AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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The Wild Bunch
Director: Sam Peckinpah (Dir)
Release Date:   18 Jun 1969
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles opening: 18 Jun 1969; New York opening: 25 Jun 1969
Production Date:   25 Mar--mid-Jul 1968
Duration (in mins):   135, 140, 145 or 151
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Cast:   William Holden (Pike [Bishop])  
    Ernest Borgnine (Dutch [Engstrom])  
    Robert Ryan [1909-1973] ([Deke] Thornton)  
    Edmond O'Brien (Sykes)  
    Warren Oates (Lyle Gorch)  
    Jaime Sanchez (Angel)  
    Ben Johnson (Tector Gorch)  
    Emilio Fernandez (Mapache)  
    Strother Martin (Coffer)  
    L. Q. Jones (T. C.)  
    Albert Dekker ([Pat ] Harrigan)  
    Bo Hopkins (Crazy Lee)  
    Dub Taylor ([Mayor] Wainscoat)  
    Paul Harper (Ross)  
    Jorge Russek ([Lt.] Zamorra)  
    Alfonso Arau (Herrera)  
    Chano Urueta (Don Jose)  
    Elsa Cardenas (Elsa)  
    Bill Hart (Jess)  
    Rayford Barnes (Buck)  
    Steve Ferry (Sergeant McHale)  
    Sonia Amelio (Teresa)  
    Aurora Clavel (Aurora)  
    Enrique Lucero (Ignacio)  
    Elizabeth DuPeyron (Rocio)  
    Yolanda Ponce (Yolis)  
    Jose Chavez (Juan Jose)  
    Rene DuPeyron (Juan)  
    Pedro Galvan (Benson)  
    Graciela Doring (Emma)  
    Major Perez (Perez)  
    Fernando Wagner (Mohr)  
    Jorge Rado (Ernst)  
    Ivan Scott (Paymaster)  
    Sra. Madero (Margaret)  
    Margarito Luna (Luna)  
    Chalo Gonzalez (Gonzalez)  
    Lilia Castillo (Lilia)  
    Elizabeth Unda (Carmen)  
    Julio Corona (Julio)  
    Mickey Gilbert (Frank)  
    Walt La Rue (Abe)  
    Jack Williams (Phil)  
    Joe F. Yrigoyen (Simkins)  
    Erwin W. Neal (Fray)  
    Arch Butler (Jabalai)  
    Edward C. Canutt (Burt)  
  Bounty hunters: Robert Buzz Henry    
    James S. Sheppard    
    Buck Holland    
    William R. Shannon    
    Constance White    

Summary: By 1913, the outlaw gangs of the Old West are rapidly disappearing. Under the leadership of aging Pike Bishop, one such gang rides into San Rafael, Texas, to rob the local railway office. Though dressed in U.S. Cavalry uniforms, Bishop and his men--Dutch Engstrom, brothers Lyle and Tector Gorch, and a young Mexican, Angel--are ambushed by bounty hunters led by ex-convict Deke Thornton, a former member of Bishop's gang who must pursue his old friend or return to prison. When a group of temperance marchers are caught in the crossfire, the ambush turns into a massacre that ends when Bishop's men escape into Mexico and the bounty hunters stop to loot the corpses. At a rendezvous in Mexico with Sykes, an old, broken-down gunslinger, the gang discovers that the stolen railway bags contain iron washers instead of money. Accepting their bad luck, they ride to Angel's home village, where they learn that the bandit general Mapache, a sadistic opponent of Pancho Villa, has killed Angel's father and ridden off with the youth's sweetheart, Teresa. Though Angel kills Teresa in public when he finds her with the general, Bishop intervenes on behalf of the boy and makes a deal with Mapache whereby Bishop's gang will rob an army munitions train and sell its load of rifles to the bandits for $10,000. In spite of the presence of Thornton's bounty hunters on the train, Bishop's gang hijacks the vehicle and escapes with the army rifles. Angel, who has given a carton of munitions to the people of his village, is seized and held prisoner by the bandits. Because loyalty to one another is all that remains, the "wild bunch" demands Angel's release; but when the demand is made during a drunken celebration, Mapache slashes the boy's throat. Bishop kills the bandit chief in retaliation, thereby setting off a slaughter in which the entire gang, as well as hundreds of Mexicans, are killed. Thornton and his bounty hunters arrive to collect the bodies of the ransomed outlaws; but when all except Thornton ride out of town, they are shot down by Sykes and the peasants from Angel's village. As the Mexicans tie the sacks of gold to their horses, Sykes and the weary Thornton decide to become a team. 

Production Company: Phil Feldman Productions, Inc.  
  Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc.  
Production Text: A Phil Feldman Production
Distribution Company: Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc.  
Director: Sam Peckinpah (Dir)
  Buzz Henry (2d unit dir)
  Cliff Coleman (Asst dir)
  Fred Gammon (Asst dir)
  Phil Rawlins (1st asst dir)
  Howard Kazanjian (2d asst dir)
Producer: Phil Feldman (Prod)
  Roy N. Sickner (Assoc prod)
Writer: Walon Green (Scr)
  Sam Peckinpah (Scr)
  Walon Green (Story)
  Roy N. Sickner (Story)
Photography: Lucien Ballard (Dir of photog)
  Bud Gaunt (Key grip)
  Reggie Jones (Grip)
  Tom Laughridge (Cam op)
  Richard Vanik (1st asst cam)
  Bernie Abramson (Still photog)
  Don Stott (Elec gaffer)
  James Reber (Generator man)
Art Direction: Edward Carrere (Art dir)
Film Editor: Louis Lombardo (Film ed)
  Robert L. Wolfe (Assoc film ed)
Set Decoration: Philip A. Ankrom (Prop master)
  Arnold Losey (Prop man)
Costumes: Gordon Dawson (Ward supv)
  James R. Silke (Cost des)
Music: Jerry Fielding (Mus)
  Sonny Burke (Mus supv)
  Richard Harris (Supv mus film ed)
  Don Harris (Mus film ed)
Sound: Robert J. Miller (Sd)
  Edwin Scheid (Supv sd eff ed)
  Bill Mauch (Sd eff ed)
  Joe Kavigan (Sd eff ed)
  John Young (Sd eff ed)
  Bill Rivol (Sd eff ed)
  Stanley Martin (Sd eff ed)
Special Effects: Bud Hulburd (Spec eff)
  James W. Rugg (Spec eff)
  Ralph Ayres (Spec eff)
Make Up: Al Greenway (Makeup)
  Kester Sweeney (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: William Faralla (Prod mgr)
  Crayton Smith (Scr supv)
  Stanley Feldman (Prod coord)
  Robert Joseph (Unit pub)
  Anthony Goldschmidt (Asst to prod)
  Greta Shepherd (Secy to exec prod)
  Gay Hayden (Secy)
  Alyce S. Miller (Secy)
  Morry Nierenberg (Loc auditor)
  Tony Faehnle (Ramrod)
  Charles Misere (Driver)
  Chet Jan (Driver)
  Frank Olmstead (Driver)
  Rex Schroetter (Driver)
  Joe Lessner (Driver)
  Earl Pierson (Driver)
  Clinton "Bud" Dawson (Transportation gaffer)
Stand In: Joe F. Yrigoyen (Stuntman for "Angel" and "Sykes")
  Erwin W. Neal (Stuntman for "Pike")
  Robert D. Herron (Stuntman for "Dutch")
  Harry Joe Canutt (Stuntman for "Lyle")
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc. 18/6/1969 dd/mm/yyyy LP40894

Physical Properties: Sd:
  col: Technicolor
  Widescreen/ratio: Panavision 70mm

 
Genre: Western
 
Subjects (Major): Bandits
  Bounty hunters
  Loyalty
  Massacres
  Mexicans
  Outlaws
  Revenge
  Train robberies
 
Subjects (Minor): Drunkenness
  Ex-convicts
  Jealousy
  Mexico
  Peasantry
  Robbery
  Sadism
  Texas

Note: According to Filmfacts , location scenes were filmed in Parras, Mexico. The Filmfacts article noted that four scenes were cut by the studio after release: the confession by "Sykes" that his grandson was killed in the robbery; a flashback in which "Pike" is shot and crippled; a flashback in which "Thornton" and Pike are trapped in a brothel during an ambush; and "Mapache's" army fighting Pancho Villa's forces. As a result, the running time cited by reviewers varies between 135 and 151 min. The Wild Bunch was ranked 79th on AFI's 2007 100 Years...100 Movies--10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films, up from the 80th position it held on AFI's 1997 list. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   12 Jul 1968.   
Daily Variety   16 Jun 1969.   
Film Daily   26 Jun 1969   p. 6.
Filmfacts   1969   pp. 217-221.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Jan 1968.   
Hollywood Reporter   16 Jun 1969   p. 3.
Life   Jul 1969.   
New York Times   26 Jun 1969.   
New Yorker   5 Jul 1969.   
Newsweek   14 Jul 1969   p. 85.
Time   20 Jun 1969   p. 85.
Variety   18 Jun 1969   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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