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The Wild Bunch (Widescreen Director's Cut)

4.7 out of 5 stars 115 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: 4.7 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 0790731037
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,195 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
There's almost a apathetic humor to the amount of violence in this movie. Starting with the kids torturing a scorpion in a sea of red ants, as the Pike and his gang dressed as military men trot into town. The bank robbery almost goes smoothly, as long as the victims obey and comply, and Pike has no reservations about killing them if they don't. When it turns out it's a set up by the railroad company and a band of eager and green bounty hunters, all hell breaks loose upon the town during a temperance parade. In the get away and aftermath, there's this split of sadness and indifference to the lives lost in the carnage - for both the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys'. And the knowledge that ex-gang member Deke Thornton is leading the bounty hunters to keep himself out of jail and execution by being in compliance with the Railroad Company to put an end to Pike and his gang once and for all - there's empathy and respect still from Pike and Thornton in that they 'gotta do what they gotta do'. And it's that revelation in this movie that the 'good guys aren't all that good' and the 'bad guys aren't all that bad' that makes this film so lasting. Considering the movies at that time such as Bonnie & Clyde, Easy Rider, Catch 22, etc. The good guys in the end were made to be sinister, and the bad guys the pure innocents. Whereas The Wild Bunch tends to keep everyone 'in their place' right up to the end. There's an overbearing sense of shame at the end for both the good and the bad for how it had to resolve itself. If it wasn't for the ineptness and bad judgement, the 'heroism' wouldn't have had to happen. And on the other side, if it wasn't for the blood lust and saving their own skin, a brighter future may have been had?
So not as grim and sad as some of the other movies of that time.
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Format: DVD
This movie turns the page on the old mythologies of the Old West. The Old West where outlaws and anti-heroes first started to become romanticized by the American public at large. These men and women who took what they wanted and often-times got what they deserved..

The seventies again marked a time for a re-emergence of the ant-hero on his individualistic quest. his war against societal norms. The old cinematic pariah Sam Peckinpah paints once again a romantic portrait of the barbarism that engendered modern American culture.In this case bands of anti-heroes who have their outmoded value systems quashed by modern technology, physically and spiritually. Just as Peckinpah and many others were feeling in the seventies when youth culture had a spiritual awakening while railing against the military-industrial complex.

I am sure that Peckinpah really only wanted to make a great but grueling western film in the Samurai tradition where honour and code abound. Where great glorious bursts of blood take on its own character as an honorific. He has lead us instead down a highway where technology crushes barbarism only to be replaced by an ever more sophisticated and ruthless barbarism.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A different type of western. All are villains but also heroes in their final shootout. A real private war in a small Mexican village against a small army commanded by a power mad creep with a Napoleon complex. The century has changed, so robbing trains and banks has become very risky and not that profitable. They are men who have outlived their time. The U.S. military are after them, so Mexico seems the place to hide in. Borgnine has that smile, likes the wine bathing with some ladies, Jack Elam looks his evil self. All belong to the "over the hill age group", except the young guy, and his wife triggers the violence. Very real portrayal of the times. Definitely a 5 star film.
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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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