I WISH they still made movies like this.
It turns out, according to The Hollywood Reporter, it's being strongly considered as one of the many remakes that Hollywood plans on cranking out in the future. The long and short of it is that True Grit made so much money that they are eyeing this legendary film as fodder for the remake mill.
It's been years since I first saw this movie, and in enthralls me more and more every time I watch it, which isn't that often. THE WILD BUNCH was released in 1969, when I was a mere lad in elementary school.
I don't recall when the first time I saw it was, but since we had no videos or dvds or any of the other technical marvels we regard as commonplace these days it was likely on "The Movie of the Week" or "The Late Show" or even "The Late, Late Show" movie presentations that came on after the news on Friday and Saturday nights in Houston, Texas in the 1960's and 1970's before there was a thing called cable TV.
Back when we had 4 VHF channels (PBS, ABC, NBC and CBS) and a couple of local UHF stations, and the UHF stations often had the coolest stuff on back in the 1970's. Not counting Monty Python being on the PBS station. But I digress...
Back in those days (jeez, that sounds like an old man talking, doesn't it?), fairly recent theater release movies would be shown on Friday and Saturday nights after the news, and usually there would be a movie of the week at about 8 p.m. on Saturday nights. It was in the living room of our family home that I first saw it, with my folks, who were big western and shoot-em-up movie fans. Action movies, before they were called that, I think.
Up until The Wild Bunch, The Magnificent Seven was my favorite western movie. The Wild Bunch was more realistic, to be sure, in terms of the behavior and real rag taggy sorta dusty life it depicted, and of course it's tons more bloody with blood literally flying everywhere during shootouts. Everything in the old west was dusty, and if it wasn't dusty, it was muddy from the rain.
And of course, although I was already a fan of the 1911 through TV shows and war movies that displayed the already venerable Colt 1911 pistol and through law enforcement friends of my father, it was The Wild Bunch that showed that part in the time history of the west where 1911's had (illegally in the movie) fallen into the hands of bad guys, who used them along with their revolvers.
Nor do I recall the first time that I saw the unedited version of The Wild Bunch. But as you watch the unedited version of the movie you can tell which violent scenes and which for what was then very audacious female attire and behavior were cut from the movie, and what statements might have been dubbed over. Other movies, like the Clint westerns, portrayed some of the real grittiness and the crude men who dwelled in it but not some of the more raw sexuality and prostitution as shown in The Wild Bunch.
Other than The Magnificent Seven and the Clint Eastwood westerns, and a couple of different movies about the O..K. Corral, The Wild Bunch ranks right up there in terms of repeat views. I'd had a hankering to watch this movie over the summer. Seeing a "Wild Bunch" cowboy shooting rig for a 1911 at a local gun store triggered it, since 1911's are used throughout the movie by members of the...well... The Wild Bunch.
There are a bunch of other great westerns and western tv shows I've not mentioned, and I'd like to hear about your favorites in the comments section.
But as we had been doing some home remodeling over the summer, boxes of books and movies were packed away and stacked on high throughout the home. When we finished the living room replete with new book and music and movie shelving, I finally found The Wild Bunch movie.
The movie is impressive in so many ways. It's an all star cast, with both future stars and well established stars in the movie. The acting, of course, is first rate, and is so up front and personal on the part of the renegade Mexican general and his cronies that you almost feel like you are there. Or as Peckinpaugh intended, for you to feel like you were the one being shot. The wiki page is actually pretty good on reviewing this flick. Check it out.