Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at 50: their charm lives on
The 1969 western paired Paul Newman and Robert Redford to magical effect and remains one of the most undeniably entertaining westerns to date
The horse is dead.
Its the middle of a tense scene in the 1969 smash Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The town sheriff is attempting to round up a posse to track down Butch and Sundance, leaders of the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang, which has been robbing banks and trains with such impunity that theyve become an embarrassment for lawman across the frontier. Unbeknown to everyone, these celebrity outlaws are watching the scene unfold from a perch across the street, where theyre blowing their loot on liquor and whores, but the sheriffs recruitment efforts were doomed to run aground regardless. There just isnt much appetite for going after an elusive and dangerous pair that seem to be generous in spreading their stolen loot around.
There is, however, time for a brazen salesman to make a pitch: The horse is dead, he says. The future is bicycles.
The sequence everyone remembers from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid follows shortly afterwards, when Paul Newman, as Butch, pedals Katherine Rosss Etta Place around on the handlebars of a new bike, with the jaunty Oscar-winning song Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head playing in the background. It may not be accurate to called the film a revisionist western a term reserved for less commercial visions like Monte Hellmans The Shooting, Robert Altmans McCabe & Mrs Miller, and Sam Peckinpahs The Wild Bunch, released the same year but even before our heroes meet a hail of bullets in the final freeze-frame, the end of an era is nigh. Its no wonder Butch winds up chucking the bike into the woods later on.
Butch Cassidy was a box-office sensation when it premiered 50 years ago, more than doubling Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider, which grossed $44.8m and $41.7m, respectively, against its colossal $102.3m. For perspective, only six films since have doubled up the competition since three of them Star Wars movies (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi); two of them Steven Spielberg movies (Jaws and ET); and the other Titanic. Its important to understand the film as a commercial juggernaut, first and foremost, because its so plainly eager to turn a horse into a bicycle, reconfiguring the hidebound traditions of the western for a hipper, more self-aware audience.
In a William Goldman script peppered with memorable lines, the first exchange sets the tone. Butch looks around a bank at closing time, chatting with the security guard as he perhaps sizes up his next job.
What happened to the old bank? It was beautiful.
People kept robbing it.
Thats a small price to pay for beauty.
Hi my name is Kareem Maize and welcome to my personal blog. I am 26 year old musician and information technology professional with a passion for learning new aspects of life everyday. On my journey to express myself I began blogging to share my ideas with others. Now I intend to write fun, interesting, and engaging content for my viewers to help them grow spiritually, physically, and mentally . The concept of belief systems and the law of attraction peak my interest!!! I believe blogging about my personal experiences, beliefs, and ideas is the best way to achieve these goals!!!