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Butch (Paul Newman) is an eternal optimist and self-professed visionary. Sundance (Robert Redford) is a levelheaded sharpshooter. When these legendary outlaws attempt to start a new life in Bolivia with 26 year old schoolteacher Etta (Katharine Ross), away from the persistent lawmen who are chasing them, they find times are changing.

Review by Louise Keller:
The thing that terrified us, says writer William Goldman in one of the many behind the scenes features on this special edition two-disc DVD release, is that the film was too funny. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has that unique blend of humour, action, intimate relationships, beautiful cinematography and a wonderful music score by Burt Bacharach. Paul Newman was a big star, but for Robert Redford, this heralded his big break; the combination was magic, the film (one of the big hits of 1969) winning four Academy Awards (and being nominated for seven). This is not a traditional western, relying on its buddy theme and humour to differentiate it from the John Wayne-type westerns of the day.

As Robert Redford says in one of the many interviews on the DVD, the script was extremely well written, and throughout we delight in the witty, droll and unexpected dialogue, tinged with its underlying humour - even in the most dire of circumstances. 'You do this right, and I'll get you an old dog to kick,' Butch tells Bordello owner Sweet Face. My favourite is that classic line as Butch and Sundance reach the cliff edge. 'We'll jump,' says Butch. 'Like hell we will; I can't swim,' says Sundance to which Butch erupts into contagious laughter and retorts: 'Are you crazy; the fall will probably kill you.'

At the beginning of the film, we are told 'Mostly what follows is true.' Ably directed by George Roy Hill, and together with its sepia sequences, it is one the most cinematic films you will ever witness. The scenery is drop dead gorgeous, and we are constantly wondering 'what will happen next' as Butch and Sundance break away from being pursued by the relentless law and head for Bolivia. 'What's Bolivia?' asks Sundance 'It's a country, stupid,' says Butch (the man who has vision, while the rest of the world wears bi-focals).

From the very beginning as we witness train robberies, we observe that Butch has a compelling humanity. He and Sundance are decent human beings, albeit not law abiding citizens. How could we forget the scene when Sundance surprises Katherine Ross's Etta as she undresses at home, or that wonderful sequence that plays out with Butch and Etta on a bike, under the Oscar-winning song 'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.' (I can't help but smile in the lead up to the song, as Paul Newman hums 'Never hit your mother with a shovel; it leaves a dull impression on your mind.'

The combination of ideas man (Butch) and killer (Sundance) is one that is special. This is a film to savour and revisit - even after numerous viewings.

Published April 2, 2008

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(US, 1969)

CAST: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin, Henry Jones, Jeff Corey, George Furth, Cloris Leachman

PRODUCER: John Foreman

DIRECTOR: George Roy Hill

SCRIPT: William Goldman


EDITOR: John C. Howard,[BREAK]Richard C. Meyer

MUSIC: Burt Bacharach

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Art direction: Philip M. Jefferies, Martin Smith

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc 1: audio commentary by George Roy Hill, Hal David, Robert Crawford and Conrad Hall; Commentary by screenwriter William Goldman Disc 2: 2005 documentary, Making of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Featurette; deleted scenes with optional commentary by George Ray Hill; George Roy Hall and The Challenge by Robert Redford; History through the lens; documentary - the making of; seven cast and crew interviews; alternate credit roll; three trailers

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: April 2, 2008

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