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The Wild Bunch - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition)

4.6 out of 5 stars 607 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Wild Bunch, The: Special Edition (Dbl DVD)

Sam Peckinpah's controversial portrayal of a battle between a ruthless Mexican revolutionary and Texan bandits.

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Additional Features

The three documentaries in this two-disc set seek to illuminate the enigmatic Sam Peckinpah and the power of his film achievements without denying his own ornery, self-destructive failings. The feature-length Starz special Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade features testimony from Peckinpah intimates (including his beloved sister), colleagues (Kris Kristofferson, L.Q. Jones, editor Garth Craven) and critics (notably David Thomson and Paul Schrader). Covering all the Westerns up through the modern-day Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, the doc includes extended looks at the underappreciated The Ballad of Cable Hogue and the first of the director's mutilated films, Major Dundee. Oddly, it doesn't note that Ride the High Country, which "overnight" established Peckinpah as a filmmaker, also marked his first run-in with Hollywood: a new regime at MGM threw the film away on the bottom half of a double bill.

Peckinpah chroniclers David Weddle, Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, and Garner Simmons--all heard on the commentary track--also got together for a 2004 pilgrimage to Parras, Mexico, the village that supplied the location for General Mapache's stronghold in The Wild Bunch and, of course, the film's apocalyptic finale. This is recorded in Redman's A Simple Adventure Story: Sam Peckinpah, Mexico and The Wild Bunch, which intercuts the latterday, not-so-wild bunch's moseying through sleepy Parras with the 1969 action scenes that invested the place with mythic resonance. Weddle: "...you walk around a corner and here's a part of your imaginative life--there!"

Seydor's Oscar-nominated 1996 short The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage assembles black-and-white "making of" footage from the Wild Bunch shoot and, rather than filming new talking-head footage, uses oral-history recollections of cast and crew members mingled on the soundtrack with Peckinpah's own words, voiced by Ed Harris. High point: Peckinpah/Harris's whispery murmur, "I want to do a walk thing..." as the director spontaneously begins to orchestrate the most powerful action climax in modern cinema. Album-jacket promises of "additional scenes" and "previously unseen outtakes" are apparently references to the same material: just outtakes and alternate camera angles, none notably revelatory. Technically, the disc improves on the 1997 release, which split the film over two sides of the disc and was not enhanced for widescreen televisions. --Richard T. Jameson


Special Features

  • Commentary by Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle
  • Peckinpah Trailer Gallery
  • Never-before-seen outtakes
  • Additional scenes
  • 3 documentaries:
  • Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade A feature-length biography of the legendary director
  • 1996 Oscar Nominee The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage
  • An excerpt from A Simple Adventure Story: Sam Peckinpah, Mexico and the Wild Bunch

Product Details

  • Actors: Alfonso Arau, Ernest Borgnine, Elsa Cárdenas, Albert Dekker, Emilio Fernández
  • Directors: Sam Peckinpah
  • Format: Widescreen, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 23, 2006
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (607 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BT96CS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,655 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wild Bunch - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chris K. Wilson on March 29, 2003
Format: DVD
There's not much that can be noted about Sam Peckinpah's brilliant 1969 western epic "The Wild Bunch" that has not already been written. It was an unanticipated, influential work where all things came together, but for a moment, the end product a huge, sweeping canvas of intimacy between comrades, violence between combatants, desperate anger amidst changing times. Part Kurosawa, part Siegel, part Fuller, part Ford, Peckinpah combined his inspirations with a healthy dose of 1960s rebellion producing the ultimate work of his generation, and one of the greatest westerns in history. It was Peckinpah's great fortune that the right actors were available for this film - William Holden and Robert Ryan in the twilight of their memorable careers, Ernest Borgnine with just enough youth to be a perfect and loyal presence, Edmond O'Brien chewing up the scenery with tobacco-stained teeth, and of course Peckinpah friends Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones and Warren Oates in salty supporting roles. It was also his great fortune cinematographer Lucien Ballard and composer Jerry Fielding were also on hand to participate in his steadfast vision.
Peckinpah also had something to prove at this point in his career, when he was still a hungry director with a vision, before alcoholism, disillusionment and celebrity status took hold. He hid nothing from viewers, and his contradictory heart was laid bare in "The Wild Bunch." The direction and editing during the violent moments of this film - the opening bank robbery and the concluding battle with the Mexican army - are some of the most unforgettable scenes ever put on film. But ironically, and this was usually the case in most Peckinpah films, it is the quiet moments one remembers.
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Sam Peckinpah's 'The Wild Bunch' is a masterpiece western. Not the best ever made, but close. So don't think I don't like this movie because I love it. However, since Mexicans are its villains, perhaps you'd be interested to read an opinion from this side of the border.
The Mexico of 'The Wild Bunch' looks more like a metaphor than a real place. It is both Heaven and Hell; the theatre where the bunch will find Death but also Redemption. Accordingly, every Mexican depicted in the picture is either a saint or a monster (no middle ground here, except for the Mexican member of the Bunch, who is aptly named "Angel", although a fallen one). This serves the story splendidly, for it's meant to be an epic ballad and not a travelogue, but it does jolt the Mexican viewer because the "good Mexico" is portrayed so idyllic it's unreal, while the "bad Mexico" is very, very accurate; in fact, no American movie has captured the look, sound, feel, texture and carnage of the Mexican Revolution as this one has (even if the grandiose final scene, where the Bunch kills hundreds of heavily armed soldiers all by themselves and none of the four falls down even when riddled by bullets, defies all logic!). Perhaps that's why it was banned in Mexico back when it was released in 1969.
Funny, for it was filmed in Mexico as well. The Texas bordertown you see at the begining of the story is actually Parras, Coahuila, and many of its citizens acted as extras in the movie: white ones as "Texans", brown ones as -what else?- Mexicans! Don Raúl Madero, brother of Francisco I. Madero, the man who started the Mexican Revolution, appears ...as a Texan! Even the two German officers are Mexican!
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Format: DVD
There are other Peckinpah films I like better. There are other Peckinpah films which are more emotionally affecting. There are other Peckinpah films which are easier to watch. There are other Peckinpah films...But this is the THE Peckinpah film for anyone who wants to know what the fuss is all about. THE WILD BUNCH is Peckinpah's most significant, influential, daring, and ferocious assault on the limits of cinema. This is one of the few movies in cinematic history which fundamentally changed the language of cinema. Violence, death, and carnage would never be treated the same way by the movies after this film. The very idea of action in films can be divided into those made before THE WILD BUNCH and those made after it. Practically every action film you will ever see is little more than a pale attempt at imitating the great original. Watch this movie, and you will see where it all began.

Beyond this, however, there is the film itself; and now that the controversy it engendered has faded into history and its slow-motion carnage has become cinematic banality, the film has begun to emerge in its own right. This is all too the good, because THE WILD BUNCH taken on its own terms is an extraordinary cinematic experience. A tone poem written in adrenaline.

THE WILD BUNCH is, as its creator expressed, essentially a film about bad men in changing times. The changing times, however, brings out the best in these bad men; and a film which begins as a high-spirited bloody romp ends as an epic, apocalyptic tragedy, as its characters choose to go out in an orgy of erotic carnage which changed the cinematic landscape forever.

Peckinpah's skills are magnificently on display in this film. Still youthful as a director, there is not a trace of maturity in this film.
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