One of the most important and influential films to ever come out of Hollywood, The Wild Bunch celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. Sam Peckinpah’s legendary Western masterwork came at a time of pivotal change in American filmmaking. The much-maligned Haye’s Code of the last 30 years had finally come to an end the year prior, and no one was better suited to display what filmmakers could achieve without limitations than the always provocative Peckinpah. Like Bonnie and Clyde (1967) before it, The Wild Bunch pushed the boundaries of violence in film, elevating it to new levels of excess and mayhem. The signature editing style of Peckinpah’s radical film is now iconic and remains a testament to auteur filmmaking that was at the precipice of evolving into the beloved golden period of studio freedom that the 70s soon opened its doors to. The Wild Bunch is also a profound Western that closed the door on the genre for some time with its theme of finality and death of the sacred heroes now portrayed as ruthless criminals and outlaws. Half a century later, The Wild Bunch endures as one of the most important and classic of all American films, paving the way for the freedom in which we are allowed to create today.
0:00 – 9:12: The Moment of Keanu Reeves
9:12 – 31:55: Box Office Weekend
31:55 – 51:44: The Wild Bunch
51:44 – 1:04:15: Ranking the Westerns
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