Thursday, Oct 2020
Director: George Roy Hill
Screenwriters: William Goldman
Length: 110 minutes
Released: 1969

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid posterA closing of the west Western: The old ways of robbing banks and trains are ineffectual in the modernizing America of 1900. Foreseeing the paving of the West, the bicycle salesman proclaims; "The horse is dead". Implicit in the salesman's declaration is that the cowboy way of life is gone. This truth becomes clear to Butch (Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford) when their robbery and getaway tricks no longer work in the United States. After the rest of the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang is killed by detectives, they go to South America, effectively acknowledging that the wildness of the American West is gone. In South America, the fellers resume their success as bank robbers. But Boliva and South America are also changing and time finally catches up with the boys. At the end, Butch suggests Australia as their next adventure.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is an early buddy movie. Like the many Lethal Weapon-type buddy flicks that followed, the pals whistle past every graveyard. Their banter, written smartly by William Goldman, is quick and easy. When not robbing or running, the boys are hanging out with gal-pal, Etta Place (Katherine Ross). She is a traditional Western woman at first sight, a checkered dress-wearing school marm. Closer examination reveals her to be a more liberated woman (suitable for the year 1969, when the film was made).

The cinematography is delightful. Set in and around Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains (map), beautiful vistas and sweeping valleys are showcased as Butch and Sundance make a getaway from the unseen stock detective; Joe Lafors. The film reminisces of the good old days by using sepia tones. At the beginning, the sepia blossoms to color as the legend of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang comes to life, then it retreats back to sepia as the story ends.

The chemistry between Paul Newman and Robert Redford works and they are believable as inseparable buds. It is hard to imagine a better film made by Newman and Steve McQueen (it is said that McQueen walked away from the role because he did not like the way his name would appear in the credits). Anyway, the movie is very good. We tally it as a must see.

Cast:

  • Paul Newman....Butch Cassidy (Robert Leroy Parker)
  • Robert Redford.... The Sundance Kid (Harry Longbaugh)
  • Katharine Ross.... Etta Place
  • Strother Martin.... Percy Garris
  • Henry Jones.... Bike Salesman
  • Jeff Corey.... Sheriff Steve Bledsoe
  • George Furth.... Woodcock
  • Cloris Leachman.... Agnes
  • Ted Cassidy.... Harvey Logan
  • Kenneth Mars.... Marshal
  • Donnelly Rhodes.... Macon
  • Jody Gilbert.... Big Woman
  • Timothy Scott .... News Carver
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