Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Infobox Film
name = Butch Cassidy
and the Sundance Kid

image_size = 225px
caption = film poster by Tom Beauvais
director = George Roy Hill
producer = John Foreman
writer = William Goldman
starring = Paul Newman
Robert Redford
Katharine Ross
music = Burt Bacharach "(music)"
Hal David "(lyrics)"
cinematography = Conrad L. Hall
editing = John C. Howard
Richard C. Meyer
distributor = 20th Century Fox
released = 23 September fy|1969
"(US limited)"
24 October fy|1969
"(US wide)"
runtime = 110 minutes
country = FilmUS
language = English
budget =
gross =
imdb_id = 0064115

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" is a fy|1969 American Western film that tells the story of bank robbers Butch Cassidy (played by Paul Newman) and his partner The Sundance Kid (played by Robert Redford). The film is only loosely based on historical fact, but it popularized the legends of these Western icons.

The film was directed by George Roy Hill and produced at 20th Century Fox by John Foreman from a screenplay by William Goldman. The music score was by Burt Bacharach with song lyrics by Hal David. Along with Newman and Redford, the film stars Katharine Ross, and features Strother Martin, Henry Jones, Jeff Corey, Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, Ted Cassidy, Kenneth Mars and Donnelly Rhodes.


Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, the leaders of the famous Hole in the Wall Gang, are planning another bank robbery. As they return to their hideout in Hole-in-the-Wall, they find out that the gang has selected a new leader, Harvey Logan. He challenges Butch to a knife fight, which Butch wins, using a ruse. Logan had the idea to rob the Union Pacific Flyer instead of banks. He wanted to rob it twice, the idea being that the return would be considered safe and therefore more money might be involved. Butch takes this idea as his own.

The first robbery goes very well and the Marshal of the next town can't manage to raise a posse. Butch and Sundance listen to his attempts, enjoying themselves. Sundance's lover, Etta Place, is introduced. But obviously both men vie for her attention as she also goes bike-riding with Butch, a dialogue-free part of the film, accompanied by "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head."

The second robbery goes wrong. Not only does Butch use too much dynamite to blow the safe, but also a second train arrives, which is carrying a posse that has been specially outfitted to hunt Butch and Sundance. The gang flees, but the entire posse follows Butch and Sundance. They try hiding in a brothel but are betrayed. When they find out the posse is following their trail, they try riding double on a single horse in the hope that the posse will split up, but that fails. They then try to arrange an amnesty with the help of a friendly sheriff (Jeff Corey). But he tells them they have no chance of getting one, and that they will be hunted down until they are killed by the posse.

Still on the run the next day, they muse about the identities of their pursuers. They fixate on Lord Baltimore, a famous Indian tracker, and Joe Lefors, a tough, renowned lawman, identifiable by his white skimmer. Sundance made a comment that Baltimore could track anyone over any terrain snow, rock, grass, sand, or through water. After climbing some mountains, they suddenly find themselves trapped on the edge of a canyon. They decide to jump into the river far below, even though Sundance can't swim and would prefer to fight.

Later that day, they arrive at Etta's house and learn that the posse has been paid to stay together until they kill Butch and the Kid. They decide it's time to leave the country. Destination: Bolivia.

After a montage of showing Butch, Sundance, and Etta of their travels to New York, they arrive in a small Bolivian village at the end of the world. Sundance already resents the choice. Their first attempted bank robbery stops before it gets off the ground, as they are unable to speak Spanish. Etta teaches them the words they need. Their next robbery is clumsily executed, as Butch still needs his cribsheet. After each robbery, they seem to get better, until they are sought by the authorities all over Bolivia.

However, their confidence drops as one evening they see a man wearing a white straw hat on the other side of the street, and fear that Lefors is once again after them. Butch suggests going straight, so as to not attract Lefors' attention.

They get their first honest job as payroll guards in a mine, directed by an American, named Garris (Strother Martin). However, on their first working day, they are attacked. Garris is killed, and Butch and Sundance are forced to kill the Bolivian robbers. Ironically, Butch had never killed a man in his entire criminal career, but while they are attempting to go straight, he is forced to kill the "bandidos". Since they seem unable to escape violence regardless of their occupation, they decide to return to robbery. That evening, Etta decides to leave them as she senses that their days are numbered and she doesn't want to watch them die.

A few days later, Butch and Sundance attack a payroll mule train in the jungle, taking the money and the mule. When they arrive in the nearest town, San Vicente, a stable boy recognizes the brand on the mule's backside and alerts the local police. While Butch and Sundance are eating at a local eatery, the police arrive and a climatic gun battle begins.

The two of them manage to find shelter in an empty house, but they're soon low on ammunition. Butch makes a run to the mule to fetch the rest of the ammunition while Sundance covers him, shooting several Bolivian policemen. But even the "fastest gun in the West" cannot match the twenty or more Bolivian policemen at once. Butch manages to retrieve the ammunition and runs back to the house, but they are both wounded. While tending to their wounds in the house, about 100 soldiers of the Bolivian cavalry arrive and surround the place, eager to get at the notorious "Bandidos Yanquis".

The pair discuss where they will be going next, realizing that their time is up (Butch suggests Australia, where at least they speak English). They dash out of the house in a futile attempt to get to their horses. The image freezes and slowly turns to a sepia tone tintype while a voice is heard ordering: "Fuego!" (Fire), followed by the sound of hundreds of rifles being fired in three consecutive volleys.


Goldman's script, originally called "The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy," was purchased by 20th Century Fox for $400,000. The two starring roles were originally given to Newman and Steve McQueen, but McQueen left after failing to come to an agreement about which actor would receive top billing. Jack Lemmon's production company JML had produced "Cool Hand Luke" in 1967. Paul Newman was grateful to Lemmon for his support, and offered him the Sundance Kid role, but Lemmon turned it down. He did not like riding horses, and he also felt he'd already played too many aspects of the Sundance Kid's character before. ["A slice of Lemmon for extra character", Bob Flynn, Panorama, p. 7, Canberra Times, 15 August 1998]
Warren Beatty was considered for one of the lead roles, and Marlon Brando, who at the time had minimal box-office draw, was considered at one point due to his role in an earlier Western, "One-Eyed Jacks". At one point, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman were expected to star, and they discussed using the new "staggered but equal billing" later introduced for "The Towering Inferno". Eventually, Newman and Robert Redford were chosen, but initially Newman was to play Sundance and Redford Cassidy. 20th Century Fox did not want Redford to play the part, but director George Roy Hill insisted. Redford later noted that this film catapulted him to stardom and changed his career forever.

The movie was partially filmed near Durango, Colorado. (The area where they jump into the river is just north of Baker's Bridge in SW Colorado.) In the scene where a railroad car is blown up, the railroad car was built for the scene out of balsa wood and toothpicks. The budget only allowed for one take, and therefore an unusually high amount of explosives was used. The explosion was huge, and the line "Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?" is reported to be an ad lib, according to locals who observed.

Butch Cassidy's outlaw gang was actually called The Wild Bunch, this was changed in the film to The Hole In The Wall Gang to avoid confusion with Sam Peckinpah's recently released film "The Wild Bunch".


Awards and nominations

The film won Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Music, Original Score for a Motion Picture (not a Musical), Best Music, Song (Burt Bacharach and Hal David for "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"), and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Material Not Previously Published or Produced. It was nominated for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Sound.

The film also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film.

In 2003, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" was acknowledged as the seventh best film in the western genre. [cite news | author = American Film Institute | title = AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres | work = ComingSoon.net | date = 2008-06-17 | url = http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=46072 | accessdate= 2008-06-18] [cite web | title= Top Western | url = http://www.afi.com/10top10/western.html | publisher= American Film Institute |accessdate= 2008-06-18]

Box office

Adjusted for inflation, the film ranks among the top 100 grossing movies of all time and the top 10 for its decade, partly due to subsequent re-releases. The film grossed about $102.3 million domestically through 1974 and although no data on its worldwide gross is readily available, it is listedFact|date=February 2007 above "Goldfinger" (1964) – $124.9 million and below "Thunderball" (1965) – $141.2 million.

In popular culture

*In the b-side song "Sepia" by Manic Street Preachers. It includes the lines: "And just like the moment in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid / I'm perpetually stuck in a sepia film / But bleeding inside I manage to keep it all in".
*In an episode of "The West Wing" (titled "The Fall's Gonna Kill You," in reference to a line from this film), C. J. Cregg (Allison Janney) refers to Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) and other senior staffers as 'Butch and Sundance'.
*In the video game Max Payne, a guard can be overheard saying, "The best movie ending ever? Heh, gotta be 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'. A hero's end, goin' out with guns blazing."
*In the film, "A Little Romance" (also directed by George Roy Hill), Thelonious Bernard's character, Daniel Michon, raptly watches the film (dubbed in French). (Michon also watches George Roy Hill's "The Sting".)
*In the film, "Mallrats", Sven-Ole Thorsen's character, the over-zealous security guard La Fours, is a clear homage by director Kevin Smith to the classic Western. La Fours follows the protagonists throughout the movie, and is often seen wearing his white skimmer.
*In the comic book "Hitman", Tommy Monaghan, the titular hitman, is talked out of a suicide run by his friend, Natt, who says "it don't feel like time for Butch and Sundance yet". In the series' final arc, Natt calls back to this earlier comment, deciding that it does feel like they'll go out guns blazing.
*In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer and Marge ride on a bicycle while 'Raindrops are falling on my head' is playing in a similar fashion to the famous scene in the film.
*In the film, "Hot Fuzz", Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's characters are having a shootout against the "villains" of the film at the ending. The shootout parodies Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid's shootout as well.
*In the television show Farscape, main character John Crichton (played by Ben Browder) creates an alias for himself and his partner, Aeryn Sun (played by Claudia Black) on an alien planet. "I'm Butch. This is Sundance"
*In the film, "The Way of the Gun", the protagonists take on the aliases of Mr. Parker and Mr. Longbaugh, the real names of Butch and Sundance.
*In the film "Beverly Hills Cop" Billy Judge Reinhold references the movie during a gun battle at the end of the film.
*Miami Dolphins' running backs Jim Kiick and Larry Csonka were known as "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
*In The Fast Show, Simon and Lindsey, the extreme sports enthusiasts, spoof the ending of the film during a paintballing game.
*One scene near the end of "Shanghai Noon" is a homage to the last shot of the film
*In the television show Stargate SG-1, Butch and Sundance are referenced several times when someone (usually Colonel Jack O'Neill, played by Richard Dean Anderson) is in need of a cover up name, or simply in a tough situation.
*The Swedish rock/pop group Kent (band) opens the album "Vapen och Ammunition" (2002) with the song "Sundance Kid". The lyrics of the song depict the feeling of despair and losing hope in a lost cause.
*In Bon Jovi's song "Right Side of Wrong" from their Bounce album, the line "Just like Butch and Sundance, we'll ride until dawn" references the movie.
*In Robbie Williams' song "Me and My Monkey" there is a line "Me and monkey / Like Butch and the Sundance Kid", referring to the kind of relationship that the characters had and the dangerous lifestyle they led.
*In Joanne Harris' book "Gentlemen and Players" (in about the fourth quarter of the book). One of the main characters twice compares themselves and their best friend with "Butch and Sundance" when they are about to jump for freedom.In an episode of the fresh Prrince of Bel-air, Phillip Banks calls Carlton and Will Buthch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


The Sundance Film Festival, begun by Robert Redford, is named for his role in this film, as is his Utah ski resort, Sundance.

Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for seriously ill children is named from the gang in this movie.

A prequel to the film, "Butch and Sundance: The Early Years," starring William Katt and Tom Berenger was released in 1979 [citeweb|url = http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078919/|title = IMDB:'Butch and Sundance: The Early Years'|accessdate = 2007-11-20] . The film inspired a television series, "Alias Smith and Jones", starring Pete Duel and Ben Murphy as two outlaws trying to earn an amnesty [citeweb|url = http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/smith.htm|title = Television Heaven: 'Alias Smith and Jones'|accessdate = 2006-12-09] . It has also been spoofed in films such as "Shanghai Noon" [citeweb|url = http://www.filmfreakcentral.net/screenreviews/shanghainoon.htm|title = Shanghai Noon|accessdate = 2006-12-09] and "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves", and TV shows such as "The Simpsons" (in the episode Duffless), "Futurama", "The Venture Bros." and "Full Metal Panic" Fact|date=February 2007.

The Sundance Square, a commercial development in downtown Fort Worth, Texas by the Bass Family, is named in honor of the final and most famous portrait taken in that area.


External links

* [http://blogs.amctv.com/dvd_tv/2007/03/butch_cassidy_a.html Read trivia about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at AMC's DVD_TV blog]

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