Starring as two aging gunfighters, William Holden and Ernest Borgnine lead THE WILD BUNCH through the early Twentieth Century West robbing villages and shooting anyone who gets in the way. Even though the well-paced action keeps audience attention throughout, one must consider whether this late 60's "classic" is worth the ride through the brutal violence, foul language, sexual immorality, and socially rebellious message.
Starring an aging gunfighter, William Holden as Pike leads the recently re-released WILD BUNCH through the early 20th Century West robbing villages and shooting anyone who gets in their way. As the story starts, the Wild Bunch rob a bank while bounty hunters wait in ambush. The gang spies the trap and makes their break using the innocent townspeople as a shield. In the slow-motion blood ballet that follows, some gang members are killed and some are abandoned as the gang heads for Mexico pursued by the bounty hunters, headed by Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan), Pike’s closest friend until Pike abandoned him.
The movie’s storyline is rife with violence, and director Sam Peckinpah revels in depicting it. Bloody shootings with little remorse are common throughout. At times, even children engage in the violence, and many Mexican women are used solely for sexual gratification. Offensive elements aside, Peckinpah delivers a masterfully directed film with beautiful cinematography. However, themes of anti-establishment defiance and rebellion against authority run hot through THE WILD BUNCH, as does the gang’s desire to live by a “code of honor” that only violent outcasts would understand. One must consider whether this late 60’s “classic” is worth the ride through the brutal violence, foul language, sexual immorality, and socially rebellious message.
(R, LLL, VVV, S, NN, A, AB) Romanticism; 95 obscenities & 6 profanities; numerous bloody shootings, some execution style, & man's throat slit; implied fornication & prostitution; female nudity & brief child nudity; frequent alcohol use; and, light mockery of hymn.