Because of its brutality, Sam Peckinpah’s Western masterpiece The Wild Bunch is still highly controversial. Despite the then FSK 18 approval, the scissors were already used in the cinema screening in 1969. However, the film has now been released for 16 years and older and is also available in Germany in its uncut version in the so-called Director’s Cut or Eurocut. Today is your last chance to subscribe to the influential and hard-hitting action western on Amazon Prime Video. Because at the end of June 6, 2023, it will disappear from the streaming service’s subscription offer.
“The Wild Bunch”: a legendary ballet of death
We are in the Wild West, just a few years before World War I. Pike Bishop’s (William Holden) gang of thieves is ambushed during a raid on the railroad’s payroll office. After a bloody shooting, only a small group manages to escape to Mexico. There, the battered, squabbling thugs would ambush a train loaded with modern weapons for the shady General Mapache (Emilio Fernández).
But it’s not just the untrustworthy customer likely to scam them that poses a threat. Pike’s former friend and companion Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan), who drove them into the parade during the previous robbery, is aware of the plan. With a gang of greedy bounty hunters in tow, he must capture Pike Bishop…
A must for all action fans
It is not for nothing that “The Wild Bunch” is not only third in our ranking of the best westerns of all time, but also in the list of the best action movies of all time: When you talk about great action movies, you get it Sam Peckinpah not over. And in the now legendary death ballet “The Wild Bunch” the director shows his entire class.
A whole series of great action scenes such as a train robbery with breakneck stunts without doubles will remain etched in the memory for a long time. In epic, outrageous gunfights, bodies are riddled and shaken in slow motion that resembles a final dance. Many later genre directors such as John Woo (“The Killer”) or the Wachowski sisters (“Matrix”) adopted this stylistic device. Peckinpah herself was affected by the last slow-motion shootout in Bonnie and Clyde, but takes the agony seen there to an extreme.
He uses a lot more people and a lot more weapons (including hand grenades and a Gatling gun). Together with his cinematographer Lucien Ballard and editor Lou Lombardo, setting a new record with over 3,600 cuts, Peckinpah created a unique choreography of violence out of it.
Therefore, “The Wild Bunch” is controversial, for a long time it was shown only in abbreviated form. But Peckinpah doesn’t glorify violence. The berseker director nicknamed “Bloody Sam” always includes it in his works, but deconstructs and questions violent actions – as in “The Wild Bunch”.
The late western, which received Oscar nominations for best screenplay and best music, is also a masterpiece beyond its excellent action sequences. “The Wild Bunch” offers high tension through interesting, complex characters and deep conflicts between them. So also “For us it is the best action western of all time.
Author: Bjorn Becher
Source : Film Starts
I am Dawid Malan, a news reporter for 24 Instant News. I specialize in celebrity and entertainment news, writing stories that capture the attention of readers from all walks of life. My work has been featured in some of the world’s leading publications and I am passionate about delivering quality content to my readers.