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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Alternate Title: The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy
Director: George Roy Hill (Dir)
Release Date:   Oct 1969
Premiere Information:   New Haven, CT opening: 23 Sep 1969; New York opening: 24 Sep 1969; Los Angeles opening: 1 Oct 1969
Production Date:   16 Sep 1968--mid-Jan 1969
Duration (in mins):   110 or 112
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Cast:   Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy [also known as Robert LeRoy Parker])  
    Robert Redford (The Sundance Kid [also known as Harry Longabaugh])  
    Katharine Ross (Etta Place)  
    Strother Martin (Percy Garris)  
    Henry Jones (Bike salesman)  
    Jeff Corey (Sheriff [Ray] Bledsoe)  
    George Furth (Woodcock)  
    Cloris Leachman (Agnes)  
    Ted Cassidy (Harvey Logan)  
    Kenneth Mars (Marshal)  
    Donnelly Rhodes (Macon)  
    Jody Gilbert (Large woman)  
    Timothy Scott (News Carver)  
    Don Keefer (Fireman)  
    Charles Dierkop (Flat Nose Curry)  
    Francisco Córdova (Bank manager)  
    Nelson Olmstead (Photographer)  
    Paul Bryar (Card player #1)  
    Sam Elliott (Card player #2)  
    Charles Akins (Bank teller)  
    Eric Sinclair (Tiffany's salesman)  
    Dave Dunlop (Gunman)  
    Buck Holland (Citizen's voice)  
    Doug Bank (Citizen)  
    Larry Barton (Citizen)  
    Rico Cattani (Bank guard)  
    Percy Helton (Sweetface)  
    Jack Isbell (Super posse)  
    Lyn Massey    
    Jill Hall    

Summary: Dismayed by the extreme measures to prevent robberies taken by a small-town western bank, notorious bank robber Butch Cassidy wanders over to a saloon to meet his partner, The Sundance Kid, who is in the middle of a card game. One of the players, Macon, unaware of Sundance’s identity, accuses the outlaw of cheating and, refusing to surrender his money, prepares to fight it out. When Butch attempts to intervene, Macon orders him away until he learns Sundance’s identity after which he meekly withdraws his accusation. On the long ride back to their hideout, the Hole in the Wall in Wyoming, Butch tries to convince Sundance that they should go to Bolivia, which abounds in gold. Arriving at the hideout, Butch is surprised to find gang members Harvey Logan, News Carver and Flat Nose Curry preparing to rob the Union Pacific Overland Flyer train. Butch vetoes their plan, declaring that banks are much more reliable. Harvey then informs Butch that because Butch has spent so much time away, Harvey has taken over leadership of the gang and made the decision to rob the Flyer. Butch insists he remains the gang’s leader, leading Harvey to challenge him to a fight, which Butch quickly wins by distracting his opponent. Afterward, Butch decides that the plan to rob the train on both of its scheduled trips through the area is sound. The gang stops the Flyer, whose engineers are excited at being robbed by Butch, but the theft is almost thwarted by the dedicated efforts of a young clerk, Woodcock, who refuses to open the train car containing the bank safe. News then dynamites the door and, while the others retrieve the money, Butch revives the stunned Woodcock. A few nights later in a nearby town, Butch and Sundance sit on a bordello balcony and watch with amusement as down on the street the town marshal struggles to incite the townspeople into forming a posse to go after the Hole in the Wall gang. Butch then envisions he and Sundance joining the army and becoming officers, and confides that his real name is Robert LeRoy Parker. Sundance reveals his real name is Harry Longabaugh and as the men toast each other, the townspeople lose interest in the marshal's exhortations when a salesman demonstrates a new invention, the bicycle. When Butch turns his attentions to one of the bordello girls, Sundance rides off. One evening some days later, schoolteacher Etta Place arrives at her small house and is startled to find Sundance waiting for her in the dark. While Sundance points his gun at her, Etta disrobes and lets her hair down, then as he embraces her, she chastises him for being late. A few days later, Etta awakens to the strange sight of Butch riding around the house on a bicycle. Delighted, Etta takes a ride with Butch who performs tricks on the bicycle before being run off by a bull. On the way back to the house, Etta asks Butch if he has come to enlist Sundance in another robbery. Butch admits that he cannot understand why, despite working hard all his life, he has always been broke. Later, Butch, Sundance and the gang make another strike on the Flyer and Butch is delighted to discover the committed Woodcock back on the job. After tricking the young clerk into opening the car door, Butch discovers that Woodcock has firmly secured the safe. Using several sticks of dynamite, Butch blows up the entire train car and as the men laughingly retrieve the flyaway money, a train engine pulling a single car comes up behind the Flyer. Alarmed, Butch and the others watch as several horses and riders leap from the train car and start after them. Butch and Sundance immediately flee, but two of the gang members scrambling to get away are shot down. When Butch and Sundance split off from the surviving two gang members, they are frustrated that all the pursuers come after them. Butch and Sundance ride hard through the day into the evening, returning to the friendly bordello, but their efforts to throw off the pursuers fail, forcing them to escape into the night. To their dismay, their hunters follow using torches. Impressed and incredulous at the group’s tenacity in tracking over various terrains throughout the next day, Butch repeatedly wonders about the men’s identities. In a far-flung town, Butch and Sundance stop at the office of old friend Sheriff Ray Bledsoe, who angrily informs them that their presence might compromise his position. When Butch asks Bledsoe to vouch for them so they can enlist in the army, the old sheriff roughly tells them that they are doomed to meet a bloody end. Butch and Sundance resume their flight and during brief rest stops observe their single-minded pursuers. Sundance believes one of them may be a famous full-blooded Indian tracker from Oklahoma named Lord Baltimore. Although Butch is skeptical, after studying the men, he wonders if their leader is the famous lawman LaForce, known for his trademark white skimmer hat. Increasingly apprehensive, Butch and Sundance continue their evasions, riding high into a steep mountain range, where they let their remaining horse go and proceed on foot only to find themselves on a cliff overlooking a river. Realizing that half of the trackers are behind them, and the others have taken up positions on the cliff across the river, Butch determines they can fight or surrender. Sundance refuses to capitulate, but when Butch abruptly suggests they jump into the river, he staunchly refuses, finally admitting that he cannot swim. Butch assures Sundance the fall will likely kill them and, as their pursuers watch helplessly, the duo plunges into the river, which sweeps them away to safety. Some days later, an exhausted Butch and Sundance arrive at Etta’s home, where she relates that the newspapers had reported their capture. She explains that the head of the Union Pacific lines, E. H. Harriman, outraged by the constant robberies of his trains by the Hole in the Wall gang, has put together an exclusive posse comprised of the nation’s best lawmen to assure the demise of Butch and Sundance. Butch angrily accuses Harriman of bad business practices, declaring that if the tycoon would simply pay them the money he has paid the posse, Butch would stop robbing him. Sundance fears they will be on the run forever and later that night he and Butch invite Etta to flee with them to Bolivia. She agrees, stipulating that if the law should reach them there, she will not stay to watch them die. The next day, the trio sets off for New York, where they catch a steamer to South America. Upon arriving in a small, dusty village in Bolivia, Sundance expresses disgust with the primitive surroundings. While attempting to rob a village bank, the duo is horrified that no one speaks English, prompting Etta to teach them holdup commands in Spanish. Etta joins in the next several heists and, soon, Butch and Sundance develop a reputation as Los Bandidos Yanquis , or the Yankee Bandits. Their spree comes to an abrupt end, however, when Butch spots LaForce in a village. Etta insists that the lawman is outside his jurisdiction, but Sundance reminds her that the posse’s mission is to kill them. Butch declares that if they commit no further robberies, they cannot be traced, and so announces they are going “straight.” The men then take a job with Percy Garris, escorting a mining payroll, but on their very first job, Garris is killed by local bandits. When the bandits fire on Butch and Sundance, they readily surrender the money, but when it becomes obvious the thieves do not intend to let them go, the duo is forced to kill them. Dejected, Butch and Sundance return to Etta who urges them to take up farming or ranching. When they refuse, Etta decides to return to America. Butch and Sundance resume robbing banks and one day arrive in the small town of San Vicente, where they are recognized and reported to the local police. The police chief summons the army, then surrounds Butch and Sundance with his own forces. In the ensuing gunfight, the outlaws run low on ammunition, forcing Butch to make a daring race across the courtyard to grab their gun belts, while Sundance provides furious cover. Badly wounded, the men collapse in a local building and as they painfully rearm, Butch confides to the skeptical Sundance that he has discovered another place rich with potential, Australia. Unaware that a large contingent of soldiers has joined the police outside, Butch and Sundance confidently rush out of the building to make their escape, only to be caught in a hail of bullets. 

Production Company: Campanile Productions, Inc.  
Production Text: A George Roy Hill-Paul Monash Production
A George Roy Hill-Paul Monash Production; A Newman-Foreman Presentation
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: George Roy Hill (Dir)
  Steven Bernhardt (Asst dir)
  Bill Kissel (Asst dir)
  Randell Henderson (Asst dir)
  Michael Moore (2d unit dir)
Producer: John Foreman (Prod)
  Paul Newman (Prod)
  Paul Monash (Exec prod)
Writer: William Goldman (Wrt)
Photography: Conrad Hall (Dir of photog)
  Lawrence Schiller (Spec still photog)
  Harold E. Wellman (2d unit photog)
  Jordan Cronewyth (Cam)
  Harry Sundby (Gaffer)
  Art Brooker (Grip)
Art Direction: Jack Martin Smith (Art dir)
  Philip Jefferies (Art dir)
Film Editor: John C. Howard (Film ed)
  Richard C. Meyer (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Walter M. Scott (Set dec)
  Chester L. Bayhi (Set dec)
  Fred Chapman (Props)
Costumes: Edith Head (Cost)
  Wesley Trist (Cost)
  Joe Drury (Cost)
  Diana Johe (Cost)
Music: Burt Bacharach (Mus comp and cond)
  Leo Shuken (Orch)
  Jack Hayes (Orch)
Sound: William E. Edmondson (Sd)
  David E. Dockendorf (Sd)
Special Effects: L. B. Abbott (Spec photog eff)
  Art Cruickshank (Spec photog eff)
  Glenn Advertising, Inc. (Main title)
  John Neuhart (Graphic mont)
Make Up: Dan Striepeke (Makeup)
  Leo Lotito (Makeup)
  Richard Dawson (Makeup)
  Edith Lindon (Hairstyling)
  Laura Grubich (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Lloyd Anderson (Unit prod mgr)
  Ron Preissman (Asst to prod)
  Robert Crawford Jr. (Dial coach)
  Gaines Johnston (Auditor)
  Court Ernst (Auditor)
  Steve Urzykowski (Auditor)
  Lew Tate (Loc mgr)
Stand In: Bill Couch (Stunts)
  Danny Sands (Stunts)
  Eldon Burke (Stunts)
  Matt Connors (Stunts)
  William Neal (Stunts)
  Norm Stephens (Stunts)
  Dean Smith (Stunts)
  Mickey Gilbert (Stunts)
  Fred Zendar (Stunt double)
  Jim Arnett (Stunt double)
  Howard Curtis (Stunt double)
  Joe Finnegan (Stunt double)
  Fred Lerner (Stunt double)
  Steve Chambers (Stunt double)
  Ben Miller (Stunt double)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David, sung by B. J. Thomas.
Composer: Burt Bacharach
  Hal David
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Campanile Productions, Inc. and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 23/9/1969 dd/mm/yyyy LP38925

Physical Properties: col: DeLuxe with sepia seq
  Sd: Westrex Recording System
  Widescreen/ratio: Panavision

Genre: Comedy-drama
Subjects (Major): Bank robberies
  Butch Cassidy
  The Sundance Kid
  Train robberies
Subjects (Minor): Bicycles
  Jumps from heights
  New York City
  Etta Place
  Union Pacific Railroad

Note: The working title for the film was The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy . The opening credits, which are presented in sepia tone, appear next to a projection screen depicting a simulated 1905 newsreel about “The Wild Bunch,” a gang of bandits led by “Butch Cassidy” (Paul Newman) and “The Sundance Kid” (Robert Redford). The film’s opening scenes in the bank and gambling hall are also in sepia. The film dissolves into color as Butch and Sundance begin their journey to Hole-in-the-Wall, WY. The sequence of Butch, Sundance and “Etta Place” (Katharine Ross) vacationing in New York and taking a steamer to South America is presented in a sepia-tinted montage; the picture returns to color upon the trio’s arrival in a Bolivian village. The film ends with a freeze frame of Butch and Sundance running into a hail of bullets that fades into sepia.
       Robert LeRoy Parker (1866—1908), also known as Butch Cassidy, and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (1867?—1908), known as The Sundance Kid, were part of a gang of outlaws known as The Wild Bunch. However, within Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , that name was never used, most likely to avoid confusion with the Sam Peckinpah-directed Warner Bros. Western The Wild Bunch (1969, see below) which went into production just prior to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and, despite the title, did not in any way involve the characters of Butch Cassidy or The Sundance Kid.
       Parker, who was born into a large Mormon family in Beaver, UT, briefly dabbled in ranching and horse racing, then turned to bank and train robberies. In 1894 he was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison, of which he served eighteen months in the State Prison in Laramie, WY. Sometime after his release, Parker formed The Wild Bunch, with a group of outlaws who, at various times, included Will Carver, Ben Kilpatrick, Harvey Logan, Elzy Lay and Longabaugh.
       As depicted in the film, the gang robbed trains as well as banks. Union Pacific Railroad chairman E. H. Harriman made an attempt to negotiate with Parker, but nothing came of it. Under pursuit by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, in 1901 Parker, Longabaugh and the latter’s girl friend (sometimes thought to be his wife), Ethel “Etta” Place (1878--?), fled to South America. Not depicted in the film was the fact that the trio originally settled in Argentina before moving to Chile and eventually Bolivia. According to some historical sources, they purchased a ranch outside Cholila, Argentina, near the Andes, where they remained for nearly four years. During this period, Longabaugh and Place returned to America in 1902 and 1904 to visit family and seek medical attention for an unspecified illness. In 1904 Pinkerton agents tracked them to Texas but were unable to arrest the couple before they returned to Argentina. Eventually tipped off to the impending arrival of the Pinkertons, the trio sold the Argentine ranch and moved on to Chile. Some historical sources indicate that in 1906 Longabaugh escorted Place back to San Francisco, before he rejoined Parker in Bolivia. Bank and payroll robberies by American bandits thought to be Parker and Longabaugh were reported in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia during the years the men were there. As shown in the film, Parker and Longabaugh were payroll guards for a brief time in Bolivia.
       In Nov 1908, near San Vicente in southern Bolivia, two American bandits were reported to be staying at a local lodging house. After the house was surrounded by the town mayor, some of his officials and two soldiers, a gunfight ensued. According to various reports, the bandits were subsequently killed or killed themselves when they realized they could not escape. Rumors continued over the years that Parker and Longabaugh had not been killed in Bolivia. Parker’s sister, Lula Parker Betenson, claimed that her brother had returned to America and lived in anonymity until the mid-1930s. Nothing further is known about Etta Place after approximately 1907. Unlike the film’s characterization of her as a schoolteacher, it is thought Place was a prostitute who met Longabaugh in a Texas bordello. Her name is also in some dispute as “Place” was Longabaugh’s mother’s maiden name. At various times, Place went under the name Mrs. Harry Longabaugh, Mrs. Harry A. Place and Mrs. Ethel Place. In 1909 a woman made a request through the U.S. vice-consul in Chile to contact the American legation in La Paz, Bolivia inquiring about a death certificate for Longabaugh in order to settle his estate, but it is unknown if the request came from Place.
       Pre-production on the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had begun by early Feb 1968, when a HR news item announced that Paul Newman would star and George Roy Hill would direct a film about the outlaws based on a script by novelist and screenwriter William Goldman. The item noted that filming would take place in Latin America and possibly Spain. In May 1968, a FD news item stated Robert Redford would co-star with Newman. According to an Oct 1968 DV news item, location filming of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid took place in Utah and Colorado, as well as Taxco and Cuernavaca, Mexico.
       Except as noted, the following information was compiled from interviews with the cast, writer and director for a special edition DVD release of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid : Newman stated that Goldman discussed his ideas for the development of a script on the little known outlaws with him prior to writing it. Later, Newman was contacted by actor Steve McQueen, who had a copy of the completed script and suggested they co-star in the film. After reading the script, Newman, who assumed he would play the role of Sundance, recommended that he and McQueen jointly purchase the property, but McQueen hesitated and the script was bought shortly thereafter by producer Paul Monash. Goldman indicated that the title change occurred after Newman was cast as Butch. A Mar 1983 HR “Rambling Reporter” item revealed that Marlon Brando has been the first choice to play Sundance, but he turned down the project because of extreme distress over the assassination of Martin Luther King.
       During filming, as Newman related, a stuntman had been hired to do the bicycle tricks, but when Hill expressed dissatisfaction with the results, Newman did the tricks himself. Hill noted that the least amount of historical information was available on Etta Place. He and Goldman developed the three musical interludes in the film--Butch performing bicycle tricks against the pop song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” the still montage New York vacation and steamer journey and the montage of Etta participating in numerous robberies. Because Hill disliked music playing under dialogue, these three sections are the only sequences in the film in which music is heard. Hill revealed he had initially intended to film the New York sequences as live-action shots. When 20th Century-Fox head Richard Zanuck refused to allow him to shoot on the New York City studio set constructed for the not-yet-released Hello Dolly (see below), the director came up with the idea of photographing the actors in costume and, through special photographic effects, placing these images into actual photographs from the period to compile the montage.
       The iconographic scene in which Butch and Sundance plunge into the river from a cliff was to be shot on the Minous River just outside of Durango, CO but the river was not deep enough. Newman and Redford were filmed jumping from the cliff onto a wooden platform a few feet below and the footage was matched with stuntmen leaping into a river at the Fox Studio ranch. In studio production notes included on the special edition DVD, Goldman stated that a major point of interest for him in developing the story of Butch Cassidy was that, despite years of life as a criminal, Cassidy never had used violence and did not use firearms until he lived in Bolivia, a fact noted within the film.
       According to Goldman, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had its world premiere in Durango, CO on 2 Sep 1969, contradicting news items which reported that the premiere occurred on 23 Sep 1969 in New Haven, CT, the location of Hill’s alma mater, Yale University. Critical reception of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was mixed. The New Yorker ’s Pauline Kael wrote that she felt “depressed” and “rather offended” while viewing the film, describing it as a “spin off from Bonnie and Clyde ” (1967, see below). Kael continued: “ It’s a facetious Western, and everybody in it talks comical. …The tone becomes embarrassing…its all so archly empty.” Time magazine’s critic concurred, writing: “Every character, every scene, is marred by the film’s double view, which oscillates between sympathy and farce.…dialogue could have been lifted from a Batman and Robin episode.…The score makes the film …absurd and anachronistic.” Charles Champlin of the LAT gave a more positive review, describing the film as “refreshing and tasty entertainment, a literate and sophisticated comedy.” The HR review was also supportive, noting that “It is a great film and will be an exceptionally popular and profitable one.”
       The film performed very well at the box office, grossing over $15,000,000 in North America, making it the fourth highest grossing film of the year. A Sep 1970 HR item noted that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was the largest grossing non-roadshow attraction in the history of Twentieth Century-Fox.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid won four Academy Awards: Best Writing, Best Cinematography, Best Music, Original Score and Best Music, Original Song, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” In addition, the film garnered three Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Sound. Burt Bacharach also won a Grammy award for the film’s score. In 1997, commemorating the first century of movies, AFI named Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid #50 of the 100 Greatest American Films, and on the 100 Years…100 Movies--10th Anniversary edition in 2007, the picture was ranked 73rd.
       As noted in many film sources, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is considered the launching point for Redford as a major international star, and over the years since the picture was released, both Redford and Newman have acknowledged the importance of the picture within their careers. They reunited with director Hill for the Academy Award-winning 1973 Universal release, The Sting (see below), which was another box office hit. After The Sting was released, Redford and Newman had publicly, as well as privately, discussed working together again but never found suitable material or timing to do so before Newman’s 2007 announcement that he was retiring from acting and subsequent death from cancer in 2008.
       In 1981 Redford founded the Sundance Institute outside Provo, UT, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of independent filmmakers. The institute’s annual film festival, with which Redford has remained closely associated over the years, has grown to be one of the most significant sources for American independent films. In 1986 Newman co-founded a Connecticut-based charity organization named “The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp,” an association that provides camping experiences across America and abroad for children with cancer and other serious illnesses.
       her films and television movies about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid include: the 1974 ABC Television movie Mrs. Sundance , starring Elizabeth Montgomery as Etta Place; the 1976 ABC Television movie Mrs. Sundance Rides Again , in which Ross reprised her role as Place; the 1979 Twentieth Century-Fox release Butch and Sundance: The Early Days , directed by Richard Lester and starring William Katt as Sundance and Tom Berenger as Butch; and the 2004, NBC Television movie The Legend of Butch and Sundance , starring David Clayton Rogers and Ryan Browning. In 2007, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was ranked 73rd on AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies--10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   9 Oct 1968.   
Daily Variety   28 Oct 1968.   
Daily Variety   10 Sep 1969.   
Film Daily   21 May 1968.   
Film Daily   16 Jan 1969.   
Film Daily   10 Sep 1969   p. 6.
Films and Filming   Mar 1970   p. 34.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Oct 1967.   
Hollywood Reporter   22 Feb 1968.   
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jun 1968.   
Hollywood Reporter   19 Aug 1969.   
Hollywood Reporter   10 Sep 1969   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Dec 1969   pp. 3-4.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Sep 1970.   
Hollywood Reporter   4 Mar 1983.   
Los Angeles Times   1 Oct 1969.   
Life   24 Oct 1969   p. 16.
Motion Picture Herald   17 Sep 1969.   
New York Times   25 Sep 1969   p. 54.
New York Times   5 Oct 1969   Section II, p. 20.
New Yorker   27 Sep 1969   pp. 127-29.
Newsweek   13 Oct 1969   p. 116.
San Francisco Chronicle   8 Apr 1970.   
Saturday Review   20 Sep 1969   p. 30.
Time   26 Sep 1969   p. 94.
Variety   9 Oct 1968.   
Variety   10 Sep 1969   p. 36.

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