60/60 Review #6: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.

Due to Netflix, I had to skip around the month just slightly, but that's OK. I said from the beginning the middle films of each month might not be reviewed in the exact order I listed them (it was originally showing Good/Bad/Ugly next, but I've switched the list around to match the review order). So let's look at this newest one first by looking at what I've reviewed thus far. So far I've seen the bad (Plan 9); I've seen what could have been much better (Westworld); I've seen the "alright" (Close Encounters): I've seen the pretty good (Unforgiven); and I've seen the really good (Body Snatchers). I think it's about time I watch one that I just flat-out love.

Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) are two outlaw train robbers that go on the run once the man who owns the railway they keep hitting gets upset and hires the best lawman and tracker in existence. And when even that doesn't work, they travel--along with Etta Place (Katharine Ross)--to Bolivia to start anew. Though that doesn't exact meet their expectations, either.

This film is everything I love about the idea of a western: outlaws, bank heists, train robberies, horseback chases, gun fights, card games, spunky prostitutes, old time school teachers, Indian trackers, invincible lawmen, and a handful of wit. The story is pretty simple. It's pretty much a heist-gone-wrong film, and we all know I love my heist films. And once this particular heist goes wrong, the titular characters are pretty much on the run from then on.

The acting pretty much rests on the shoulders of Paul Newman and Robert Redford (and slightly Katharine Ross). Paul Newman is great as the "brain" and leader of the gang, smooth talking and without much of a care. Robert Redford is his "brawn," the better gunslinger who doesn't say much and, when he does, is awfully blunt. They're yin and yang, which means they're complete opposites yet can't exist without the other. Their chemistry is strong as they play off each other, such as when Paul Newman says something witty in response to Robert Redford's stoicism or bluntness.

I was also incredibly surprised by the cinematography. There are some great shots in this movie. Of course, if this film were made today, the landscapes would look even better, but that's not necessarily what I mean here. Just the placement of the camera or a certain shot is fantastic.

If there are any major negatives, it would be that some scenes tend to go on a little long, two in particular. First, the opening credits sequence wasn't quite my style, though I do give it props for creativeness. The biggest offense for me, though, was the picture montage around the hour mark that transitions between the two parts of the film (going from the States to Bolivia). Something about it just rubbed me the wrong way. I guess I kinda liked the idea of what they were doing, but it just went on a bit too long for my tastes. Still, the whole hour before that moment and the next 40-45 minutes after it was too great for that 5 minutes to bog down my opinion of the film too much. The other moment that maybe could have trimmed a few seconds was the bicycle sequence, but it was fun enough to where it didn't really bug me (especially in comparison to the picture montage).

The writing, of course, is solid. It was written by the same guy who wrote The Princess Bride, so you know there's some good dialogue involved (I know this one came first, but still). I think that's a good reason why the characters of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid work so well together--their given dialogue is so strong, and it's delivered well by the two leads.

I know I'm not saying much, especially in comparison to the other films I've reviewed for this list. The movie was a lot of fun, and I think it deserved the Oscars it won. I also have to say that--if you don't count Cars (and why would you?)--this film was my first Paul Newman film, so I'm really looking forward to Cool Hand Luke later on next year. So yeah, there were a couple things that I think I might have tweaked about this one, but the bulk of it far exceeds those complaints.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese


  1. Wow - your first Paul Newman film, really? Yes, this is a great film, but when it comes to Newman, there are some other amazing ones. And as a treat since you just saw them together in one incarnation, go out and see The Sting immediately and you'll get to see them do an even better version of their chemistry.

  2. Hey Woodcock - is that you?!

    Allow me to likewise cast my vote for THE STING to move up your watchlist...if not for this series than just for shits and giggles.

    Think Bob & Paul were awesome together? Wait'll you see 'em work together to weasel Robert Shaw out of his money.

    You sure you used enough dynamite?

    Glad to read you dug this one, and I'm with you on not being totally nuts about that montage, it does break the momentum of the film...which feels worse since this is more of a run & gun western than a slow lyrical western. I think that was just the 70s seeping its way into the story.

    For what it's worth, I could do with about one verse less of "Raindrops" as well.

    Next time I say 'Let's go somewhere like Bolivia', let's *go* somewhere like Bolivia

  3. Since Hatter used quotes, I have to add my own favorite:

    Sundance Kid: I can't swim.
    Butch Cassidy: Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.

    It's Newman's delivery that makes it perfect. Family favorite.

  4. What's goin' on?
    I'm stealing your woman.
    Well you're a romantic bastard, I'll grant you that!

  5. Jess: Yeah, my first Paul Newman film... really. I'll have to check out The Sting. I've heard of it before, of course, just never saw it.

    Hatter: I loved the Woodcock segments. Those were great. The Sting isn't on this list, obviously, but I'll watch it sometime soon. I'm glad I'm not alone on the montage. I figured you were gonna come and be like "But it's so artsy and classy!" or something. Same with Raindrops.

  6. Naw...I'm not that much of an elitest. I love me my classics, but they're not all flawless.

  7. im not reading anything written ...yet... i have had this film sitting on the shelf for many months and have just got to actually put it in the player.

    I shall do this soon- this has prompted a watch!

  8. As I've said somewhere before, Newman is one of my "links to the past," in that he's an actor from the 60s (or even 50s) that made his way into the modern era and never seemed to act all old-fashioned in the way that so many actors used to (which, of course, bugs me). He's truly fantastic, and there's many more I need to see (but seriously, way to make me feel better, what with this being your true first. That's wacky.).

    I would never argue that it's a GREAT film, but I do love me some Color of Money. Pretty sweet Scorcese soundtrack, Cruise being all Cruise-y, and Newman owns the screen. On the contrary, The Hustler mostly bored me, though Newman was of course a high point.

    I thought The Sting was good, but I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped considering the plot and actors and all. It's definitely good, but I think you'll end up liking Butch much more like me.

  9. I thought The Sting was good, but I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped considering the plot and actors and all...

    I am jack's complete lack of surprise.

  10. I am jack's complete lack of surprise.

    Hey, you and me both, buddy. There's a reason I don't try all that hard to see the classics. I don't like sounding like a broken record any more that you like hearing it.


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