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The Wild Bunch (Widescreen Director's Cut)

William Holden , Ernest Borgnine , Sam Peckinpah    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
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The Wild Bunch (Widescreen Director's Cut) + Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Product Description

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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


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best westerns of all-time 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome To Watch Feb. 15 2014
By Ed Duplissie TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent blu ray transfer of a classic!!!!! Sept. 1 2010
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
As the title says, essentially the same as the SE but the video is awesome much bettern than the SE edition.
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4.0 out of 5 stars NOT ONE OF YOUR GRANDPA'S WESTERNS. July 5 2004
Format:DVD
"The Wild Bunch" is not the typical western that tells the story of a bunch of good ol' cowboys versus the mean ol' Indians, this movie goes beyond the cliches of the earlier westerns, so in some way "The Wild Bunch" resembles more to a Spaghetti Western than a John Wayne-versus-the-indians western.
Sam Peckinpah took two steps forward the use of violence in the movies, he show the world how to use violence in a movie to produce visual art. Of course, some might complain about the cruel scenes in "The Wild Bunch", but open minded people know that the violence in the movies is not even close to the cruelty of the real world violence, plus, the violence in a movie can produce visual art if it's used in the right way, like Sam Peckinpah or Sergio Leone did in their movies.
"The Wild Bunch" has an excellent cast: the always efficient William Holden and Ernest Borgnine plus a great supporting cast that includes names like Robert Ryan, Warren Oates and Emilio Fernández. Also, the director Sam Peckinpah gave importance to each character, and that contributed to form a solid story. The cinematography is spectacular, "The Wild Bunch" has a lot of impressive camera angles that show the cruelty of the bullets and explosions, and the movie has some of the most impressive scenes ever put to film.
"The Wild Bunch" is in a very selected group of westerns. That list includes movies like "High Noon". "The Searchers", "Stagecoach", "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" and "Once Upon A Time In The West", among few others. That list includes the best westerns, and "The Wild Bunch" belongs in the list.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece June 23 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Following up on Sergio Leone's "man with no name" western genre's, Peckinpah takes the theme of these films to a new level of realism and drama to deliver one of the greatest westerns ever made.
Peckinpah refrains from the surreal motifs and plots so prevalent in Leone's films. Instead of being archetypes or carricatures such as Clint Eastwood's Blondie or Lee Van Cliff's Angel Eyes, the characters' motives and internal conflicts are explored in depth. As with Sergio Leone's films, Peckinpah presents a wild, wild, west where morality is nebulous to non-existant. People are little more than animals trying to survive either alone or in packs. Those who are the most cunning and ruthless are those who survive (e.g. The railroad baron who has all the other bandits do his dirty work.) All of the characters are motivated by greed and survival. Loyalty seems more of an afterthought to the characters as they realize that, despite all their stolen loot, they have little to live for. This thematic element is strengthened by the period in which the film is set: during the early 20th century. The bunch finds itself so displaced by modern industrial change that they see little purpose in their lives. The characters choose for once to stand for principle and that is their demise.
A unique western that has truly earned its place as one of the greatest films ever produced. I strongly recommend it.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not WASTE your time
Having just read Ernie's biography, I saw this for $5, an Ernest Borgnine movie I had not seen before. I wish I had not. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars good price, came in good time
God quality, good price, came in good time.
Published 25 days ago by Ramon
5.0 out of 5 stars Symbolizes the end of the west very well
no good vs bad standard, this one allows you to see a different view of good and bad or worst. shows the end of the line for west. violence not excessive
Published 17 months ago by Jay
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic Western that is as relevant today as it was when it was...
Friendship. Loyalty. One last ride. These are the words that come to mind when thinking about Sam Peckinpah's classic genre defining western. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Robert
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic.
A masterpiece by Sam Peckinpah. One of his classics and highly recommended if you've liked Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia and Straw Dogs 40th Anniversary [Blu-ray].
Published on June 11 2012 by nobody
5.0 out of 5 stars Lennie baby you're the best
Twenty five to life. She shoulda zigged instead of zagged. Great lines, crisp acting, criminals brought to justice. Adam, Mr. McCoy, Lennie Briscoe, New York...what can I say? Read more
Published on April 5 2012 by Russ Crossley
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best western and I daresay the best American made western...
Technically some western movie fans do not consider it a western since it happened at the very tail end of what is known as the Cowboy genre. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2008 by Terence Tan Co
5.0 out of 5 stars The best western of all time...
tied with The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Two totally different movies but its impossible to distinguish which one is better. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2008 by Kathleen YO!
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grand Finale to the Old West - An American Classic
This is simply a rich, masterful, nostalgic story of the Old West, in all of its fading glory.
The charaters too, are fading in their own time - pursued relentlessly by forces... Read more
Published on June 26 2004 by Jeffrey E Ellis
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