In late 1890s Wyoming, Butch Cassidy is the affable, clever, talkative leader of the outlaw Hole in the Wall Gang. His closest companion is the laconic dead-shot "Sundance Kid". As the west rapidly becomes civilized, the law finally catches up to Butch, Sundance and their gang. Chased doggedly by a special posse, the two decide to make their way to South America in hopes of evading their pursuers once and for all.
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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a well crafted and entertaining film with excellent performances by Redford and Newman but, it is a disturbing film because it is a hagiography of bank robbers. The movie trivializes the crime of robbery and places these two thieves on a pedestal, suggesting that the way they lived was deserving of respect. Hollywood has a long tradition of glorifying criminals and portraying them as lovable misfits who cannot be held responsible for their behavior.
Three years after the release of this film, a small gang of disturbed individuals tried to rob a bank in New York, but this attempt turned in to a hostage taking incident. Sidney Lumet made a movie about this incident called Dog Day Afternoon. Perhaps these perps were exalted by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and inspired into action, believing that the unfairness of society entitled them to a little theft, as pay-back, so to speak. Hollywood regularly produces this kind of message in it's films, that it is ok to do wrong, if wrong was done unto you.
Sundance is enjoyable to watch, that's the candy coating, that makes it so nice to swallow the subtle bolshevik propaganda.
"Gorge Cassidy" (Paul Newman), a.k.a. "Butch Cassidy", and "Lonny Longbaugh" (Robert Redoford), a.k.a. "The Sundance Kid, are two of the greatest robbers in the history of the Old West. They pulled jobs on banks and trains with an expertise that made them famous from coast to coast.
Now, years after being out of the business for about two decades, they decide to pull one last bank heist in Bolivia, with the help of a school teacher (Katharine Ross) with romantic ties to both men.
I have to say that I am pretty disappointed in this film. I found it to be slow, with not enough action considering the topic of the movie. It dragged so much that I noticed spending more attention to my computer than watching the movie itself on cable television.
One thing that stood out was the on-screen relationship between Newman and Redford. This is what carries the movie I believe, and most likely why this movie is called a classic now. You feel as if the two are not just partners in crime, but friends with the ribbing that they give one another.
Another problem with this movie is the soundtrack. The only piece of music that is memorable is Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head by BJ Thomas, and that was a weird tune for a Western set in the Old West. If you ask me, the song was just an odd choice.
I also barely enjoyed Ross as "Etta Place". Her character was barely developed if you asked me. It appeared that she was there as a romantic interest, and to help teach "Butch" and "Sundance" Spanish for their attempt at robbing the Bolivian bank.
If you expect a lot of gunfights, you are mistaken on this one. Of what there is in the movie, they are short and well placed.
The cinematography is hard for me to judge since Encore Westerns used a pan-and-scan format. I had to deal with only half of a scene when two people were talking to one another. But, from wide shots, I could see some spectacular scenery, including the famous scene when the title characters jump from a cliff into the water.
Because it was declared a classic, I've been wanting to see this movie. I am highly disappointed in it.