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"The Wild Bunch" is Sam Peckinpah's violent western about a group of outlaws who battle Mexicans south of the border. William Holden leads a strong cast in this film inwhich the western gerne is rewritten. I saw "The Wild Bunch" few times on AMC and I was amazed by the movie. Watch the first fifteen minutes of the film and you're hook.
A violent, gritty western that follows a band of outlaws led by Pike Bishop (William Holden) and the group of deputies for the railroad that is trying to catch them, led by Bishop's former friend, Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan). After a big hit on the railroad doesn't go as planned, Bishop's gang heads for the Mexican border, looking for safety and another chance at one last big score before the march of progress catches up with them and forces them out of the business.
Some westerns are appropriate for kids (most of John Wayne's westerns are, but not all), but I would say that The Wild Bunch is not one of them. Not only is there the usual western-style shootouts between the good guys and bad guys, the movie starts out with a brutal shootout in the middle of a town where innocent bystanders are not spared in the bloodshed. Additionally, there are multiple scenes involving female nudity and sexual references that would make any parent of young children uncomfortable. By no means are the scenes out of place for the movie, but it's just not something that most children need to see until they are older.
That said, this is a good story, but not a great one. Even though the movie was nominated for an Academy Award for its screenplay, I thought that it meandered at times, and perhaps could have used some judicious editing without sacrificing the flow of the story and its characters.
Unlike many tamer westerns, not everyone rides off into the proverbial sunset and has their happy ending. This is a good thing, as it makes a statement all its own, both about the American West at the time and the consequences of one's actions.
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