This 1969 Western encapsulates the genre, with dramatic chase scenes on horseback through breathtaking landscapes, daring robberies of banks and trains, true comradery between cowboys who would risk their lives for one another, and copious amounts of renegade charm. Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) is the smart, savvy leader of The Hole in the Wall Gang, and his sidekick the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) ranks among the best shooters the West has known. This combination of brains and menace allows the duo to roam unchallenged, staging petty robberies when needed and otherwise kicking back at the local brothel. But when a six-pack of the best cowboys in nearby states gather to bring down the rebels, using a Native American tracker to follow them across rivers, over mountains, and through deserts; Butch and Sundance decide to flee. Gathering Sundance's girlfriend (Katherine Ross), they make their way to Bolivia via New York City. Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and before they know it, the charismatic criminals find themselves in an all-too-familiar situation, this time facing South American enemies.
Directed by George Roy Hill, BUTCH CASSIDY's balance of drama, action, and humor is a winning combination on its own. But this excellent tale of friendship and adventure is most successful for its talented leads, who fill every scene with wit, skill, and machismo. A broad color palette showcases glorious sunsets and peaceful rivers running through the craggy Rocky Mountains, while brief interludes of black and white still shots inject artistic flair. In every sense a classic, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID is simply timeless.
1969 - Academy Awards - Best Original Screenplay Winner
1969 - Academy Awards - Best Original Score Winner
1969 - Academy Awards - Best Original Song Winner
1969 - Academy Awards - Best Cinematography Winner
William Goldman - American Screenwriter
Henry Jones - American Character Actor
Robert Redford - Actor/director/producer
Charles Robert Jr. Redford - Actor/director/producer
George Roy Hill - Director
Jeff Corey - American Actor
Cloris Leachman - Phyllis of TV's "Phyllis" & "Mary Tyler Moore Show"
Paul Newman - Oscar-winning American actor, THE COLOR OF MONEY
Strother Martin - American Supporting Actor
Edith Head - Oscar winning costume designer, THE STING
Burt Bacharach - Songwriter
Ted Cassidy - Lurch (and Thing) of TV's "The Addams Family"
Katharine Ross - American Actress
Kenneth Mars - American Supporting Actor
Conrad L. Hall - Director of Photography, Father of Conrad W. Hall
Conrad Hall - Director of Photography, Father of Conrad W. Hall
Theatrical release: September 23, 1969. Shooting locations: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Mexico. Paul Newman initially turned down the film, uncertain about his ability to do comedy. Warren Beatty originally accepted the role of Sundance, but Newman, who also functioned as a producer, refused to okay him. Director George Roy Hill proposed Redford, and Newman accepted. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID is number 50 on the American Film Institute's list of America's 100 Greatest Movies. The film is based loosely on real-life Western outlaws Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Longbaugh. The film features the hit "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The film was followed in 1979 by BUTCH AND SUNDANCE: THE EARLY DAYS, directed by Richard Lester and written by Allan Burns. Tom Berenger and William Katt substitute for Newman and Redford in this prequel, which purports to detail the early exploits of the outlaw duo.
"...Enthralling on-camera anecdotes..." - 01/27/1995 USA Today, p.3D
"...The Western comedy that ushered in the Age of the Buddy Movie..." -- Rating: A- - 02/10/1995 Entertainment Weekly, p.79
"...[With] immaculate windscreen cinematography -- Westerns don't come any more glossy..." - 02/01/2001 Sight and Sound, p.62
"...The dialogue sparks, the direction is immaculate and the final shot is simply unforgettable..." - 09/01/2000 Total Film, p.102
4 stars out of 5 -- "[The film] should be cherished for its stars' chemistry, 27-minute chase sequence, climactic shootout, freeze-frame-and-pull-out final shot, warm photography and fresh take on a weary theme..." - 07/01/2006 Total Film, p.128