THE WILD BUNCH (1969) C widescreen 143m dir: Sam Peckinpah

w/William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez, Ben Johnson, Emilio Fernandez, Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones

Set on the border of Texas and Mexico in 1913, the story concerns a cynical band of outlaws who join a rebel Mexican general and fight against law, order, and the Mexican army.

From The Movie Guide: "An extraordinarily well-made film about anachronistic outlaws in the early 20th century, Sam Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH feels like it should have been the final western. This harsh yet elegiac story proved controversial upon its release not only because, like BONNIE AND CLYDE two years before, it upped the ante on American screen violence but also, in industry circles, because of the war it started between the producer, [Phil] Feldman, and the director.

"As with the majority of Peckinpah's work, the studios and producers mutilated the film to suit their needs (to cut its length, to eliminate controversy, to prove their power over the ever-difficult Peckinpah) and distributed a movie vastly different from the one the director had originally envisioned. The cutting occurred while Peckinpah was vacationing in Hawaii, after his film had been shown uncut to reviewers on the East Coast. (New York Times critic Vincent Canby expressed dismay when he went to see the film again and discovered scenes missing.) Certainly it was not adverse preview reaction that spurred Feldman to make the cuts (the trimmed scenes contained important motivational information vital to the portrayals of the main characters --- none of the deletions was a particularly violent scene). These revisions were simply made to bring the film's running time down to two hours, to enable theater owners to turn more of a profit from the feature. With the director's uncut version now readily available on video and laserdisc, there is no reason for anyone to subject themselves to the butchered version."

THE WILD BUNCH was nominated for two Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay (Walon Green and Peckinpah, based on a story by Green and Roy N. Sickner) and Score (Jerry Fielding).