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The Wild Bunch is one of the great defining moments of modern movies.
It is certainly one of the best westerns ever made, and the best film of any kind to come out in 1969.
The hard action, bracing wit and mournful grace of Peckinpah’s cowboy classic shames every new movie around. It’s a towering achievement that grows more riveting and resonant with the years.
Not only does The Wild Bunch illustrate Peckinpah's mastery of his medium, but it presents a story that is effective on nearly every level: the emotional, the visual, and the visceral.
Maybe the best shoot-'em-up ever made, the one that turned meanness into a haunting pictorial poetry and summed up the corruption of guilt, old age and death in the American fantasy of the Old West.
It’s no accident that you feel a sense of loss for each killer of the Bunch: Peckinpah has made them seem heroically, mythically alive on the screen.
The Wild Bunch still retains its sorrowful, fatal power because of the complexity of Peckinpah's attitudes about violence. He forces us to confront our own voyeuristic ambivalence; we're alternately horrified by the butchery and exhilarated by the orgiastic energy his balletic spectacles stir up.
The on-screen carnage established a new level in American movies, but few of the films that followed in its wake could duplicate Peckinpah's depth of feeling.
The Wild Bunch contains faults and mistakes, but its accomplishments are more than sufficient to confirm that Peckinpah, along with Stanley Kubrick and Arthur Penn, belongs with the best of the newer generation of American film makers.
Film at 145 minutes is far over-length, and should be tightened extensively, particularly in first half. After a bang-up and exciting opening, it appears that scripters lost sight of their narrative to drag in Mexican songs, dancing and way of life, plus an overage of dialog, to the detriment of action.

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