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The Wild Bunch (Widescreen Director's Cut)

111 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates
  • Directors: Sam Peckinpah
  • Writers: Sam Peckinpah, Roy N. Sickner, Walon Green
  • Producers: Phil Feldman, Roy N. Sickner
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Director's Cut, Dolby, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: Aug. 22 1997
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0790731037
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,201 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Here's how director Sam Peckinpah described his motivation behind The Wild Bunch at the time of the film's 1969 release: "I was trying to tell a simple story about bad men in changing times. The Wild Bunch is simply what happens when killers go to Mexico. The strange thing is you feel a great sense of loss when these killers reach the end of the line." All of these statements are true, but they don't begin to cover the impact that Peckinpah's film had on the evolution of American movies. Now the film is most widely recognized as a milestone event in the escalation of screen violence, but that's a label of limited perspective. Of course, Peckinpah's bloody climactic gunfight became a masterfully directed, photographed, and edited ballet of graphic violence that transcended the conventional Western and moved into a slow-motion realm of pure cinematic intensity. But the film--surely one of the greatest Westerns ever made--is also a richly thematic tale of, as Peckinpah said, "bad men in changing times." The year is 1913 and the fading band of thieves known as the Wild Bunch (led by William Holden as Pike) decide to pull one last job before retirement. But an ambush foils their plans, and Peckinpah's film becomes an epic yet intimate tale of betrayed loyalties, tenacious rivalry, and the bunch's dogged determination to maintain their fading code of honor among thieves. The 144-minute director's cut enhances the theme of male bonding that recurs in many of Peckinpah's films, restoring deleted scenes to deepen the viewer's understanding of the friendship turned rivalry between Pike and his former friend Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan), who now leads a posse in pursuit of the bunch, a dimension that adds resonance to an already classic American film. The Wild Bunch is a masterpiece that should not be defined strictly in terms of its violence, but as a story of mythic proportion, brimming with rich characters and dialogue and the bittersweet irony of outlaw traditions on the wane. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

Paul Seydor's excellent Oscar-nominated documentary short from 1996, The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage, is included on the 30th Anniversary video. Seydor--a noted film historian and editor, as well as the author of Peckinpah: The Western Films--A Reconsideration--used previously unseen behind-the-scenes footage as the basis for this expertly crafted short. The silent, black and white film is accompanied by reminiscences from principal members of Peckinpah's cast and crew, in addition to voice-over quotations from the late director himself (as read by actor Ed Harris). Filled with anecdotes about the production and Peckinpah's inspired use of improvisation (including the film's climactic scene known as "the long walk"), this 34-minute film offers a rare glimpse of Peckinpah's creative process, his driven personality, and the technical challenges of creating the most infamous shootout in the history of film. Imagine a shortage of costumes and an excess of fake blood and bullet holes, and you'll gain a greater appreciation of The Wild Bunch and the effort that went into its creation. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T O'Brien on July 15 2004
Format: DVD
The Wild Bunch-Restored Director's Cut is one of the best westerns ever made and also one of the best movies ever. In 1913 during the Mexican Revolution, times are changing as the Old West disappears into oblivion. After a botched robbery in the town of Starbuck, the Wild Bunch, a gang of aging outlaws must decide what their next move is. The remaining members of the gang decide to head south into Mexico where their services may be needed. The bunch robs a gun shipment for a Mexican general, hoping this will be their last job. At the same time, a posse is hunting them down with a former gang member at the posse's head. While this movie is most well known for its violence, it is ultimately a story about honor among men in a changing time. Knowing that the world they knew is changing, the bunch has to try and survive as their end closes in. Nonetheless, director Sam Peckinpah knows how to construct an action sequence. The Battle of Bloody Porch is a balletic, slow-motion, masterpiece of blood and guts as the Wild Bunch meets their end. Just as good is their final march through the streets knowing what awaits them. One of the best westerns, if not the best, ever made and highly recommended.
What makes this movie special, along with the groundbreaking filmmaking of Sam Peckinpah, is the cast. The whole cast gives excellent performances. William Holden stars as Pike Bishop, the leader of the Wild Bunch who knows time is running out for the bunch. His right hand man, Dutch Engstrom, is played by Ernest Borgnine in a perfect part for him. Robert Ryan plays Deke Thornton, a former member of the Wild Bunch and the unwilling leader of the posses following the gang.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ghenghis on June 29 2002
Format: DVD
More overhyped drivel from Sam Peckinpah. I realize since his canonization it's unpopular to speak out against his ode to the dying west "masterpiece" but this film is mediocre at best. OK, so there were some innovations like airborne blood and dizzying scene to scene edits (3600 in all-bring some Dramamine)but that doesn't equal classic in my book. It leaves the viewer dizzy in the wake of a director's blatant self-indulgence and disregard for his audience and honestly it's just plain tiresome to watch.
And the clear highlight of the film is the bridge scene but we even get shafted on that one too. Hey Sam, 17 frenetic camera angles for every conversation with your 5 losers, and one for this scene. Where are the multiple camera angles for this shot you bozo???
However, in the midst of this mess we are introduced to the genre's first two gay killers by LQ Jones and Strother Martin. Now these two are funny, but not as funny as Gen. Mapache with his finger superglued to the trigger of a Gatling gun. Most of what Peckinpah did was to borrow from the popular Sergio Leone formula for violence, magnify it, and squirt some blood in the air in super-slow motion, while omitting the imagination that made Leone's films so unique. Even the famous "walk" into Mapache's compound for the final showdown is hilarious...with shotguns casually cradled in their arms and a dumb grin on their face these guys look like they're going duck hunting, not marching to their almost inevitable demise.
Final analysis: Overated with a capital "O". Aside from the blood and guts this film's departure from the tried and true western formula leaves you flat- there aren't any good guys in this movie. There was no one to root for or against-you just don't care one way or the other.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve on March 28 2000
Format: DVD
Another film I just don't understand why it gets such great ratings. It is ground breaking in terms of violence and gore, lot of blood spurting, but I otherwise I didn't get much else from it. Not one I could watch over and over again. I didn't buy the motivations. At one point they are very ruthless then they have some kind of honor among thieves. The opening battle is very good and shows the ruthlessness of the characters. The final battle seemed to be to see how many squibs they could fire off in a minute. The violence here seemed extremely gratuitous. I know they are the heroes, but I can't understand why everyone else gets hit once, goes down and stays down while the heroes get hit at least five plus times and still don't go down. The acting I thought wasn't particularly great and the plot rather slow at times. As far as the DVD goes, very good video transfer which is unusual for films of this age. It looks like new. A very interesting documentary that I thought was better than the film itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ed Duplissie on Feb. 15 2014
Format: Blu-ray
This is for the Blu Ray. Received the Blu Ray version for Christmas. I cannot believe how wonderful the movie looks. I've watched this movie at least a hundred times on VHS and DVD but watching it on Blu Ray is like watching it for the very first time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Nov. 18 1999
Format: DVD
One should never confuse "first" with "best." Some reviewers seem to have done that. Peckinpah has put together a good movie, and was the first to put togather a "ballet of bullets." But other directors have done better. The movie is just too long and meandering; too many diversions from the theme.
Interestingly, the scenes that stick in my mind are the mini-metaphor of the scorpions overcome by the ants, and the woman shooting one of the Wild Bunch in the back.
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