WHAT I ALREADY KNEW ABOUT THE MOVIE:
Only that it's a Western and stars William Holden.
LET ME EXPLAIN...
Finally! After a horrendous streak of watching 9 consecutive films on the AFI List for the first time and not liking ANY of them (and in several cases hating them), "The Wild Bunch" ended up actually being good (pardon my excitement, but after such garbage as Duck Soup, A Clockwork Orange, and The Last Picture Show, I was getting very worried that all the remaining films on the list would be disappointments).
"The Wild Bunch" is a great film. It's intense, a bit graphic, and it has an interesting story. Coincidentally, part of the plot reminded me of The Bridge on the River Kwai, which also stars William Holden (an actor whom, had I not bothered with this Quest, I wouldn't even know about but is now one of my favorite actors).
(Side note: I'm quite certain that the makers of Three Amigos were greatly influenced by this movie. There are a LOT of similarities, even though one is a serious, epic drama and the other is a comedic spoof.)
What makes this a "Top 100" Movie?
For one thing, "The Wild Bunch" really seemed to be more than just a Western. In fact, I'd classify it as an epic Western. It almost felt like I just got done watching Lord of the Rings because the story and adventure seemed so "big". In addition, it had some great action sequences and was very well acted. I also think its storyline about aging at a time the world is transitioning into a new era has a universal element that many can relate to (e.g. getting older, the world passing you by, etc.). It received 2 Academy Award nominations (Best Musical Score and Best Original Screenplay), and I'm surprised it wasn't at least nominated for Best Picture, Best Sound, and Best Director.
For being made in 1969, it sure seems like one of the goals of this film was to shock the audience with its graphic nature. And while I feel the violence did add to the overall atmosphere, the nudity was gratuitous and unnecessary (there were quite a few topless women, and I'm not just talking about the shot that opens with a close zoom in of a baby breastfeeding).
LET ME SUM UP...
An intense, graphic, and epic Western, "The Wild Bunch" is an interesting look at America at a time when the Old West started to morph into the Industrial Age. I liked this one quite a bit.
MY RATING: 8/10
TOTAL # OF FILMS WATCHED: 88