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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Paul Newman
Robert Redford
Katharine Ross
Strother Martin.
Directors
George Roy Hill.
Screenwriters
William Goldman.
Running Time
106 minutes

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Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid
Buddy movie Western classic


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Plot
Butch (Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford) are two outlaws who rob trains in the Old West. As the country gets more civilised, a special posse is hired to hunt them down - so the pair, and their girl (Katharine Ross), flee to a new life in Bolivia.


Review
Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

Before he became a screenwriting essayist, William Goldman won an Oscar at the fag end of the 60s for his screenplay that presents legendary outlaws Butch and Sundance, not so much in a revisionist light, as a sepia tone. His playful script mixes historical detail with a great degree of leniency, resulting in a Western that aims to reinvent the West not as it was, but as the place we all wanted it to be.

Newman, his dazzling blue eyes never more piercing, is Butch, leader of the notorious Hole In The Wall Gang and a visionary bank robber. Redford, famously held in close-up by director George Roy Hill to establish his presence, broods with all the good nature of the Fastest Gun In The West, staring the camera down and providing a perfect foil - both comic and serious - for Newman. (And to think, Warren Beatty turned down the role, Steve McQueen bailed at the 11th hour and Newman was originally down to play the Kid until he suggested swapping roles with Redford - which just goes to show how haphazard making a classic movie can be.) Ross, meanwhile, fresh from The Graduate, radiates as the woman behind - and often between - the two outlaws, providing both a physical and mental romantic interest for our two decidedly heterosexual heroes.

Coming as it did at the end of Hollywood's love affair with the romantic notion of the West, and on the cusp of its later dissection of the Western archetype, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid avoids falling between these two stools; instead it finds the Western, like its central characters, in transition. Hell, it's kept William Goldman in work for over three decades, even though he's only written a handful of decent screenplays since. Year Of The Comet, anyone?

There are, of course, the points against: Newman's bike riding to B. J. Thomas redefines the word 'twee', and George Roy Hill could be held singlehandedly responsible for begetting what we now perceive as the 'buddy movie' (with the director and his star re-teaming for The Sting a mere four years later), and its influence can still be felt today in everything from the Lethal Weapon franchise, to Thelma And Louise and beyond.

But along the way Butch and Sundance take the time to provide us with cinema's greatest waterfall leap (and how many Sunday afternoons have been defined by Redford yelling "Shiiiiitttt!!!!" - in a family film, no less?), and one of cinema's most memorable and elegiac endings, as Butch and Sundance literally fade into a photo memory. In fact, it's hard to imagine that a movie with the Burt Bacharach career low of 'Raindrops keep falling on my head/And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed' could ever feel this good.


Verdict
Note-perfect performances, a screenplay steeped in both nostalgia and a timely sense of insight, and anti-heroes you can't help but love: it's no surprise that the always re-watchable Butch And Sundance was once labelled the most likeable film ever made.


Reviewed by Bob McCabe


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid
Empire Star Rating

The chemistry between Paul Newman and Robert Redford is unbelievable

I really liked the getup of the entire film. Two ageing outlaws, searching for an escape from the law. They try so desperately and are wrong about everything. Even though the inevitable happens they still remain hopeful. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by robmarathon at 07:22, 22 July 2012 | Report This Post


Classic

A lovely little westerner with some very memorable scenes and nice acting. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 19:16, 21 November 2010 | Report This Post


I don't think I can express how good, charming and loveable this film is; you can watch it over and over without getting bored. The casting is perfect, both actors are brilliant. Its impossible not to love them, the chemistry is perfect. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MovieAddict247 at 15:30, 06 June 2009 | Report This Post


The wait was worth it

I've been putting off seeing this film for years, for one simply reason. The muscial interludes! They just drove me mad, whenever I got a bit of the film while watching the TV they would b what I saw and it just p****d me off. I just hate those melodies. This, I feel, is the only weakness of the film. Once I decided to sit through this picture I finally got to see why everyone praises it. The praise is well deserved, there is no other way to put it. Two great leading men who spend the ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by brokenking at 13:15, 06 May 2009 | Report This Post


Most loveable film ever. It's Charming,it's funny, it's got a great action bit at the end and it's got Paul Newman and robert Redford in it. what more would you want. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by liamEB at 19:44, 18 March 2009 | Report This Post


Brilliantly made

Fantastic performances, brilliant cinematography and the action scene at the end should be the one to compare all others and it still convinces and shocks its viewers today. A classc buddy movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by !xHoTRoDx! at 18:39, 22 December 2008 | Report This Post


This film is amazing. I couldn't agree with empire's review more. The performances given by Redford and Newman are phenomenal and the chemistry between them is so pure and real that you immediately belive and love these characters. Exellent film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Miss Angle at 13:23, 18 July 2008 | Report This Post


newman/redford- what else can i say ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 10:13, 22 October 2007 | Report This Post


newman/redford- what else can i say ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 10:13, 22 October 2007 | Report This Post


... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bagpuss at 20:31, 25 May 2006 | Report This Post


Donnie Darko's shrink gets me hot

Newman just pips Redford at the post, but how could it be otherwise? If you don't fall in love with Ross you're dead below the waist - regardless of gender or orientation. Better than The Sting, and that's saying something. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dunner05 at 13:24, 09 May 2006 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

What a coincidence. I watched this for the first time yesterday after buying it blind and I loved it to bits and was very suprised at just how much I did like it. ... More

Posted by Castor Troy at 11:16, 27 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Paul Newman and Robert Redford have to be one of the best screen duos of all time. The chemistry between the two is phenomenal, unforgettable and hilarious - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid demonstrates their illustrous antics as a couple of cowboys to perfection. It is doubtful that the comedic element within the western could have been created so believably without the pair at the helm. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jessica_ca_ca_ca at 20:24, 26 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE:

And it has a good prequel starring Tom Berenger and William Katt that's been largely overlooked. Butch And Sundance: The Early Days (1979) ... More

Posted by Mason Verger at 17:45, 26 March 2006 | Report This Post


Redford and Newman are absolutely outstanding in this film, both considering their individual performances and their chemistry together. Certainly one of the best Westerns ever filmed. Also one of the best movies period. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mingusman at 21:54, 25 March 2006 | Report This Post


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