BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
(director:George Roy Hill; screenwriter: William Goldman; cinematographer: Conrad Hall; editors: John C. Howard/Richard Meyer; music: Burt Bacharach; cast: Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy), Robert Redford (Sundance Kid), Katherine Ross (Etta Place), Strother Martin (Percy Garris), Henry Jones (Bike Salesman), Jeff Corey (Sheriff Bledsoe), George Furth (Woodcock), Cloris Leachman (Agnes), Ted Cassidy (Harvey Logan), Kenneth Mars (Marshal); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: John Foreman/Paul Newman; 20th Century Fox; 1969)
“The pairing of the roguish desperadoes Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy and Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid was magical.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
George Roy Hill (“Toys in the Attic”/”Hawaii”) directs this very successful commercial western buddy comedy that’s scripted by William Goldman and filmed in a freewheeling style. The pairing of the roguish desperadoes Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy and Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid was magical.
The film opens with a black and white newsreel from 1905 showing The Wild Bunch Gang and the quick-witted Butch and fast-draw Sundance as their leaders.
The story tells the tale of the real-life roguish but lovable ‘gentleman’ criminals, Butch and Sundance, who robbed trains and went on the lam to South America rather than face the Super-posse hired by the railroad baron Harriman they victimized. After some adventures in S. A. and trying to speak Spanish, they tragically lost their lives in 1910 in Bolivia (though the film ends in a freeze frame and does not show their inevitable demise).
The film worked well under Hill’s intelligent direction, Conrad Hall’s wonderful visuals, Goldman’s Oscar-winning witty but overly clever script, the stars continual smart-alecky smack talk and Burt Bacharach’s memorable version of the song played throughout of ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.’ The film fully captures the mood of the times, as it left its western days behind to come fully into the modern age, a period our tragic heroes couldn’t fit into.
Katherine Ross dazzles as Sundance’s hot-blooded schoolteacher girlfriend. While in a supporting role, Strother Martin is outstanding as the manager of the Bolivian Tin mines who hires the dubious pair to ride with rifles to guard his payroll.
REVIEWED ON 5/19/2021 GRADE: B+