- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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An Overrated Waste
- David H.
This film and its director were vastly overrated. All it has is two gorefests at the beginning and end with little of substance in between. Only Robert Ryan brings any semblance of class to this cinematic waste. Peckinpah never did have much of a career with Ride The High Country probably his best film mainly because of fine performances by Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea.
The Wild Bunch
- Michael Whitty
One of the bloodiest of westerns "The Wild Bunch" at least does it artfully with slow-motion often as we see a group of Americans go against Mexican authorities. Willaim Holden and his gang of killers vs.Robert Ryan and his bounty hunters gives us some confusion as to who are the good guys. The beginning has an epic fight scene and the ending has more of an epic fight scene. Violence is a way of life here but it is impressively done as we see this story played out artistically with some old pros in front of the cameras.
Great movie, but not a *good* movie
- Peter F
Just watched The Wild Bunch for the first time. I went into it with high expectations, but was disappointed. The biggest drawback for me was that I didn't enjoy the action or dialogue or character development as much as I wanted to. I did appreciate the clever symbolism and cinematography (superb use of slow mo) and all that stuff, but just couldn't get into the characters, the flow of the story, or the action. In several of the key action scenes, I had trouble figuring out who was who---which perhaps actually reinforces the point of the film, I suppose, but it just didn't work for me. I even muttered aloud several times, "What a mess." (I checked the runtime to make sure TCM is showing the restored director's cut, and it is. Some reviewers over the years had complained that a shorter version of the film had undermined the background context for the Holden-Ryan relationship.)Often after watching a film, I'm left thinking, "That was a good movie, but not a GREAT movie." The Wild Bunch leaves me thinking, "That was a great movie, but not a GOOD movie." (Citizen Kane strikes me the same way.) I wish that in addition to hitting all his artistic marks, Peckinpah had also along the way made a movie that drew me in as a work of entertainment all well as a work or art. Somehow it's like a Dali painting to me: I appreciate the brilliance of the art but wouldn't want a copy of it hanging on my wall.Contrast that with Tombstone, which I'll gladly grant does not have nearly the same literary and visual artistry of The Wild Bunch, but which I find a far more entertaining Western---with satisfying action, character development that really worked for me, memorable dialogue, and several superb performances, notably Val Kilmer as Doc.
- kevin sellers
There are two big villains running through all of Peckinpah's films; modern life (basically, anything that has taken place after 1900) and guys in suits. "Wild Bunch," of course, is concerned with the first category. The entire movie is a paean to "yesterday," as opposed to today and tomorrow. Basically, you have four guys; Pike, Dutch, and the Gorch brothers, going down to Mexico to preserve the past, thinking that in that magic land they can freeze time. Naturally, they are doomed to fail, as will Deke and old man Sykes, who live on after them. You may not agree that modernity is evil. I certainly don't. But there is no denying the visual and emotional force that Peckinpah brings to this film in an attempt to convince you. Oh, and by the way, the movie works without all the foregoing pretentious philosophizing as simply a fast paced, action packed western! Finally, even admitting its defects, like the romanticizing of violence and its general tone of operatic bombast, it's hard to dislike a film with actors like William Holden, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, and Robert Ryan in top form. Give it an A minus. P.S. Beautiful, somber photography by Lucien Ballard.
What A real Western Is!!
Absolute favorite western of all time. Of course it's a Peckinpah! Straw Dogs is another Peckinpah movie I'd like to see played on TCM
The Greatest Western Ever Made
I was going to summer school in San Antonio in 1969 and had the afternoon off. So I decided to go to the movies. A fan of Westerns, I bought a ticket to The Wild Bunch. I thought by the title it was going to be a cheesy B movie with some over the hill actors, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan. I was wrong. A cinematic masterpiece that I have seen at least 20 times. Breathtaking and beautiful, and extremely violent all at the same time. The ensemble cast is perfection down to the last Mexican gangsta. So many great scenes. The train robbery, the bridge explosion, the out of control machine gun in El Jefe's compound and of course the final shootout often imitated but never equalled in all its bloody bravura violence.An absolutely flawless work.
The Wild Bunch
- Dashiell Barnes
Set in 1913, the end of the outlaw era, this film enters the realm of cinema greatness. Fine ensemble acting, especially from Ryan as a former outlaw-turned-bounty hunter & Fernandez as a repulsive Mexican general. For years this films violence has overshadowed it's Oscar-nominated story that deals with ageing, betrayal & changing times, and the Oscar-nominated editing makes the slow-motion shootouts all the more graphic. The perfect film for those with both intelligence & raging blood lust. I give it a 4.5/5.
Wild Bunch 2nd Best Western Ever
Next to Shane, the Wild Bunch is the best Western ever made. Portrayals by all actors are excellent.
The Wild Bunch
- Bruce Reber
It's the early 20th century in the Old American West, and the outlaw gangs have all but vanished. But one of them, led by William Holden as Pike Bishop, is hanging tough and looking to make one last big score. Robert Ryan gives one of his best performances as ex-convict Deke Thornton, who with his posse must track down and find Bishop's gang or else go back to jail. Ernest Borgnine, Ben Johnson and Warren Oates are great in their roles as Bishop's gang members, as is Edmond O'Brien as the whacked-out ex-gunfighter Sykes. Sam Peckinpah was a director well ahead of his time, and "The Wild Bunch" is probably the best example of his directorial style and technique. TWB begins and ends with ultra-violent massacre scenes in which both outlaws and innocents are killed. Peckinpah doesn't try to show an idealized Old West as so many other directors have done. Instead he presents it as it really was, as a brutally violent and unforgiving place. TWB features excellent photography by Lucien Ballard and ominous music score by Jerry Fielding, and is one of the all-time greatest (unquestionably the most violent) Westerns. Four Stars!
Violent, but a great movie
Yes, this is a violent movie but violence was a way of life for the characters portrayed in this film. So look past the violence, and you'll find this is a fascinating story (even with the sad ending), great music score, interesting use of flashbacks (e.g. when the Holden and Ryan characters were recalling the same event), excellent performances by all. Hardly recognized Edmond O'Brien with the facial hair and gruff voice! Ernie Borgnine gave a great performance as a comparatively decent guy, even if he was an outlaw, except when he let Angel take the rap. I highly recommend this film.
- John Cairncross
The cinematography is just as outstanding as it was in 1969 on the big screen. A master piece of cinema that deserved every one of the awards earned. Sam Peckinpah showed his genius with his use of slow motion. Thank you TCM for resurrecting this wonderful piece of cinema history. The cast is magnificent. A group of veteran first rate performers. Bravo.
- John Millar
I saw this film upon it's release in NYC. This slo-mo blood-bath ballad was quite new for it's time. It was the first time such graphic violence was portrayed like this. I have noticed the throat-slashing scene is not shown in some re-runs of this film. This scene just floored me! Great movie! A CLASSIC!!
First saw this on it's original release,I still ,after 43 years,consider this the single best film I have ever seen,and William Holden's best work.
Slow mo action......best ever!
- liam o'kelly
I saw this film on T.V. when I was around 11 or 12 at my grandmother's house in rural Arkansas. Believe this, it was the best western film I had ever seen (and still is) and sure made my trip there that weekend!!! Thinking back, I waaaanted to jump into the film with Warren Oates ( who I love) and help him mow down those scumbags, since I admired their loyality to their friendo! It goes without saying that this film was perfectly cast and was Mr. Peckinpah's finest work(which is saying alot since I love Steve McQueen in the" The Getaway "which is a close second tp this film) of his career! Check it out!
The greatest wetsern ever made
- Chris Dalton
When I saw Sam Peckinpah's classic horse opera for the first time - the 15th Anniversary of it - I was literally floored by its multi-dimensional story, the remarkable acting, and most of all, the ultraviolence the film depicted. This western is definately the greatest western ever made for the cinema. Forget all the others. If you want a realistic depiction of the west and the changing times, this film is the one to watch.
True it was before The Godfather but after Bonnie and Clyde (1967)Sam Peckinpah saw Bonnie and Clyde and sorta made the Wild Bunch and nade it into a western
The Wild Bunch
I remember going to see this with my older brother in the theater. It was the most violent movie I had ever seen! I remember how shaken I was after it and how I couldn't forget it. It left a lasting impression on me. This came out before the Godfather and before Bonnie and Clyde. With all the censors of the day this was a shockingly violent film. Very well acted and a tremendous cast.
The Sam Pekinpah classic of all time
Pekinpah said he was a student of violence because he was a student of the human heart. This movie forever changed the way violence is filmed and leaves the viewer shocked and shaken. The acting is superb, especially from Holden and Borgnine. It's a brutally honest movie that deals with loyalty in an unforgettable way.
The best western ever made!