Directed By: George Roy Hill
Written By: William Goldman
Staring: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin, and Ted Cassidy
“Who are those guys?”
I remember meeting the age where my mom decided it was acceptable to watch robber and gangster movies. She had already subjected me to enough Robert Redford and Paul Newman movies for me to know that these guys were the best actors of their time, but I had not seen The Sting yet which came out later in 1973, and so didn’t know the onscreen chemistry they had. That was until she asked me to watch Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, that even today remains one of my favorite films of all time. This charming movie will remain a highlight in the history of films.
Butch and Sundance (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) lead the criminal group called The Hole In the Wall Gang. Butch is a thinker, while Sundance is a doer. Butch and Sundance have robbed too many trains and now they have a group of specially trained trackers following and hunting them down. It becomes obvious they aren’t going to get rid of the men tracking them. Butch realizes their luck has finally run out and makes the plan to go to Bolivia. However it isn’t long before they are up to their same old tricks and become just as notorious in Bolivia.
This Western is different from others in it’s genre by straying from the typical focus on violence. Instead it takes a light hearted turn towards comedy and an exciting adventure with modern music as it’s soundtrack. The beautiful song Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, by Burt Bacharach captures of the sweetest and most light hearted scenes in the film. The story, while does carry a serious tone, has no problem making fun of some of the typical western flick beats. It balances it’s own comedy while still also focusing on the serious elements of the story.
The compelling cinematography by Conrad Hall won an Oscar and is visually stunning. From some vast and open landscape shots to closeups of Butch and Sundance, the overall feel of the film is both beautiful and gritty. Adding to the onscreen excitement was the superstar Paul Newman was a bonafide star this point, but Robert Redford had only played a few previous roles.
Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid is a film that has lasted already lasted almost forty years and is still revered as one of the greatest movies of all time. Forty more years from now it will still be regarded as such. And forever it will be adored in my own heart and mind as one of my favorite films of all time.
“You just keep thinking Butch, that’s what you do best.” -Sundance
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