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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's Masterpiece
This is among the classic westerns, one which must be seen only in the 145-minute director's cut version to be fully appreciated. Yes, it is an exceptionally violent film but none of the graphic violence seems to me gratuitous, unlike in some of director Sam Peckinpah's other films. Pike Bishop (William Holden) heads a gang which robs banks and trains. Deke Thornton...
Published on 26 Sept. 2005 by Robert Morris

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Poor DVD
The Print has an unnacceptable level of graininess, some of the scenes look great, some don't look remastered at all, compare this to the Warner Brothers release of Deliverance and the trnasfer is vastly inferior to that film. I will wait for another re-issue If I were a fan of this film.
Published on 17 Jun. 2001


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's Masterpiece, 26 Sept. 2005
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Wild Bunch [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
This is among the classic westerns, one which must be seen only in the 145-minute director's cut version to be fully appreciated. Yes, it is an exceptionally violent film but none of the graphic violence seems to me gratuitous, unlike in some of director Sam Peckinpah's other films. Pike Bishop (William Holden) heads a gang which robs banks and trains. Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan) is a former member whom railroad owner Harrigan (Albert Dekker) arranges to be released from prison on the single condition that Thornton lead efforts to kill or capture Bishop and his gang. If he fails, he will be returned to prison. The quality of all performances is outstanding, as are Peckinpah's direction and the cinematography provided by Lucien Ballard.
The primary plot involves Thornton's efforts to complete his assignment but there are several interesting sub plots, notably one involving Coffer (Strother Martin) and his fellow scavengers. (Martin once observed that he and Dub Taylor specialized in portraying "prairie scum.") The opening scene shows a scorpion being consumed by fire ants. Coffer and his motley crew hope to have a similar opportunity to feast on what remains of the Bishop gang. I was also fascinated by the interaction between the Bishop gang and the Mexican federales (headed by General Mapache played by Emilio Fernandez) who also pursue them. Time eventually runs out. Bishop and his associates must decide: Either quietly depart with their tails between their legs or take a stand and probably be killed.
In my opinion, the final sequence justifies all of the violence which precedes it. Many of those who have seen this film are offended by its especially graphic portrayal of bloodshed. They have a point unless they take into full account the frontier culture in 1913 in which Bishop and his associates challenge all manner of conventions (as does Peckinpah) while fulfilling their destiny as robbers and killers. They are what they are. They have no self-delusions. None. Thornton is the only sympathetic character, Bishop's reluctant and weary adversary. In the last scene, his body language is especially eloquent. He and we feel spent. Enough. No more. It's over.
Question: Given the recent advances in technologies of various kinds, why does the visual and/or audio quality of DVDs often vary so much? Why can't "they" get it right every time?
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wild Bunch (Blu-ray version), 13 April 2010
Released in America in June 1969 but not released in the U.K. until January 1970 nothing could quite prepare British audiences for the visual onslaught that this film is from the opening bank robbery scene with all and sundry being gunned down like nine pins.

The American director Sam Peckinpah long with the Italian director Sergio Leone who both re-invented the western from the Black and white hats of 40's and 50's to a more realistic form of storytelling where the lines between good and evil get blurred and the villains are all sweaty, dirty and despicable where they fight over a dead man's boots.

For the re-release of this film on DVD (which was a two-sided disc) in 1997 the running time went from 134 minutes to 145 minutes, this is the version that has been put out on Blu-ray in 2008 which is in 1080p resolution and has had its original six track sound track up-graded to Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound along with French stereo, Spanish mono and German mono, and Italian Mono there are plenty subtitles to choose from English, Castilian Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese & Swedish.

The restoration and transfer to Blu-ray has made the colours and sound of this cinematic masterpiece look as fresh as it did on its original 1969 U.S. release if you like westerns this is a must have in your Blu-ray collection
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the greatest, 27 Feb. 2006
For me this rather than The Searchers or Red River is the greatest western ever.
I love it not for the violence but for the mournful tone that is omnipresent. unlike say Leone (whose work I love), Peckinpah makes films about the West rather than about other Westerns. The violence DOES remain shocking & exhilarating, despite the fact that he's been plagirised by directors in subsequent years. This is the DVD that finally does justice to a highpoint in American cinema, with a fine,loving but unsparing documentary. The film itself looks spectacular in this transfer and it comes highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An All Time Classic, 15 Jan. 2012
By 
This review is from: The Wild Bunch [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Cross of Iron, The Wild Bunch...all decades old, all very different - and all imprinted with Sam Peckinpah's peerless ability to depict the visceral shock of violence in a stunning cinematic way - in that he pretty much stands alone. It's the end of the road for the Wild Bunch, as they look for that last big robbery that will release them from their life of crime - but you know that's never going to happen. The legendary bank job opens the film, as the gang go about their business in an unsettlingly calm and professional way - and the town's population gets blown all to hell. After that it's cat and mouse as Deke Thornton (a quietly impressive Robert Ryan), having sold his soul, tries to track down his old buddies. William Holden as gang leader Pike Bishop is in imperious form, marked by his world weariness, his recognition that it's the end of the road, and his utter loyalty to his crew. The last walk of the four remaining members of the Bunch to reclaim fallen colleague Angel is a nerve tingling lead up to the thrilling finale. Whilst you know what's coming, that thunderously bloody climax is still one of cinema's all time classics. The noise, confusion, blood & gore, balletic slowmo death throes, rough and ready editing (so appropriate here) - in my view this is the most dramatic and gripping shoot out of them all (and that includes the epic ending of Saving Private Ryan). It's Peckinpah's greatest - and that's saying something...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's Greatest Masterpiece, 14 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wild Bunch [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
I first saw this movie in 1970 and was stunned by it. I had seen nothing like it before. Unlike the Hollywood westerns of old, characters are not simplistically divided into "good" and "bad" men, heroes and villains. Instead, they are fully rounded, reflecting all the moral ambiguities of real people faced with desperate situations. The violence too, for which this film was controversial, is not the sanitised violence of earlier times. Although aestheticised (after all this is a work of art), it unflinchingly depicts the consequences when guns are fired and bullets strike human flesh. One of the finest films ever made about men in battle, and arguably the greatest of all westerns. A movie of tremendous power, far more moral, and honest, than todays mindlessly violent, special effects driven Hollywood actioners. See it!
The DVD is a restored 'directors cut' and is superior to the version which most movie goers will have seen at the cinema. My only criticism is that it is not anamorphic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An All Time Classic, 14 Jan. 2012
By 
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Cross of Iron, The Wild Bunch...all decades old, all very different - and all imprinted with Sam Peckinpah's peerless ability to depict the visceral shock of violence in a stunning cinematic way - in that he pretty much stands alone. It's the end of the road for the Wild Bunch, as they look for that last big robbery that will release them from their life of crime - but you know that's never going to happen. The legendary bank job opens the film, as the gang go about their business in an unsettlingly calm and professional way - and the town's population gets blown all to hell. After that it's cat and mouse as Deke Thornton (a quietly impressive Robert Ryan), having sold his soul, tries to track down his old buddies. William Holden as gang leader Pike Bishop is in imperious form, marked by his world weariness, his recognition that it's the end of the road, and his utter loyalty to his crew. The last walk of the four remaining members of the Bunch to reclaim fallen colleague Angel is a nerve tingling lead up to the thrilling finale. Whilst you know what's coming, that thunderously bloody climax is still one of cinema's all time classics. The noise, confusion, blood & gore, balletic slowmo death throes, rough and ready editing (so appropriate here) - in my view this is the most dramatic and gripping shoot out of them all (and that includes the epic climax of Saving Private Ryan). It's Peckinpah's greatest - and that's saying something...
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way", 1 April 2010
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Early 20th century.A group of Outlaws led by Pike(William Holden)who are finding that times are passing them by narrowly escape an ambush whilst robbing a Wells Fargo.A "posse"led by ex gang member Deke Thornton(Robert Ryan)who engineered the ambush pursue them into Mexico where the bunch attempt to set up one last haul by selling stolen guns to a mexican despot.

Sam Peckinpah's best film -with due respect to Pat Garrett and Ride THe High Country- is the greatest western ever made.Dialogue,cinematography,music,direction and editing are without peer in the genre.This the longest version at 145 minutes is splendid in blu ray with only the end sequence being somewhat grainy.

However what really sets The Wild Bunch apart in delivering Peckinpah's interpretation of a dying west is the acting.Here more so than in Pat Garrett,he assembled through luck,judgement whatever a group of actors that could just not be replicated today.Sure there are many fine actors around today but when one of the better ones of today Billy Bob Thornton says on the main doc that he was in awe of Warren Oates,you just know the Bunch would not work today.Career best turns from Holden and Borgnine are augmented by Ben Johnson, Oates, a wonderful Edmund O'Brien as Sykes and of course Robert Ryan whose ability to invest flawed characters with a vivid sense of honour was well in force here.The casting lower down is impeccable too with the superb L Q Jones and Strother Martin as two feral members of the posse being standouts.

The opening gun battle with Peckinpah juxtaposing the brutality and almost carnality of the combatants against the innocent children witnessing carnage that will haunt their childhoods forever is brillianty judged.Here on blu ray this sequence really comes alive with the muted colours,the street dust and the faces of the men being pin sharp.
The extras are the same as the standard def Two Disc Director's cut but for this film ,Blu ray is an essential purchase.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good today as it ever was, 13 Dec. 2011
By 
The Truth "How it is" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Pekinpah's Wild Bunch has aged well. It's withstood the test of time and stills feels relevant today. Even the Blu Ray transfer is excellent being crisp and clear, so not even poor picture quality gives it away.

The sets, scenery and costumes are timeless because they're all of an era. The cast of actors remain as convincing as ever, and the extras just as ugly.

The finale is just as bloody and brutal and the story just as gripping. There is little that makes this film feel old or out of place today, and that makes it still one to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dark side, 19 Oct. 2007
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Wild Bunch [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
The Wild Bunch is a brutal masterpiece of a western. It depicts the end of the western era (the film is set in 1913) through a group of ageing outlaws who just want to pull off one more big job. In fact the west has already ended but they dont realise it yet.

From the opening bank raid to the bloodbath ending the film is brilliantly realised by Peckinpah. The casting is perfection. William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oats and Robert Ryan all give memorable performances. Although the film is actually quite depressing, it is strangely compelling viewing and the reason for this is that the characters do gain our sympathy. Curiously watching it again recently it occured to me that this film is the dark side of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Except in The Wild Bunch the cameras don't freeze at the end...

Ultimately the main credit goes to Sam Peckinpah who made a number of classic films. This is one of his best - a great movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Availiable in Westerns Collection boxset, 26 Nov. 2012
By 
If you are a Westerns fan, you'd be better off getting the Westerns Collection Blu-ray boxset for about £12-£14, which contains, besides The Wild Bunch, The Searchers, Pale Rider, Rio Bravo, and How the West Was Won (excluding the 2nd cinerama disc- see blubeaver for screenshots).
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The Wild Bunch [HD DVD] [1970] [US Import]
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