Directed by George Roy Hill. US. 1969. PG. 110 min.
- Sun, Jun 20, 2:00 pm
Robert Redford, though growing in respect for his earlier screen roles, galloped to superstardom with this wonderful, humor-filled re-imagining of the classic screen western. Teaming Redford with the “equally beautiful” Paul Newman, and featuring Oscar winning dialogue by William Goldman, the film almost single-handedly gave rise to what is now termed the “buddy movie,” and made the team the most famous side-kicks since The Lone Ranger and Tonto. Filled with such wonderful, creative cinematic stylistics as the opening “silent movie” depiction of a Wild Bunch train robbery and the iconic freeze-frame ending, and blessed with a memorable supporting cast and sparking dialogue, this is a film for anyone who enjoys creative, fun-filled cinema, and not just for western fans. (Bill Roth)
“Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid might not have invented the modern buddy comedy, but it may as well have. While Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black was still toddling around playing cowboys and Indians, director George Roy Hill, cinematographer Conrad Hall, composer Burt Bacharach, stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and screenwriter William Goldman were meticulously crafting the gold standard for movies about rugged pals quipping and wisecracking their way through one perilous bonding situation after another.
…In performances that cemented their iconic status, Newman and Redford star as two of the Old West’s best-looking and quickest-witted outlaws, genial gentlemen bandits who flee to South America rather than face a “super-posse” representing a railroad baron the duo repeatedly robbed. Newman and Redford try to outrun their past, but their enemies aren’t about to let them off easy.
Though Hall’s stunning vistas and gorgeous exploration of wide-open spaces hearken back to John Ford, Butch Cassidy otherwise radiates the youthful energy, manic pop playfulness, and antic clowning of the French New Wave. The film’s subversive attitude toward genres and genre-mashing echoes the pioneering work of Jean-Luc Godard, and Newman and Redford deliver an extended master class on the uses of old-school, twinkly-eyed movie-star charisma. Though the encroachment of the modern world in the form of super-posses, vengeful tycoons, and the taming of the once-wild West spell doom for the film’s loveable anti-heroes, that smartass, incorrigible modernity is precisely what ensures Butch Cassidy‘s timelessness.” (Nathan Rabin, The Onion A.V. Club)