Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Hill, 1969) is a delight to watch time and again, a true piece of entertainment that seems to hit all the right notes. Surprisingly, the film was not an immediate hit with some critics or with directors like John Boorman who were confounded by the anachronisms, comedy, music, or pacing. It was blamed for the death of the western. But the public recognized its beauty. It won a slew of awards and is in the National Film Registry.
We have come into the western genre sideways with some of our previous choices. Even if this is an anti-western, we felt that the western genre has been reinventing itself from the very beginning, with so much room for subgenres, experimentation, and new ways to explore the art form. From the first frame we learn, “much of what follows is true.” That truth may also show us more about who we are: how we romanticize the outlaw, our definitions of the frontier, and who we ultimately root for as we seek freedom and expansion.
What you’ll find in this episode: masculine and feminine perspectives in the film, an exploration of classical vs anti-westerns, and our favorite western subgenres.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of 3:10 to Yuma.
Cole’s further viewing pick of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
Fun facts about Butch Cassidy.
More about robber baron E.H. Harriman.