the top 50 Westerns ever made, it’s not even Peckinpah’s best Western – that honor belongs to “Ride the High Country,” a much less grotesque and far superior film.

    Final analysis: It’s a joke on the public and the critics, all who refuse to say anything negative about this film. The final shoot out is hysterical and it offers William Holden’s best line of the movie…”Bitch.” Take a cue from Edmund O’Brien and Robert Ryan in the final scene….they’re laughing along with the rest of the cast via flashbacks and so am I at anyone who thinks this is some sort of masterpiece. Is it creative film making-yes, does it pass for entertainment-NO, is it any good-Hell NO! To those of you that insist this is the “greatest western of all time” I submit you don’t know a hell of a lot about westerns. My suggestion to you all is to go rent the Trinity series, Lucky Luke, and Zachariah-you’ll find them just as appealing as they are stupid and irrelevant, much like the Wild Bunch. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid while you’re out, it’s even worse. 2 black cats
    Rating: 2 / 5

    Rating: 1 / 5

  4. One should never confuse “first” with “best.” Some reviewers seem to have done that. Peckinpah has put together a good movie, and was the first to put togather a “ballet of bullets.” But other directors have done better. The movie is just too long and meandering; too many diversions from the theme.

    Interestingly, the scenes that stick in my mind are the mini-metaphor of the scorpions overcome by the ants, and the woman shooting one of the Wild Bunch in the back.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  5. The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)

    I will readily admit that my confusion over the prominence of The Wild Bunch in the annals of film criticism probably stems from my having bought into the hype. When I hear people wax poetic about the movie, one thing always comes to the surface sooner or later–the previously unheard-of level of violence in the movie. Here I was expecting something… different; even the tamest giallo lords it over The Wild Bunch in terms of violence. Mario Bava was doing it years before. What makes Peckinpah’s opus so special? Not the violence.

    The other thing that seems to come up often is that Peckinpah’s version of the west is decidedly different than that which had been offered before, but again I head back to Italy, and this time flog the dead horse of Sergio Leone, whose westerns were riddled with grey areas long before this.

    Okay, so Peckinpah was the first guy to do it in America. And it got John Wayne pretty mad. (But, really, he was already mad at Clint Eastwood for the Leone movies.) But from every other standpoint–plot, characters, pacing, cinematography, direction–Peckinpah has done better. (The pinnacle came three years later with Straw Dogs.) It’s not bad, but don’t go into it expecting one of the greatest films of all time, or you’re bound to be disappointed. ***
    Rating: 3 / 5

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