The Wild Bunch

Now that the weather is starting to cool off, I’m finding that I’m spending more time indoors. In the summer, I crave being outside. This makes progress on my movie goal difficult. The next movie on my list is The Wild Bunch. When I saw this on the list, I had no clue about the movie. I wasn’t too surprised that it’s a Western, given the name.

The movie stars William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Ben Johnson, Robert Ryan, and Warren Oates. This cast surprised me. I would have thought I would have heard of it, given the all-star cast. Sam Peckinpah directed the film. When it was released in 1969, it gained attention due to its graphic violence.

The movie centers around a group of outlaws along the Texas-Mexico border. The outlaws are getting older and they want to make one final score so they can hang up their guns and retire. Also, the times are changing. The year is 1913 and the modern world is making robbing banks and trains more difficult. Pike Bishop (William Holden) is the leader of the group. He plans to rob a railroad office. Unfortunately for the group, Pike’s former partner, Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan) is under the employ of the railroad company. Years back, Pike and Thornton were cornered by the authorities. Pike escaped and Thornton was sent to Yuma prison. He’s been released from Yuma to help track down Pike.

Nothing about the robbery goes as planned. Not only are there casualties on both sides, but the score turned out to be worthless. The survivors of the gang include Dutch Engstrom (Ernest Borgnine), Lyle Gorch (Warren Oastes), Tector Gorch (Ben Johnson), and Angel (Jaime Sanchez). After their failed attempt they need to come up with a new plan to get some dough so they can go their separate ways.

They head to Mexico. There they meet Mapache, a Mexican general. The general offers the renegades a job, which involves stealing weapons from a U. S. Army train. Can the aging outlaws succeed stealing from the American army? Also, can they escape Deke and the railroad company?

My favorite part of this movie was the scenery. It’s been years since I lived in Colorado, but the landscape still calls me. As for the actual story, I wasn’t a big fan. I’m not opposed to violent movies. Some of my favorite films are violent, such as Fight Club and Pulp Fiction. But it wasn’t the violence that made these movies enjoyable. I was drawn to the stories. The story in The Wild Bunch didn’t work for me. It’s hard to cheer for a group of bandits who will do anything to make a buck and to survive. On the flipside, I didn’t care too much for the “law” who would also do anything to get their man. I found myself not cheering for either side. I felt that the purpose of this movie was to shock the audience with the violence and lack of morals on either side. Since I didn’t care for either side, I didn’t care about what happened in the movie.

The Wild Bunch is 79th on the AFI list of top 100 films. So far, out of the 21 movies I’ve watched from this list, this is my least favorite. I apologize to all of those who love this film. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. Up next is Modern Times. 

The pictures below are of Colorado. I know the film is about outlaws in Texas and Mexico, but I hope they give you an idea of what the landscape looked like in the movie.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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20 Responses to The Wild Bunch

  1. Patricia says:

    I think I had similar feelings. Besides all the Clint westerns, I love The Magnificent Seven, with Yul Brynner. Once Upon a Time in the West is good too. I enjoy watching Henry Fonda play the bad guy. None of these are on the AFI list. 😦

  2. Big Man would love this – he´s a big fan!

  3. wolke205 says:

    Beautiful landscape 🙂

  4. Fergiemoto says:

    I haven’t seen this movie, so it looks like it will be further down my list to see. I also love the scenery out west here. Do you still have family in Colorado/Utah?

  5. Jo Bryant says:

    If you are going to watch westerns dear lady you MUST watch ‘Silverado’ !!!!!!!!!!

    • TBM says:

      I remember that one! It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but I remember really liking it. Thanks!

      • Jo Bryant says:

        I’ve just finished watching the mini-series ‘The Hatfields & The McCoys’ – OMG !!! It was brilliant. So sad, so savage, so poignant. You must see it. Costner is brilliant in it…absolutely the best role he has ever played. Oh and I am completely unbiased about that fact.
        😉

      • TBM says:

        Thanks for the reminder. Someone told me about this and I forgot to add it to my list. Now that I know you enjoyed it, I must see it!

  6. Novroz says:

    I am surprised that it’s in the AFI list judging from your review. Shocking audience with violence without good story is kinda lame.
    I admit I like seeing some violence in movie…but that’s just for fun…to claim a good movie still relates to the story.

    Thank you for the review, TBM. I think I will avoid this movie for 2 reason, I am not a western movie fan and not in the mood to cheer up at the bandits, just like you.

    • TBM says:

      I wouldn’t suggest the film. I’m not sure why this film is on the list, but I think for it’s time the special effects were a vast improvement. And it’s a much grittier film than many others from this time period. But I could have skipped it. I’m sure though, that many enjoy it.

  7. lynnsbooks says:

    I agree, I dislike this film as well. It’s definitely gritty but just not enjoyable.
    Lynn 😀

  8. Pingback: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid | 50 Year Project

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