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Overall Rating
4.69

Awesome85.32%
Worth A Look: 6.42%
Average: 2.75%
Pretty Bad: 2.75%
Total Crap: 2.75%

5 reviews, 79 user ratings


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Wild Bunch, The
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"As close as we've been to a masterpiece in a long time."
5 stars

The western is supposedly dead - finally put out of its misery in 1992 by Unforgiven - not. The cowboy may have exchanged his horse for a BMW, his six-shooter for an exploding pen and his hat for a cool pair of shades, but the mythology of the western looms large over every action picture that comes out of Hollywood.

The action flick has replaced the western mostly because there is no frontier - it is now a post-industrial, urban landscape, where drive-by shootings are followed by the screech of burning rubber rather than the thump of galloping hooves. Films like Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch actually dealt the final blows, and any attempt to revive the western since then has been a desperate trip into nostalgia - Dances with Wolves most definitely included.

Made in 1969, The Wild Bunch is a simple story with complex undertones. Set in 1913, a year before the First World War, a band of outlaws finds itself in a world that no longer understands the concept of honour amongst thieves.

The band is led by Pike (Holden), an aging gun-slinging bandit in search of the elusive 'last job' so that he might retire 'naturally'. His friend Dutch (Borgnine) is totally dedicated to their cause. And this is the irony - one which Peckinpah states and restates in no subtle terms - these guys have no cause, no direction and no purpose. This immediately renders their honour absurd and their lifestyle meaningless.

Moreover the violence which underpins their every waking moment is stripped of its heroism and recast as a self-destructive force. The gorgeous cinematic poetry of many of the violent scenes are continuously undermined as we come to this realisation.

Melancholic and unapologetic, few films have been so self-reflexive about their own generic histories as this one, and even fewer actually have something interesting to say as a result. Restored to the director's preferred cut, this is as close as we've been to a masterpiece in a long time.

The western may indeed be dead, but in The Wild Bunch it most definitely died with its boots on. ---Paul Garcia

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=685&reviewer=14
originally posted: 09/15/98 21:35:17
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User Comments

4/27/16 Ken A wild western classic! 5 stars
5/17/15 stanley welles a glorious and brilliant western 5 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
2/20/15 Chris Jarmick Once edgy groundbreaking still a Western Masterpiece 5 stars
9/05/13 mr.mike A Western classic. 4 stars
3/20/13 Daniel M. Amazing western film 5 stars
4/11/11 action movie fan on second viewing the shootouts were great but hannie calder and posse were better 3 stars
2/23/11 Vlad K. Best film ever made! Peckinpah was a genius! 5 stars
9/19/10 Jack Popular with the little penis crowd 1 stars
3/30/10 PAUL SHORTT VIOLENT BUT EXCITING, STYLISH, WELL MADE AND BRILLIANTLY EDITED 5 stars
9/25/09 george webster The finest western ever made! 5 stars
1/28/08 proper amateur film critic An incredibly involving and exciting piece of cinema 5 stars
11/29/07 M. Epting a sure contender for 'the best western ever made. Holden is spectacular. 5 stars
11/25/07 g webster A classic! One of the best westerns ever.Great acting,great story! 5 stars
6/05/07 John G I saw this film when it first came out and couldn't believe how great it was, and still is. 5 stars
2/11/07 action movie fan not wild about this pointless shoot em up. no story! I don,t care much for westerns anyway 2 stars
1/20/07 AJ Muller This, Unforgiven, and Josey Wales are the best Westerns ever. Period. 5 stars
7/26/06 Sepi53 Top Ten of alltime Westerns 5 stars
5/29/06 J. Garcia One of the best films ever made. 5 stars
12/03/05 Gene Carmean Awesome 5 stars
9/13/05 ray mero Well, yes, the start of the Art of Violence by Maestro Peckinpah, but,c'mon, pure Hollywood 4 stars
9/02/05 mckeown fantastic... 5 stars
8/19/05 ES I appreciate all forms of western for me this one is a classic 5 stars
5/28/05 Strutho The Duke hated it.. Thats good enough for me! 5 stars
3/07/05 Daveman Far better than Leone's crap. 5 stars
3/04/05 Chris Stephens Great Movie!!! 5 stars
2/17/05 Dusty Johnson Great western - right there with Josie Wells. 5 stars
2/09/05 Al Guy A classic western=Dirt and grit and blood and lead. 5 stars
2/01/05 bongeezer OverKill and Kill again.... 4 stars
10/22/04 steve The last word in westerns, no one can match it. 5 stars
9/05/04 DM One of the best westerns ever made 5 stars
8/02/04 J Lamp Incredible film 5 stars
6/27/04 eric one of ten best movies ever made 5 stars
3/05/04 Peter Joly The last great Western. 5 stars
1/24/04 CC Classic..and worth a while ....see Straw Dogs 4 stars
1/12/04 Hans Westerveld masterpiece 5 stars
11/28/03 john unexpectedly powerful the charachters are as strong as the action 5 stars
11/15/03 Ultron One of the greatest westerns.... no one of the greatest films ever made. 5 stars
10/19/03 Alan Thorougly Peckinpah. 5 stars
8/19/03 AD brilliant 5 stars
5/29/03 R.W. Welch Well-acted oater though it veers towards wretched excess. 4 stars
2/11/03 Ultron Perhaps the best western ever. 5 stars
1/11/03 Paul Coleman This is probably the best American film ever made!! Peckinpah was a GOD. 5 stars
10/24/02 Charles Tatum Peckinpah was great, I even loved "Convoy" 5 stars
4/04/02 felipe it is the best film of western and william holden does one of best perfomaces 5 stars
3/27/02 Inci G. Ozay The film was masterfully made. 4 stars
3/20/02 Ben Barka Not as good as everyone pumps it up to be--there's alot of goofy male bonding/sexism/racism 3 stars
2/17/02 Clarance eah 2 stars
12/05/01 Skip Young Over-rated. I've seen it twice to see if maybe I missed something. I don't think I did. 3 stars
12/02/01 Flip Kromer Tarantino got it all from here 5 stars
10/22/01 Stanley Wesolowsky Ph.D. Best western ever made -many modes of laughter 5 stars
9/24/01 JLH Holden is great. 1 of the 3 best westerns ever. True Grit and the Professionals the others 5 stars
9/24/01 Farideh Such an important, impactful film. 5 stars
8/23/01 jerry wiegers one of the top three or four films i have seen in my life and i am 60 now 5 stars
8/18/01 Andrew Carden It Has Alot Of Trouble Getting It's Act Together. 2 stars
6/03/01 Erik North Still one of the most important movie of the 1960s--and it holds up well even now! 5 stars
5/11/01 Pike Bishop Superb 5 stars
5/02/01 mr fork fantastico 5 stars
4/16/01 Chris M. Peckinpah is the master. 5 stars
3/23/01 BigBad Responsible for every action film that followed. Best Ever!!! 5 stars
1/19/01 Marv One of the best movie ever made. I wish the Wild bunch could have rode off as heros. 5 stars
12/13/00 Chris LEACH i thought that the film was absolutely brilliant 5 stars
11/06/00 Y.E.S. I'm not a fan of westerns, but this is a good one. Final shootout is one of the best ever. 4 stars
9/20/00 Jeff Peckinpah's best, damn near flawless 5 stars
4/03/00 PJ The Greatest Western ever made, even better than The Searchers, and Rio Bravo. 5 stars
3/29/00 qbdilbert listen to "let's go..." you'll understand Holden's eyse; his companions do & so do you... 5 stars
3/19/00 Skye Chapman a piece of Americana 5 stars
1/26/00 Jericho a good movie 5 stars
8/19/99 Matthew Bartley Lets go get Angel. Strangely moving 5 stars
8/02/99 Weird Andy Muy Huevos 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson The best film from a great director 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Best western of all time!! 5 stars
11/20/98 little jerry As crucial a film as Psycho.Hitchcock's cool & Peckinpah's heat are the decade defined. 5 stars
11/09/98 Lord Of The Dunce A great "man's movie". But more than that, western genre perfection. 5 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob 'Kill 'em all' A perfect western, oddly enough, born out of the 60's consciousness. 5 stars
9/05/98 pooky the bald It's Peckinpah, man. Shit, what more do ya need? 5 stars
9/04/98 Badass A masterpiece! 5 stars
8/29/98 Johny See it. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  03-Mar-1994 (R)
  DVD: 10-Jan-2006

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