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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (DVD, 2005, Special Edition) Reviews
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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (DVD, 2005, Special Edition)

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Stick-up Artists and a Hole in the Wall Gang: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Sep 13, 2010 (Updated Sep 14, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:The two leads. Light-hearted tone and snappy dialogue.

Cons:Drags on a little bit towards the end

The Bottom Line: If he'd just pay me what he's spending to make me stop robbing him, I'd stop robbing him.”


George Roy Hill’s 1969 Western classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid will always hold a special place in my heart. I remember going through a phase during high school when I wanted to watch all those films deemed as ‘classics’ or ‘masterpieces’ – particularly those from the ‘60s and ‘70s. These $10-$15 DVDs I picked up from the shops were definitely the cause of all my savings diminishing during my graduation year and now that I think about it, it may be the reason why I didn’t score too well on my final exam too. But I don’t regret a moment of it; watching Dog Day Afternoon, screaming “Attica” along with Sonny; trying to imitate Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone from The Godfather and marvelling at Robert De Niro’s physical transformation in Raging Bull. But the one movie that has never failed to entertain me ever since watching it for the first time is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; and hence, it’s special place in my heart.

The storyline is simple enough. Two robbers by the names of Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) are leaders of an infamous outlaw mob by the name of Hole in the Wall Gang, who excel at stealing from banks and trains. They’re so good at it that the owner of the train they keep harassing, E. H. Harriman, sends a squad of law enforcers to track them down. With their pursuers hell-bent on capturing them, Butch and Sundance’s only viable option is to escape to Bolivia with their love interest Etta (Katherine Ross). During their stay in South America, they get up to all kinds of mischief; so much that Etta decides to leave them and they get stuck in a pretty nasty shootout by the end of it.

What I love about this movie is that it doesn’t take the gritty Western genre too seriously. Despite violent gun battles and fistfights, it maintains an amusing tone throughout the film. Thanks in part to the spot-on writing – there’s an abundance of memorable dialogue (“Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals”) – but mainly due to the chemistry between Newman and Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid never lets the audience forget, it’s all just a bit of fun. Even when they’re pursued to the brink of desperation, holed up in a shack, sporting wounds, Butch and Sundance keep up the chatter, going at each other like husband and wife – “It's your great ideas that got us into this mess. I never want to hear another one of your great ideas. Ever!”

As Butch Cassidy, Newman is brilliant. Embracing the everyday-man spirit while seeming to float around in his own little world, Butch is the brains and mouth of the operation. Sundance on the other hand, is played with more understatement but no less humorous by Redford, he’s the muscle between the pair. Some of the best scenes in the movie revolve around the two of them playing back-and-forth against each other. For instance, take a look at the scene where they rob a Bolivian bank. It’s all going fine and dandy until Butch forgets the proper Spanish phrases and has to read them off a piece of paper, only to be reprimanded by Sundance – “Ah, you're so damn smart, You read it!”

At the time of the film’s release, the Western genre usually meant glory shootouts (The Wild Bunch) or rugged, ultra-masculine male leads (The Searchers). With Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, George Roy Hill dared to be different and crafted a light-hearted comedy, filled with slapstick comedy, likeable and friendly leads and tongue-in-cheek humour. Despite the writing dragging it down a little towards the end – the plot definitely slows down once Butch and Sundance get to Bolivia – it’s nothing less than absolutely entertaining.  In my opinion, this film isn’t the greatest Western ever made – I’d have to say Once Upon a Time in the West – nor is it the most memorable; that honour would have be bestowed upon The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. But if I said it was unarguably, the most popular and most beloved Western flick of all time, would I be wrong?  


Recommend this product? Yes


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