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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie
There have been now been several different cuts of this film over the years, and despite this worthy DVD i am sure the definitive cut is yet to come. The TCM version is probably the most famous, having been shown nunerous times on that channel over the years, and it is included on the second disc.

However, it is the "new" version that will be of most interest...
Published on 10 Nov 2006 by manbearpig

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kris Kristofferson was far too old for the part!
There is a tendency to regard any film directed by Sam Peckinpah as being worth watching. I'm not so sure. I watched this film and found it to be ok, but nothing special. Some of the action scenes were good but I wasn't so happy with the banal and contrived dialogue. Oh, and Kris Kristofferson was far too old for the part! He was approaching 40 and Billy the Kid was only...
Published 6 months ago by Speedygee


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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie, 10 Nov 2006
By 
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This review is from: Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid : The Movie & More (2 Disc Special Edition) [1973] [DVD] (DVD)
There have been now been several different cuts of this film over the years, and despite this worthy DVD i am sure the definitive cut is yet to come. The TCM version is probably the most famous, having been shown nunerous times on that channel over the years, and it is included on the second disc.

However, it is the "new" version that will be of most interest here. Some of the major complaints have been addressed, most notably the inclusion of Bob Dylan's absurdly/wonderfully famous song "Knockin' on Heaven's door" at the appropraite moment in the film's narrative. How many people have hummed or sang that tune over the years without even knowing that it came from this film?

For anyone who does not know, this is a very, very violent yet slow-moving film which was massively panned by all and sundry on its original release in the 70's. Over the years though it has grown in popularity and it is now fast becoming a rediscovered classic. One of the most striking things about it for me is its realism...we see toilets, baths, whorehouses, shared beds, food larders...basically its a warts and all view of life in the west. And it is not a pleasant place...

The underlying point of the film is of course the erosion of freedom caused by the establishment of private property during the formative years of America. The film mournes the death of the outlaw, in this case Billy the Kid (Kris K)being hunted down by the brooding Pat Garret (James Coburn.) Bob Dylan famously plays "Alias"- "Alias anything you want.."-and serves as a rather weird but highly entertaing medium between the two main protagonists.

One of the worst thing about the 2005 cut is the inclusion of an awful scene featuring Garrett's wife, with is clearly out of place and deserved to be left on the cutting floor. An equally poor piece of editing comes with regard to the character of Poe. To me his horrible-but-successful character is crucial to the film...his brutal beating of an old man is the key to finding the kid on the Turner version, and to edit it out of this version is to give in to the worst sort of political correctness.

Worst of all though has to be the editor's choice to remove one of the most powerful lines from any film I have ever seen, namely when Coburn shouts to Poe soon after Billy's death that "What you want and what you get are two different things." In a way this is the film's real message because you can apply it to each character and perspecive on show in the film, and to omit it is an act of sheer arrogance. The actual editors here are two Peckinpah biographers, and frankly I would rate their efforts as a C-. The inclusion of the Turner version though still makes this a decent purchase for any Western or Dylan fan.

The whole Dylan angle on the film though is disappointing downplayed on the commentary. There were considerable problems on set, with Peckinpah allegedly not having any real clue as to who Dylan was, while the music editor also hated what Dylan was providing. Only Dylan could have turned these potential disasters into what must justly be called a "haunting" soundrack. As if to add an element an mystery, the resulting studio album Dylan produced was just over 30 minutes long, and mostly comprised of acoustic numbers, with the addition of several stunning version of the "Billy" songs added on.

Any Dylan fan worth his salts will also know of several other classic songs not included on the official CD, including the hilarious but moving "Good-bye Holly". A hardcore Dylan fan could easily improve this DVD by either doing a Dylan-centric commentary or even a new soundtrack incorporating the "lost" tunes. He or she could also do us all a favour by putting back the removed scenes...I am available for the job if needed.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my top ten, 1 Feb 2006
By 
This review is from: Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid : The Movie & More (2 Disc Special Edition) [1973] [DVD] (DVD)
If I listed my top ten movies this would have to be one of them.
I'm not really a fan of westerns but this stands out as a truely unique and fantastic film regardless of the fact it's a western.
It's directed by Sam Peckinpah who also made The Wild Bunch. While films like The Wild Bunch and Easy Rider are regarded to have changed cinema (with unglamorous realistic depictions of their characters and dialogue) I think that this film tops them both. Virtually every scene in the film is a beautiful set-piece, with dialogue heavy with meaning and under-currents relating to the relationships between the characters. The cinematography is beautiful and I'm very glad that I'll finally have the film in widescreen as opposed to the 4:3 aspect VHS release. Bob Dylan is one of the characters and does the soundtrack - Knockin' On Heaven's Door was written especially for one of the scenes in the film. It stuns me that this film isn't better known and has only just received a DVD release because it's one of the most violent, poignant and perfect films ever made.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New version bad, Directors Cut good - what a surprise?!, 27 April 2007
By 
G. Davies (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid : The Movie & More (2 Disc Special Edition) [1973] [DVD] (DVD)
In short - buy this but forget the new version and go to the 'Turner Preview' ie. director's cut on disc 2, for the complete warts and all masterpiece. That's where the 5 stars belong, for the proper film alone - no other aspect of this 2 disc set is worth bothering with.

What really grates is that the new Seydor cut gets all the remastering treament (especially in the sound) while the real version is a standard transfer, none too wonderful with a horrible problem on the negative in the final scene.

The obvious thing would have been to use the director's cut, but give an option to splice in the Garrett wife scene & add the vocal version of Knockin on Heaven's Door to the soundtrack. But oh no, we have a wanabe genius in Seydor who thinks he can read the mind of Peckinpah 20 years on. The commentary (90 per cent of which is devoted to justifying the new version) and special features are rubbish. And Peckinpah is betrayed by minions yet again!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch the Turner Version, 25 Oct 2007
This review is from: Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid : The Movie & More (2 Disc Special Edition) [1973] [DVD] (DVD)
Time and time again on "Greatest Western" polls Peckinpah's Wild Bunch and Ride the High Country are chosen as the summit of his achievement. But after many years of watching his films I do honestly believe that this (along with the seriously underrated Junior Bonner) is, in it's own way, the best film he ever made.
It's the type of film an ex-girlfriend of mine would have called "slow", which basically means it's beautifully paced and allows the story reveal itself through some fine camera work and wonderful performances - perhaps the best I've ever seen from Coburn? The balletic last twenty minutes of the film stands alongside Ford, Mann, Leone...anyone who ever did anything interesting with the Western. It also looks and feels great - ragged and worn like one of those Stones albums from the early seventies or indeed the soundtrack album itself.

All of the above applies to the version I grew up on which is included as disc two in the set. It does not apply to the disgraceful, offensive 2005 version - a final kick in the teeth from the studio. The crimes committed by these "Peckinpah experts" in the editing suite has been well documented elsewhere (perfectly good scenes deleted and weaker ones in their place etc), I would just like to add that the biggest insult is their attempt to make it more 'pacey' - that's what made the film so special in the first place!

Listen to the audio commentary and you'll soon see why they made such a hash of it: you remember those kids in school who used to work so doggedly but you knew underneath didn't have one decent imaginative or responsive thought in their minds? Guess what! They're doing commentaries for Peckinpah movies! Get ready as they "Analise" this "flawed" masterpiece using the kind of critical techniques you left behind at High School. Scene after beautiful scene passes beneath their noses while they pronounce them to be "flawed" or "flabby".

Surprisingly some of the other extras with cast & crew are actually quite good - and show the kind of loyalty Peckinpah could inspire despite his erratic behavior!

I would recommend this film to anyone interested in westerns, horses, sunsets and whiskey.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great new edition, 31 Jan 2006
This review is from: Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid : The Movie & More (2 Disc Special Edition) [1973] [DVD] (DVD)
Having a multi-regional dvd player has enabled me to watch the new double-disc edition early.
I have waited a long time for this classic movie, one of my favourites, to appear on dvd. I saw the original theatrical version in Bristol when it first came out, and then later the Turner preview version (which is the second disc here). Now comes this one. I don't have access to Sam Peckinpah's thoughts on the new version, so I have no opinion on whether this was the version he would have chosen, but it is certainly my favourite (so far - maybe there's another version hanging around??). The commentary on both versions - the 1988 Turner preview and the 2005 version - is well worth listening to.
The only omission I regretted from the new version was the line from Chill Wills about what his "woe-man" was prepared to do with cowboy boots. The editors admitted they didn't understand it - they confuse it with some joke once made by Earl Butz which got him the sack from the Ford cabinet back in 1975, but it's much filthier than that joke. I think this is a commendable commentary on the editors' minds, as it is is one of the filthiest lines I have heard in cinema, but missing it out from the new version detracts from the obscenely humorous passage. On second thoughts, maybe it's best to keep your mind as clean as the 2005 editors by not thinking about the meaning of that line, and for me to pretend I don't understand it...
You can also argue about whether the Dylan vocals of Knocking on Heaven's Door should have been added. Perhaps this is personal taste, but I was really glad the 2005 editors did. Dylan is central to the film, and his inclusion as Alias is needed - he is the silent witness, the writer of what he sees.
Generally, the new version is tighter in focus. The main changes were very good. The scene in which the cowardly sadist Poe knocks out a couple of old men is deleted because it detracts from the focus on garrett and Billy. A scene about Garrett's wife was added, showing how artificial and dead was Garrett's new life of respectability. He prefers to have his sex with several whores at once. There is the added scene with the whore Ruthie Lee, which is abusive and violent - a needed counterpoint to Billy's more sensual sexuality, and crucial to the story line too. Importantly, the raft scene - where Garrett and a family man on a raft decide not to kill each other, a striking few minutes - is rightly brought forward in the movie to integrate it with the character study which is the essence of this film. Now it adds to the lyrical quality of the film's development.
Pat Garrett is the centre of the film, not Billy. If The Wild Bunch is about men getting old and being pushed to the margins of an advancing civilisation before being destroyed, this film is about a man who surrenders to civilisation. He is not going to get destroyed, so he sides with the money-powers which he hates but knows are too powerful to defeat. The slow degradation of character which results from his decision to kill his own youth makes this movie genuinely mesmerising - truly great art. The fact that Garrett is going to be killed by those powers anyway heightens the sense of tragedy, and this role must be one of Coburn's greatest feats of acting.
And what a great decision to end the movie not with Garrett's death, but with the boy throwing stones at him as he rides out - the look in Garrett's whole body indicating that he agrees with the boy. What a movie...the editors cannot be thanked enough.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still not right, but a must have!, 19 Nov 2006
This review is from: Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid : The Movie & More (2 Disc Special Edition) [1973] [DVD] (DVD)
I was eagerly awaiting this version having first seen this film back in the seventies and then seen a vhs version of the turner cut. I have given it five stars simply because it is Peckinpah's finest work. But in truth I was disappointed because I feel his 'cut' is still to be seen. It was great to get the scene of garret with his wife and dylans vocals over pickens death in the new cut but they should never have cut peckinpah's turn as the coffin maker. The beautifully elegiac melancholy is punctuated by Peckinpah stating he will take all he owns and bury it and never visit this country again. He never did make a western again. It is also right that the film finishes self-reflexively inverting the ending of Shane, with Garret hounded out by a boy throwing stones. But how could you leave out Poe's beating of the old man (ironically the guy who played 'Stonewall'-Elisha Cook Jnr- in Shane who was shot by the sadly missed Jack Palance as Wilson)
A multi-layered Masterpiece for all cineastes. But will we ever see it as Peckinpah intended? Probably only if Roger Spottiswoode is allowed to re-edit without interference. Here's hoping.
But until that happens get this double disc and half the fun is deciding how you'd edit it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best western ever?, 17 Nov 2004
By A Customer
Is Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid the best depiction of a western ever made?
No, that lies in the stunning soundtrack by Bob Dylan, which is underused in the film.
The movie is still very good though. It's important to have the directors cut which I think most versions available today are.
All of the acting is great, particularly that of James Coburn (Pat Garrett). From what I've read the making of this film went through a traumatic process and very nearly didn't happen. Maybe this would explain the slight disjointed feel to the film, somehow it still (even the directors cut) feels unfinished. It lacks a strong enough sense of the friendship and betrayal between Billy and Pat.
It's still an amazing piece of film making with some classic scenes and almost as many famous western actors you could dream to have all in one movie.
Sam Peckinpah (director) has come very close to making the greatest western of all time. Maybe if it hadn't been for the problems throughout the process he would've done it.

Definitely worth buying, but I'd recommend you get the soundtrack beforehand. More for the title theme 'billy' than the more famous knocking on heavens door.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PECKINPAHS FINEST EFFORT, 4 April 2001
By A Customer
This is the finest Western ever made, and gets better with each viewing. As in all Peckinpah films the theme centres round the notion of men living beyond their time. The mexican setting, superb Dylan soundtrack, an amazing performance from Coburn as Garrett, great supporting cast involving Harry Dean stanton, Slim Pickens and an extremely bizarre Dylan as "Alias" make this a film you can't miss. Look out for Peckinpah in a small cameo towards the end. BUY IT!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN UNDERAPPRECIATED MASTERPIECE... BUT AN EDITING BLUNDER, 17 Sep 2008
By 
Robert Blenheim (Daytona Beach, Florida) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid : The Movie & More (2 Disc Special Edition) [1973] [DVD] (DVD)
As a film teacher and Peckinpah scholar, I had put together my own cut of this film in the early 90's compiled from several video versions (and the TV version), and showed it in a special class devoted to the film. As someone who is probably somewhat an expert on this film, I'd like to make a few important points about the two versions included here in this set.

First, the Turner cut (mislabeled "director's cut") seemed to be merely a sort of workprint Peckinpah had assembled at one point but was missing several sequences (including the scene with Garrett's wife), seemingly cut out to include in the television print. I say SEVERAL scenes -- no one, not even the experts (e.g., Seydor, Weddle, Simmons et al) mention the other omitted scenes, not even in their respective studies. One is a short sequence with Billy bringing a blanket to Maria and then wrestling with the kids (as it cuts right into the chickens continuing the kids' movements). It is in NO print of the film released (beyond the early television showing) -- but I do still have a (poorly dubbed) copy of that scene. It must still exist someplace. There are other minor tiny sequences (Poe walking down the hall, etc.) that are still missing from these two versions.

My second point, the newly restored 2005 version has an UNFORGIVABLE editing blunder: a wrong shot is inserted when R.G. Armstrong cocks his gun --!!! What happened??? Some editor obviously tripped up and messed up the shot sequence. This totally destroys this great scene which is so electrifying with Armstrong's dialogue and the shocking cocking of his gun. This NEEDS to be fixed and a newly mastered DVD should replace this edition!

Also, I believe some of the choices the experts made in reediting the film in the 2005 version (which seems to favor the theatrical print over the "Turner" cut) is really debatable. I would tend to favor including some of what they omitted (like Dub Taylor's sequences) even though they play a little clumsy -- after all, they still reflect elements of Peckinpah's conception. I don't like second-guessing what he "might have" cut out later. And, although I do personally prefer the ending to the "2005" version (with the kid throwing stones at Garrett and ending on that shot), even that may be all-too-much "rethinking" the film by others instead of respecting Peckinpah's own vision that I can't help but think to be reflected more accurately in the return to the framing story and Garrett's dying (as in the Turner print). Even if perhaps "less polished", it does seem very much like Peckinpah.

So it's hard not to come to the conclusion that neither version is completely satisfactory. To me perhaps the most ideal version would be to try to include most of the shot footage as in Turner's version, but to insert the Garrett-Wife scene AND the Billy-bringing-Maria-the-blanket sequences in their proper places (as well as the long prostitute sequence including the Ruthie Lee beginning which is an important sequence). I would also honor Peckinpah's own adamant decision to leave "Knocking on Heaven's Door" OUT of the Baker death scene as he was not ambiguous about his wishes here. (Who cares if the experts like the song?) If I were still teaching the Peckinpah class that would be the version I would prefer to screen for the attendees -- in spite of some of the good arguments the expert scholars make in their commentaries for their own cuts and "rethinkings".

All in all, it must be said, however, that this motion picture, in any version, is one of Peckinpah's greatest triumphs and a masterpiece (albeit truncated). It deserves a wide audience and a future recognition of it as a brilliant classic western for the ages.

(One additional note: The Garrett-and-his-wife sequence, the blanket sequence, the Ruthie Lee segment and the few other short pieces were NOT removed from the Turner "workprint" until the film's national television showing to pad it out in time. These scenes were literally clipped out and never re-inserted -- probably nobody cared to take the trouble. My point is that whenever Peckinpah screened this print for his friends in his home those scenes WERE in the print. There is NO WAY Peckinpah would have accepted a showing of this film, even as a workprint-in-progress, without those scenes. On this point alone the Turner "workprint" cannot be considered a "director's cut" by any standard. It would have been great if Seydor & company had themselves taken the trouble to reinsert these scenes back into the Turner cut before making the DVD master of this DVD. And now, especially with the terrific editing blunder on the 2005 version, fans of the film as I am must STILL wait for a proper release of this Peckinpah masterpiece.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'A ''SAM PECKINPAH' CLASSIC-WESTERN', 23 Mar 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid : The Movie & More (2 Disc Special Edition) [1973] [DVD] (DVD)
Director of brilliant movies such as 'The Wild Bunch' 'The Getaway' 'Straw Dogs'
'Junior Bonner' and 'Ride the High Country' to name a few, also brought us this
'Classic' 'Pat Garrett' and 'Billy the Kid' to the screen...his way.
The Directors cut (115 mins) reflects the version director 'Sam Peckinpah' allways
wanted according to notes he had made.
'Pat Garrett' (James Coburn) and 'Billy' (Kris Kristofferson) used to ride together
however times were changing, 'Pat' embraces this and takes a 'Sheriff's' badge,
'Billy' won't accept change and follows life's path his way.
Trouble is 'Pat' has been charged with the task of hunting down his old friend, but
hopes 'Billy' has headed south to 'Mexico' to avoid the inevitable show-down.
The film shows early on 'Pat' catching up with 'Billy' taking him back to 'Lincoln'
Jail awaiting the 'rope' however the 'young-gun' escapes, which leaves 'Pat' who
is paid by the 'cattle-barons' to hunt down his 'pal' all over again.
We follow the journey of both men leading up to it's bloody conclusion in 'Fort Sumner'
'New Mexico'
Plenty of familiar faces among the cast list including 'Jason Robards' 'Slim Pickens'
and 'Music-Legend' 'Bob Dylan' (who wrote the music for the film) playing the role
of 'Alias' who becomes a knife wielding side-kick of 'Billy'
This is a gritty, dramatic no-nonsense adaptation of the legend that was 'Billy the Kid'
and 'Pat Garrett'
(of course there is a rendering of 'Bob Dylan's' classic number 'Knocking on Heaven's
Door' as a wounded deputy staggers away to die)
Plenty of gun-fight action in what is a 'Classic-Western.
This is a two disc set, on disc one the 'Directors Cut' (115mins) and the 1988 'Turner'
preview version (122mins)
In my view the 'Directors cut has a better pace about it having dispensed with 7 minutes
of footage.
Special Features: (Director's Cut) Disc One
*Commentary by 'Peckinpah biographers' / Documentarians 'Nick Redman' 'Paul Seydor'
'Garner Simmons' and 'David Weddle'
*Sam Peckinpah' -Trailer Gallery.
(On the Turner 1988 Preview version:
*Commentary by 'Nick Redman' 'Paul Seydor' 'Garner Simmons' and 'David Waddle'
*2 new Featurettes: deconstructing 'Pat' and 'Billy'
*One foot in the groove: remembering 'Sam Peckinpah' and other things.
# Picture and Sound Quality acceptable (This one of the films I'd like to see on the Blu-ray'
format) (A Movie worth re-visiting)
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