The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film
In 1969, The Wild Bunch was released and hit the consciousness of the average cinema goer with the ferocity of a drop kick. The U.S. was in the middle of tumultuous times with racial unrest, the escalating losses in Vietnam, and the aftermath of multiple political assassinations. The real and vivid violence portrayed in an atypical Western shocked the critics and average audience. The times and everyday violence were what played on director Sam Peckinpah’s mind as he filmed The Wild Bunch in 1968. Sam Peckinpah was a trailblazing filmmaker whose career was on a downward spiral after his last film. He was now considered poison to studio heads. Peckinpah would be chosen to helm The Wild Bunch and muster up a cast of both acclaimed and troubled actors. The project was a magical juggernaut in the making, but the shoot was not without its hiccups. The finished product, a timely classic, is hard to argue with.
W.K. Stratton captures a volatile period in American society with the revolutionary change in cinema and violence on film. Sam Peckinpah is written as a gifted talent with rough edges as well as a keen observer for the workable in movies. The ensemble surrounding him are a mixed assortment of outlaws, curmudgeons, alcoholics and real criminals. The movie prospers due to the efforts; the book does even more so. This is Grade A History!
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