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BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)

icon-dots A CELEBRATION OF 20TH CENTURY FOX, BROMANCE
Discussion before

Fifty years ago in 1969, this buddy biopic helped the Western adjust to changing times. The offbeat humor of William Goldman’s Oscar-winning script and director George Roy Hill’s cinematic tricks (still photos, freeze frames, montage, etc.) created a contemporary spin on the old myths of the frontier spirit fighting the encroachment of civilization. In contrast to the stoic heroes of earlier Westerns, the outlaws played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford were a pair of wisecracking, often bumbling dropouts not unlike the new youth audience Hollywood had recently discovered. Butch and Sundance rode through a series of escapades in the West before a super posse drove them out of the country and into South America where they went in search of greater adventures. Initially, critics didn’t get the sudden shifts from comedy to seriousness and gave the film lukewarm reviews. But word of mouth turned it into one of the biggest hits of the decade. Younger audiences saw themselves in the title characters and viewed the posse as a metaphor for the establishment. The film brought Newman a new generation of fans and made Redford a major star. With its primary focus on the male stars’ relationship, it also established the buddy picture as a new norm in American film. (d. George Roy Hill, 110m, DCP)

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