Dungeon Classics #30: The Wild Bunch

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

The Wild Bunch (1969, USA)

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Cast: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan
Running Time: 145 mins.

Pike Bishop (William Holden) is an aging outlaw who runs a gang called the Wild Bunch in the new American West of 1913, a time of trains and automobiles in which they no longer seem to fit. They get ambushed during their latest score and flee to Mexico, while being hunted by bounty hunters led by one of their former gang members (Robert Ryan). Once in Mexico, they agree to rob a train and steal weapons for a corrupt general after which Pike plans to retire. But if you think the Wild Bunch will disappear quietly into the night, you’re in for a very noisy surprise! The Wild Bunch was controversial at the time for the graphic violence on display and immoral characters in the lead. This was new indeed and clearly an inspiration for filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino. The movie looks and feels very gritty and raw, and the bloody bullet festival in slow motion at the end is a masterful sequence: one of the all-time greatest scenes in cinema history! Fun trivia: actor Robert Ryan was constantly whining to director Peckinpah that he wanted first billing. The director punished him by listing him third on several horses’ asses.


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