The Sundance Kid can shoot;
Butch Cassidy’s a hoot.
Between the two, they head a crew
Who rob banks for the loot.
When they hold up a train,
First once and then again,
They’re followed by a gang, who try
To hound them ‘cross the plain.
They run both night and day
And barely get away.
They both decide to simply hide
And leave the USA.
Bolivia’s their chance.
With Etta for romance,
The three depart for their new start
As dubious transplants.
With heists they have success,
With worries nonetheless.
Despite their plans, blood’s on their hands,
And Etta leaves the stress.
While eating lunch in town,
These outlaws of renown
Both shoot their piece against police,
But both men are shot down.

A classic outlaw western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid succeeds wholly because of its two stars. Butch and Sundance are thieving cowards who rob banks and meet a bloody end, but, unlike the very similar Bonnie and Clyde, the film makes them so likable that one can almost overlook their faults. Paul Newman brings great humor to Butch, the brains of the operation, and, as my VC says, “Robert Redford never looked so good” with that mustache. It’s easy to see why both of them are appealing to Etta, played by Katharine Ross from Shenandoah and The Graduate.

The Oscar-winning screenplay boasts stellar dialogue, perfected by the spot-on chemistry of Newman and Redford. Some say the film has jarring mood swings, but I appreciate how the filmmakers presented both the carefree moments of romance (the famous bicycle scene) and moments in which their lawless deeds come back to haunt them. The scenery is also stunning, as Butch and Sundance flee across it from the team of lawmen.

The mostly clean film also won Oscars for Best Song (“Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”), Best Score, Best Cinematography, and the aforementioned Best Original Screenplay. It certainly deserved them, and my VC would have it even higher on her list. Still, I’m not a fan of antihero movies, even when the characters are so likable. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re criminals, who deserved the hounding and the violent end they met. Even so, the final scene of the two rushing outside to their deaths, guns ablaze, taps into the romantic, adventurous spirit that makes “cops and robbers” so much fun. I’d just hate to be the robbers.

Best line: (Butch) “Well, that ought to do it.” [whole train car blows up] (Sundance) “Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?”

Artistry: 7
Characters/Actors: 9
Entertainment: 8
Visual Effects: 8
Originality: 6
Watchability: 7
TOTAL: 45 out of 60

Next: #175 – How to Train Your Dragon

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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