Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

( 3 )

Overview

A former friend betrays a legendary outlaw in Sam Peckinpah's final Western. Holed up in Fort Sumner with his gang between cattle rustlings, Billy the Kid Kris Kristofferson ignores the advice of comrade-turned-lawman Pat Garrett James Coburn to escape to Mexico, and he winds up in jail in Lincoln, New Mexico. After Billy theatrically escapes, inspiring enigmatic Lincoln resident Alias Bob Dylan to join him, the governor Jason Robards Jr. and cattle baron Chisum Barry Sullivan requisition Garrett to form a posse ...
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Overview

A former friend betrays a legendary outlaw in Sam Peckinpah's final Western. Holed up in Fort Sumner with his gang between cattle rustlings, Billy the Kid Kris Kristofferson ignores the advice of comrade-turned-lawman Pat Garrett James Coburn to escape to Mexico, and he winds up in jail in Lincoln, New Mexico. After Billy theatrically escapes, inspiring enigmatic Lincoln resident Alias Bob Dylan to join him, the governor Jason Robards Jr. and cattle baron Chisum Barry Sullivan requisition Garrett to form a posse and hunt him down. Rather than flee to Mexico when he can, Billy heads back to Fort Sumner, meeting his final destiny at the hands of his friend Pat, who, two decades later, is forced to face the consequences of his own Faustian pact with progress. With a script by Rudolph Wurlitzer, Peckinpah uses the historical basis of Billy's death to eulogize the West dreamily yet violently as it is desecrated by corrupt capitalists. Both Pat and Billy know that their time is passing, as surely as Garrett's posse knows that they are participating in a legend. Using familiar Western players like Slim Pickens and Katy Jurado, Peckinpah underscores the West's existence as a media myth, and he even appears himself as a coffin maker. Just as the bloodletting of Peckinpah's earlier The Wild Bunch 1969 invoked the Vietnam War, the casting of Kristofferson and Dylan alluded to the chaotic late '60s/early '70s present; the counterculture has little place in a corporate future. Also like The Wild Bunch, Pat Garrett was truncated by its studio; the cuts did nothing to help its box office. Key scenes, particularly the framing story of Garrett's fate, have since been restored to the home-video version. In this director's cut, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid stands as one of Peckinpah's most beautiful and complex films, killing the Western myth even as he salutes it.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
The Wild Bunch may be Sam Peckinpah's all-around greatest film, but this looser, moodier elegy to the dying frontier is his most poetic. The film employs an emblematic Old West storyline: Outlaw-turned-sheriff Pat Garrett James Coburn must hunt down and capture his old partner in crime, the legendary Billy the Kid Kris Kristofferson. Bob Dylan supplied the haunting soundtrack, and his songs work with Peckinpah's starkly beautiful images of the Mexican landscape -- all harsh sunlight filtered through desert dust -- to create an atmosphere that lingers long after the movie ends. Like McCabe and Mrs. Miller, also made in the early 1970s, Pat Garret is as much a lament for the passing of the '60s counterculture as it is for the Old West. The outlaw Billy represents youth and freedom from the Establishment: In the film's romanticized worldview, maturity equals imprisonment and/or death. As Billy, the handsome, slightly puffy Kristofferson is the film's weak link; still making the transition, at that point, from folk singer to screen actor, he lacks the edginess to convincingly embody such an icon. But Coburn, the lean and silver-haired Western veteran, is superb, projecting an aura of melancholy and regret that infuses the entire film. The onscreen presense of Dylan, playing an elfin, enigmatic character called Alias, is nothing more than set dressing, but his songs supply an omniscient voice that articulates emotions and ideas that the taciturn characters can't. The film's most moving passage is the wordless scene in which a sheriff, played by Slim Pickens, expires on the banks of a river to the hymnlike strains of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" as High Noon's Katy Jurado watches in tears. The last of Peckinpah's westerns, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid was his poignant and lyrical farewell to the genre he helped revise
All Movie Guide
Sam Peckinpah made several meditations on the death of the Old West, but few were ever as minimalist or challenging as Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Western fans expecting a kinetic buildup to a dramatic showdown between the title characters will be sorely disappointed: instead, Peckinpah and screenwriter Rudolph Wurlitzer go for a meditative approach where the ultimate fate of the characters is never in doubt, only the way they get there. This lateral approach actually makes for an interesting character study that succeeds thanks to strong performances from James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson; Coburn carries himself with the gravity and mordant humor of someone who knows he is betraying himself by doing the "right" thing, while Kristofferson uses his formidable reserves of charm to make Billy a charming, charismatic antihero. Best of all, Peckinpah brings the film a deep-dish sense of atmosphere and arid beauty, glorifying in the committed individualism of Billy the Kid while mourning how the passage of time made his attitude seem outdated. It's also worth noting that the beguiling mood Peckinpah weaves here is aided considerably by John Coquillion's lush photography and Bob Dylan's moody song score. The end result is a mythic, personalized Western that could have only been created by the one and only Sam Peckinpah. Thus, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a must for his fans and anyone interested in a good revisionist take on the Old West.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/10/2006
  • UPC: 012569679702
  • Original Release: 1973
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Coburn Pat Garrett
Kris Kristofferson Billy The Kid
Bob Dylan Alias
Rutanya Alda Ruthie Lee
R.G. Armstrong Deputy Ollinger
Luke Askew Eno
John Beck Poe
Richard Bright Holly
Claudia Bryar Mrs. Horrell
John Davis Chandler Norris
John Chandler Norris
Matt Clark J.W. Bell
Aurora Clavel Ida Garrett
Elisha Cook Jr. Cody
Rita Coolidge Maria
Jack Dodson Howland
Dub Taylor Josh
Jack Elam Alamosa Bill
Gene Evans Mr. Horrell
Emilio Fernandez Paco
Paul Fix Maxwell
Donnie Fritts Beaver
Richard Jaeckel Sheriff Kip McKinney
L.Q. Jones Black Harris
Katy Jurado Mrs. Baker
Walter Kelley Rupert
Don Levy Sackett
Michael T. Mikler Denver
Sam Peckinpah Will
Slim Pickens Sheriff Baker
Jason Robards Jr. Governor Wallace
Jorge Russek Silva
Charles Martin Smith Bowdre
Harry Dean Stanton Luke
Barry Sullivan Chisum
Chill Wills Lemuel
Rudolph Wurlitzer Tom O'Folliard
Technical Credits
Sam Peckinpah Director
Newt Arnold Asst. Director
David Berlatsky Editor
Gordon Carroll Producer
John Coquillon Cinematographer
Garth Craven Editor
Tony de Zarraga Editor
Bob Dylan Score Composer, Songwriter
Richard Halsey Editor
Ted Haworth Art Director
Augie Lohman Special Effects
A.J. Lohman Special Effects
Ray Moyer Set Decoration/Design
Roger Spottiswoode Editor
Harry W. Tetrick Sound/Sound Designer
Charles Wilborn Sound/Sound Designer
Jack P. Wilson Makeup
Robert Wolfe Editor
Rudolph Wurlitzer Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Billy lives

    One of the greatest westerns ever made! Everybody should own a copy of this one.Beautiful film.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews