This film is on the U.S.National Film Registry for being “Culturally, Historically or Aesthically Significant” and now it is on the PrintTheLegendBlog list too. This is a F-U-N movie. Paul Newman plays “Butch Cassidy” and Robert Redford plays “Sundance”. These two will pop up on this blog many more times, trust me. We can only wonder if the real life Butch and Sundance had the same chemistry as Newman and Redford display in this film. In my opinion it is their chemistry and banter that makes this movie a classic. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid is chock full of memorable, witty dialogue that will have you quoting it time and time again.
This film has one of the best end shots in cinmatic history. Don’t believe me…take a look for yourself.
The movie begins with Butch and Sundance returning to their hideout only to find that his gang the “Hole in the Wall Gang” has elected a new leader and Butch is out. Butch and the new leader Harvey decide to fight to see who retains the title. Butch defeats him less than honestly and the understated banter between the two title characters begin. Butch Harvey’s plans to begin robbing the Wells Fargo train and the first attempt is succesful, the second time Butch uses too much dynamite and blows the safe and money nearly to smithereens. They don’t have time to gather the money because a fast arriving “Super Posse” unloads from an oncoming traincar and is on their trail. What happens next is possibly the most iconic chase scene next to the French Connection that you will ever see. The gang splits up but the “Super Posse” keeps after Butch and Sundance who at this time think they are being tracked by “Lord Baltimore” and lawman Joe LeFors. They finally get away after jumping off of a cliff into a river even though Sundance finally admits hilariously that “I can’t swim”. Etta Place played by Katherine Ross convinces the two fugitives that the Union Pacific railway paid the “Super Posse” to trail Butch and Sundance until they are dead so Butch convinces the trio to move to Bolivia to “play it safe”.
They are not happy with what they find, poverty, in Bolivia. Sundance remarks what “could they have there that you want to buy” in Bolivia when Butch says “you can get a lot more for your money” there. Etta tries to teach Los Banditos Yanquis, as they have become known, Spanish so the can rob banks.They are succesful but give it up when they think they see Joe Lefors in the village. They decide to go straight and take honest jobs as morning company payroll guards. They are ambushed by bandits on their job and Strother Martin, who is a memorable character actor in Cool Hand Luke, SlapShot, Rooster Cogburn and The Wild Bunch plays their boss Percy Garris is killed in. They kill the bandits , Sundance is suprised to learn that it is Butch’s first kill, and decide the straight life isn’t for them; they return to robbing banks.
The two bandits rob a payroll delivery but are found out by a local boy. They are cornered by the Bolivian police, both wounded they decide to make one last charge. The movie ends with a freeze frame of Butch and Sundance charging the police and the sound of Bolivian police commander signaling Fuego…Fuego!
Great movie. No better way to spend two hours. Get it on Netflix if you don’t want to wait around for it to be shown on cable.