Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)

THE SCOOP
Director: George Roy Hill
Plot: Two Western bank-train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close.

Genre: Adventure/Biography/Drama/Crime/Western
Awards: Won 4 Oscars - best original screenplay, cinematography, score, song. Nom. for 3 Oscars - best picture, director, sound.
Runtime: 110min
Rating: PG for some sexual references, and violence.

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IN RETROSPECT

The popularity of the Western genre owes a great debt to the countless John Ford-John Wayne, Sergio Leo
ne-Clint Eastwood collaborations in the 1950s and 1960s. A Fistful Of Dollars, The Searchers, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - these are some example of films that have attained classic status over the decades. Fast forward to the early 70s, and the scenery has changed. The Western is a fading force, due partly to its nature as a fixed genre, one in which there’s a strict formula to follow. This results in a multitude of movies that look and feel the same, a lazy derivation of one another, and eventually losing its appeal and freshness.

1969. The year the Western said goodbye. But it bade farewell in style. It left us with arguably the best Western ever produced - Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Its unconventionality is its strength. It breaks free from all conventions of the genre, giving viewers a chance to experience new perspectives to filming a Western. Essentially the first 'buddy' film ever made, its influence is phenomenal and is evident in today’s popcorn cinema - Chris Tucker-Jackie Chan (Rush Hour), Will Smith-Tommy Lee Jones (Men In Black) etc.

Directed by George Roy Hill (The Sting), and starring screen legends Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid blends the stylistic hues of a Western with a clever script, great Newman-Redford chemistry, and impressive cinematography. It has relatively minimal action sequences, emphasizing more on inter-character relationships, romance, and the joy of living and fighting for one's right to a way of life. In a way, it's apt to describe it as a Western romantic comedy.

Sam Peckingpah's bloody Western opera, The Wild Bunch, was also released in 1969, and was as equally influential in the way it shaped and redefined violence in films of the 70s. But Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid goes further by showing that the Western is not all that dead and buried. By injecting new elements into the genre such as the witty humor, unusual romance, and with less shoot-'em-up sequences, and not to forget, adding that Oscar-winning song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" in the middle of a Western, there is simply no reason not to love this film.


SCORE: 10/10

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