The Wild Bunch

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The Wild Bunch is a 1969 American Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah[1] about an aging outlaw gang on the Texas-Mexico border, trying to exist in the changing "modern" world of 1913. The film was controversial because of its graphic, bloody violence and its portrayal of the crude men attempting to survive by any available means.

The Wild Bunch is noted for intricate, multi-angle editing, using normal and slow motion images, a revolutionary cinema technique in 1969. The writing of Walon Green, Roy N. Sickner, and Sam Peckinpah was nominated for a best-screenplay Academy Award; Jerry Fielding's music was nominated for Best Original Score; director Peckinpah was nominated for an Outstanding Directorial Achievement award by the Directors Guild of America; and cinematographer Lucien Ballard won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography.[2]

In 1999, the U.S. National Film Registry selected it for preservation in the Library of Congress as culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant. The Wild Bunch was ranked 80th in the American Film Institute's best hundred American films, and the 69th most thrilling film.[3] In 2008, the AFI revealed its "10 Top 10" of the best ten films in ten genres: The Wild Bunch ranked as the sixth-best western.[4][5]

Contents

Plot

In 1913 Texas, Pike Bishop (William Holden), the leader of a gang of aging outlaws, is seeking retirement with one final score, namely the robbery of a railroad office containing a cache of silver. The group is ambushed at the scene by Pike's former partner, Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan), and a posse of bounty hunters hired and deputized by a railroad company. This results in a bloody shootout that kills several of the gang. Since the town's citizens were not warned, several are needlessly killed in the crossfire. Pike and four of his gang, Dutch Engstrom (Ernest Borgnine), brothers Lyle (Warren Oates) and Tector Gorch (Ben Johnson), and Angel (Jaime Sánchez), are the only survivors. The loot turns out to be nothing but steel washers. The gang reunites with another of their own, Freddie Sykes (Edmond O'Brien), and head for Mexico. Thornton has been released from prison to help track down his former comrades in return for a full pardon.

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