Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Written by William Goldman
Directed by George Roy Hill
“Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.” ~ Butch Cassidy
I recently saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in the theater, a first for me since its original release was the year of my birth, and I have not caught it on any previous revivals. Though I have seen the film multiple times, it had been years, and no view before could compete with seeing it on the big screen.
The film is stunning. Cinematically the movie is beautiful, and it is allowed to be. There are long shot moments with no dialogue, just sprawling scenery and our main characters, Butch and Sundance, riding horses, or running, escaping through all that land. It is remarkable to see scenes like this, where the audience is trusted to follow along and understand without words and chaotic action.
There are moments of both though – words and chaotic action – but there are the opposite, too, and it moved me to see those quieter scenes.
The complicated relationship between Butch, Sundance and Etta was something I’d never noticed before. It is not something that is typical of films I’ve seen from that era. This is an odd kind of love triangle. A complex connection that has Etta and Sundance in a love relationship, but real attraction, and what seems like love, between Etta and Butch, too. You can see it. It is very palpable. And, at times (especially the iconic bicycle scene), Etta and Butch have more chemistry together, in my opinion.
The core of this film though is the friendship between Butch and Sundance. They have a complicated relationship, too, but it is one that is unquestionably close. Their friendship is the star here. Their banter and humor between them is my favorite – especially Butch, who is sarcastic and whip-smart. He has that Han Solo kind of scoundrel/sarcastic sensibility that I find so damn attractive.
The film completely holds up in just about every way to me with the exception of some of the soundtrack music. There are moments there that seem very dated/late 60’s that do not connect with the old west to me, but I’ll take it, as the rest of the movie is so great.
If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend seeing this one on the big screen.
“Off the Cliff”