The film that jolted the fading Western genre back to life, Peckinpah’s breakthrough work explodes the myth of Old West honor in a blast of bullets and bloodshed. In 1913, a gang of aging outlaws, led by Pike (William Holden), live (and die) by their outdated moral code as they pull one last job—stealing a shipment of guns for a brutal Mexican general—while being relentlessly pursued by a steely bounty hunter (Robert Ryan). The hallmarks of Peckinpah’s revolutionary visual style—the falling bodies, slow-motion deaths, fractured editing that expands space and time—are all on display in the film’s stunningly nihilistic, blood-spattered climax, which inaugurated a new era of cinematic violence.
Introduction by Peckinpah scholar Garner Simmons on 3/31
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