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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 6.72%
Average: 2.52%
Pretty Bad: 2.52%
Total Crap: 3.36%

6 reviews, 83 user ratings

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Wild Bunch, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"Now THIS is a movie!"
5 stars

Ever wonder what became of cowboys? Not the Roy Rogers kind, but the dirty, sweaty, bank-robbing brothel denizens? Did they just get wiped out like the dinosaurs, or was it a gradual and difficult extinction? Well, from the looks of Sam Peckinpah's classic The Wild Bunch, they went down shooting.

An unfortunate thing that happens to classic movies: They get ripped off and cannibalized so often, that they begin to lose the very aspects that made them classics to begin with. I could see watching this movie with an average 17-year old, and hearing comments like "Yeah? So? I see this in any action movie I rent. Big deal." Well, when this was made (1969), graphic violence to this degree was unheard of in movies. The Wild Bunch (and of course Arthur Penn's Bonnie & Clyde) ushered in a revolutionary new style of violent realism. While many felt that this was not a positive thing, it was here to stay. These violent images were simply a reflection of the times and an artistic way for filmmakers to make their points, only with exclamation points instead of periods.

Pike (Holden) and Dutch (Borgnine) lead a dwindling group of outlaws who have been pushed ever-southward thanks to advancements in law enforcement and burgeoning civilization. The year is 1913, and these criminals are aging quickly. Their last big heist turns out to be a waste of time, and now they have a gang of hired guns out to get them. The leader of the posse is Deke Thornton (Ryan) who is forced to kill them or return to the tortorous Yuma prison. The fact that Deke used to ride with this gang makes it a lot more interesting. On one hand, he knows how Pike and his gang operate. On the other, he still feels a sense of loyalty to these guys, even though he has no choice but to confront them.

The Wild Bunch is an action movie that makes no apologies for the violence it depicts. This untamed and wild breed of man is slowly being made extinct by civilization, law and industrialism, yet they're not going out without a fight. The Wild Bunch touches brilliantly on the topics of honor amongst thieves, loyalty to one's homeland, and the inevitablity of progress. That's not to say that this is a preachy movie, though. There are some wonderfully exciting action scenes, although much of it comes off a little bittersweet, as if these are the final days of some sad, wild animal.

Nothing short of brilliant and near-perfect action entertainment. The Wild Bunch is a lyrical and touching examination of how society's growth doomed these frontiersmen. Full of wonderful dialogue and performances, make sure you see The Wild Bunch if you never have. (The Director's Cut is predictably superior.)

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originally posted: 12/11/99 07:42:44
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: ActionFest 2012 For more in the ActionFest 2012 series, click here.

User Comments

2/06/20 Ari Boring for me 1 stars
1/01/20 morris campbell bold & entertaing western 4 stars
4/16/19 Jonathan Almgren Undoubtedly the greatest Western movie ever made, absolutely love this movie. 5 stars
3/25/18 Jeff Wilder For my money, the greatest western of all-time. 5 stars
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
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
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  03-Mar-1994 (R)
  DVD: 10-Jan-2006



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