Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid clasps hands with the French New Wave and waltzes it off to the rugged Utah mountains. Centered on the triangular relationship between the ever-charming Butch, monosyllabic, fast-shooting Sundance and the melancholy, haunting Etta Place, one look at this picture tells you more than three years at any film school could about film-making. For beginners, the tough, lyrical screenplay relies on visuals rather than dialogue to tell the tale. Researched from the obscure, true story by the soon-to-be-legendary Bill Goldman, it seduces and delights with economy and humour. And don't forget, for a film of this kind there is almost no shooting, no melodrama and, perhaps bravest of all, two heroes that actually run away. And yet never does the film drag. The fast, zooming cinematography is drenched in the golden haze of the Wasatch mountains, before it shifts via sepia stills to the hostile Bolivian hills and the inevitable denouement. Throughout, the action is accompanied by the unusual, unforgettable and now classic Burt Bacharach soundtrack.
The work satisfies on every level, but is transformed into something extraordinary by the restrained, charmed performances of Redford, Newman and Ross. It launched a thousand imitators, but no equals. Rarely does Hollywood deliver such gold, so see it and fall in love, like Butch and Sundance, with an era that really never was.