It’s 1881 in New Mexico, and the times they are a’changing. Pat Garrett, erstwhile travelling companion of the outlaw Billy the Kid has become a sheriff, tasked by cattle interests with ridding the territory of Billy. After Billy escapes, Pat assembles a posse and chases him through the territory, culminating in a final confrontation at Fort Sumner, but is unaware of the full scope of the cattle interests’ plans for the New West.

Also Known As: Pat Garrett i Billy Kid, Pat Garrett e Billy Kid, Pat Garrett jagt Billy the Kid West, Pat Garrett e Billy the Kid, Pat Garet i Bili Kid, Pat Garrett et Billy le Kid, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett şi Billy the Kid, Пат Гарет и Били Хлапето, Pat Garrett y Billy the Kid, Пэт Гэрретт и Билли Кид Soviet, Bivši prijatelj Kid, Pat Garrett et Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett og Billy the Kid, Eski Dost, Duelo na Poeira, Pat Garrett jagt Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett ja Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, Pat Garret a Billy the Kid Czech, Pat Garrett och Billy the Kid, Billy the Kid, Duelo na poeira, Η μεγάλη μονομαχία, Patas Garetas ir Bilis Kidas, Pat Garrett és Billy, a kölyök, Pat Garrett a Billy Kid Czech, Pat Garrett i Billy el Nen, Billy the Kid: 21sai no Shôgai, I megali monomahia, Pat Garrett y Billy el Niño

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  • maree-bailey
    maree bailey

    I only became aware of this film recently from a documentary on Sam Peckinpah’s career, and managed to call it up rather quickly via my local library’s request system. I’m left with mixed feelings, mostly due to the slow pacing of the story and Kris Kristofferson’s casting as The Kid. “Young Guns” gets panned by a lot of folks, but Emilio Estevez’s characterization captures a lot more effectively my personal vision of the Wild West’s most famous outlaw. James Coburn seems to be adequately cast as Sheriff Pat Garrett, and his quest to bring in Billy seems appropriately conflicted, but in the end he did gun him down. So much for past friendships.You have to say one thing, the supporting cast is a veritable who’s who of great Western character actors. There aren’t many places you’ll find Chill Wills, Slim Pickens, R.G. Armstrong, Katy Jurado and Jack Elam all in one place, and just as you’re done taking them all in, you’ve got some quick but effective cameos by the likes of Dub Taylor and Elisha Cook Jr. And oddly, it actually looks like Bob Dylan belongs in this picture. It would have been cool if Barry Sullivan was given a line that recalled his own portrayal of the Lincoln County lawman from the early ’60’s TV series “The Tall Man”, but his “Glad to be of service Garrett, but don’t overuse it” was effective enough.The Slim Pickens river scene seems to be the one most fans find memorable, and I have to admit I got a slight chill when Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” faded in and out along with the lawman. I thought the scene was setting us up for the sung version when Billy met his end, I think that would have been a most effective touch.Not nearly as famous as Peckinpah’s master work “The Wild Bunch”, I can see how the movie will find it’s devotees who prefer this picture. The director’s trademark touch of violence is ever present, even if some of the graphic bloodletting seems more for effect than realism. Still, Peckinpah was one of the first directors to take the glamor out of Western gun battles and show them for their down and dirty grittiness.Best line of the film, and it’s still ringing in my ears as I write this – Deputy Bob Ollinger (R.G. Armstrong) to Billy after he roughs him up while under arrest – “I’ll take you for a walk across hell on a spider web”. I just love the imagery.

  • bridget-duncan
    bridget duncan

    Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid starts in New Mexico 1881 where Sheriff Pat Garrett (James Coburn) catches up with his old outlaw buddy William H. Bonney AKA Billy the Kid (Kris Kristofferson), since they were friends Pat ask’s Billy to leave but in 5 days he’ll make him. Billy isn’t keen on the idea & eventually Pat arrests him, however Billy escapes the hang man’s noose & goes on the run hitching up with his old gang. Pat is assigned the task to take him down which is just what he intends to do…Directed by Sam Peckinpah this is a solid telling of the infamous story about two men who once were friends but ended up enemies, the first thing to say is that Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid is available in several versions & I will be basing my comments on the longer 122 minute restored version from 1988. The script by Rudolph Wurlitzer is pretty good but so many things can happen between finishing a script & it actually appearing in theatres & Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid is a very good example of that with the multiple cuts, who knows which one is closest to his original script? The two central character’s make this film what it is, Pat Garrett & Bill the Kid who live in changing times & while Pat accepts it & becomes a Sheriff Billy won’t let go of the past where you could shoot a man & claim it was self defence. They are only on screen together for a few minutes & the rest of the time the film follows them as they travel from place to place, I must admit it became a little boring after like a solid 100 odd minutes of it but there was something here that I liked. I thought it was well written although some of the dialogue is hard to make out & understand, it tells a good story & there are some memorable scenes here. The ending is one of the quietest & low key your likely to see & I didn’t like the framing of the story where Garrett is shot dead as I thought it was a bit of a downer (having said that I think the 122 minute version is the only cut where this happens).Director Peckinpah does a good job although it’s well known that he was drinking heavily when he made this & that the studio interfered with the final cut, there’s plenty of stylish scenes here & it’s very nice to look at. Animal lovers beware as several chickens have their heads shot off at the start, there’s a forward horse fall & a slow motion cock fight as many people seem to get upset whenever an animal is killed. There’s not much violence here except for a few shoot-outs, there are some naked female breasts on show too if that sort of thing interests you.According to the IMDb this had an estimated budget of $4,638,783 which sounds a very specific number to be an ‘estimate’ to me. This is well made with high production values, nice widescreen cinematography, an unusual soundtrack & good period design. The acting is very good with James Coburn standing out for me.Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid in it’s 122 minutes version is a good solid entertaining Western but maybe a little slow going at times & I wasn’t keen on the ending either. A good film for sure but one you need to be patient with.

  • zofija-hrovat
    zofija hrovat

    Sam Peckinpah’s elegiac western “Pat Garrett & Billy the kid” tells the familiar story of sheriff Pat Garrett (a great performance by James Coburn), forced to track down and kill his friend the outlaw Billy the kid (Kris Kristofferson).As many westerns before, “Pat Garrett & Billy the kid” deals with the end of the West, replaced by a more civilized order. In earlier movies, such as John Ford’s “My darling Clementine”, civilization would be virtuous pioneers, embodying American values and the American way of life. In 1973, after the Vietnam war, Peckinpah’s vision is much more cynic: civilization is the Sante Fe ring, a corrupt cartel of politicians and business men, just as rough less and violent than the outlaws they’re trying to get rid of.Faced with this changing world, Garrett and Billy, two figures of the old west, follow different paths. Despite the fact that he despises them and that his sympathy clearly lies with Billy, Garrett joins the Sante Fe ring. Peckinpah makes clear that this puts Garrett on the wrong side of morality, no where stronger than in one of the final scenes, where, after Billy’s death, Garrett rides into the sunset, a child following him. The scene echoes the final from “Shane” except that, instead of pleading for the rider’s return, the child throws rocks at him. Garrett’s choice is also killing him deep down inside: in a scene, after killing Billy, Garrett shoots at his own reflection in the mirror, shattering it to pieces. An awkward scene with his wife shows how unnatural and unfit domestic life is for him.Yet Peckinpah also makes it clear that Garrett made the only viable choice by depicting Billy and his gang as a dying breed, almost like a moribund patient in the last stage of a debilitating decease: lacking motivation and energy, they’re always on the fringe of doing something but ultimately just stay there, hanging round, getting drunk, sleeping with women or shooting at chicken. They seem strangely disconnected from reality, playing poker in the middle of a gunfight, not because they’re reckless but because they don’t seem to compute clearly what’s going on around them. In Peckipah’s vision, the old west disappears not because it is replaced by civilization but because it is dying its own slow and painful death. In this view, Garrett shooting Billy is almost a mercy killing! (Billy’s bunch looks so much like a proto-hippy community with most members of his gang played by rock musicians including Bob Dylan himself that it almost feels like a critic of the counter-culture movement that, by 1973, was just a caricature of the idealism of the sixties). There is no future in this way of life.This refusal to portray Billy as a traditional hero corresponds to the unromantic version of the West shown in the movie. This is not the West of John Ford or Sergio Leone or of “The wild bunch”, with its heroes larger than life. This is a dreadful place, dirty, empty, the desolation of the landscape echoing the boredom and the existential void of the life of the characters. No Sergio Leone-like heroic showdown here: people are shot in the back, before they have any chance to reach for their gun. The pace of the movie fits this theme: it is slow, almost contemplative, Bob Dylan’s soulful acoustic soundtrack (including the famous song “Knockin’ on heaven’s door” played during one of the most beautiful and poetic scene in the whole movie) reinforcing the sweet melancholy that runs through the all picture.A final theme of “Pat Garrett & Billy the kid” is the one of fate. The characters believe they are free and in charge of their destiny. During the whole movie, Garrett slowly circles around Billy, hoping to the last moment that he won’t have to kill him, that Billy will understand and flee to Mexico. But this is just an illusion: everything is predetermined and nobody can escape his fate. This is illustrated most beautifully in the prologue which cuts back and forth between Garrett’s assassination by the Sante Fe ring killers and his last friendly encounter with Billy. Garrett’s death, set many years after Billy’s killing, clearly establishes that the dice have been cast and nothing can be changed: Garrett killed Billy and no matter what he will do in the movie, this cannot be changed. Emphasizing this, a beautiful scene shows Billy in the flashback sequence shooting at a target with Garrett in the flash-forward segment on the receiving end. Fate is also at the core of the most celebrated raft scene. While resting on the bank of a river, Garrett spies a raft with a whole family on it, drifting along the river without any control over where they’re going, the father shooting at bottles thrown in the river. This puts them on a collision course with Garrett and the outcome should be the father being killed by the sheriff. This seems to be exactly what will happen as the two men aimed at each other but they finally lower their guns. For just an moment there, they were able to avoid fate and to escape their fatal destiny.Butchered by MGM at the time of its release, the movie exists in at least 3 forms and we will never have Peckinpah’s definitive version of “Pat Garret & Billy the kid”. Yet maybe it does not matter. Even in this unfinished form, “Pat Garrett & Billy the kid” is a unique movie, an absolute masterpiece, Sam Peckinpah’s greatest achievement, second only to “The wild bunch”

  • ulla-markkanen
    ulla markkanen

    While Peckinpah fans will go to their graves insisting on it’s high quality; (invisable only to us non Peckhead morons}; the fact remains right up their on the screen in any version: this is a nicely shot but vapid film, filled with uneven performances, dumb dialog, and pretentiously rehashed ideas from other Peckinpah films. You might not have like Peckinpah’s ideas in “Straw Dogs” or even “The Wild Bunch”, but they were certainly guided by an original, virtuoso hand. Here characters wonder into a scene, crack a dirty joke, scratch themselves, and shoot somebody, or… maybe not. Peckinpah seems to be blowing vainglorious raspberry’s at his critics, there are scenes of pointless cruelty enacted by the film’s anti-heroes, animal abuse, and women whores who always seem happily mute in their work. The cast, the photography, and Bob Dylan’s good score give it curio value; and the Slim Pickens scene works well. This is, however, tough going and ultimately pretty dull. When you hear the commentators fawning over the film on the commentary, you can’t help but thinking some of this sort of stuff played a part in the man’s downfall. As Dylan once said of his early rock performances, met with vicious booing: “Well, you can kill somebody with kindness.”

  • mira-cuk
    mira cuk

    After waiting for years for this movie to come out on DVD, I was thrilled when this and three other Peckipah westerns were recently released on DVD. I had seen this movie many times over the years, but recently watched a new version of the movie on the disc that was supposedly edited based upon Peckinpah’s original (or final?) notes on the film. I saw this difference immediately and knew that I was in for a fresh ride. This is really a great movie (even with a couple scenes that still feel weird to me) that, like THE WILD BUNCH, really captures a changing time in American history (the end of the Old West) through the eyes of men who have a difficult time changing. The acting is terrific — especially Coburn — and features many great little (but memorable) character performances. And Bob Dylan’s music really works here (which helps me to overlook his funky jittery performance.) This isn’t a fun movie, and it’s not on a par with THE WILD BUNCH, but it is an important one.

  • line-nielsen
    line nielsen

    This movie is one of my personal favorites. Where do I begin? There’s the beautiful Bob Dylan score (especially “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”), great performances by Kris Kristofferson and James Coburn, a supporting cast of western veterans, a literate script, and the direction of Sam Peckinpah in his last great film. Though not the masterpiece “The Wild Bunch” is, it’s still a beautiful film; aside from “El Topo,” it’s the best of the revisionist westerns of the 1970s, a time when old myths and values were being questioned. Peckinpah, at heart a romantic conservative, somehow caught the Zeitgeist of the era. “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” gives us a grainier, more realistic view of the Old West than we’re used to seeing; it predated Clint Eastwood’s “The Unforgiven” by twenty years in its unflinching portrait of frontier violence. There are no good guys or bad guys, rather two morally ambiguous men, friends in an earlier life, who find themselves on the opposite side of what’s basically a political argument. James Coburn is appropriately gruff as Sheriff Pat Garrett, a man who just wants to settle down and who knows the time for guns is over; Kristofferson makes a charismatic Billy, the embodiment of lawless individualism. The excellent supporting cast includes such old pros as Jack Elam, Slim Pickens, Katy Jurado, Richard Jaekel and (in some prints) Elisha Cook Jr.; but the best performance comes from the late Jason Robards Jr. as the tragically muddle-headed Governor Lew Wallace (best known for writing “Ben Hur.”) For those wanting a different perspective on some of the same characters I recommend the 1970 John Wayne vehicle “Chisum,” with Glenn Corbett as Pat Garrett and Geoffrey Deuel (Peter Deuel’s younger brother) as a young William Bonney.

  • heinz-walter-hamann
    heinz walter hamann

    I saw this was on TCM the other night and I recorded it, merely because I knew it was supposed to be good and I hadn’t seen a Peckinpah film before. Despite how massive TCM’s black screen banners are, and despite how quiet the film was, it still kept me engaged. James Coburns’ masterful performance as wrinkly bandit Pat Garret was smouldering, his lawman bubbled with a mix of sadism, violence, and broken honour. He was far and away the best actor in the film. Comparatively, Kris Kristofferson just didn’t hold up, I just plain didn’t like him, and he didn’t come across strongly enough as anything. It seems to me he’s grown more expressive and nuanced as he’s gotten older, though it may just be that against a giant like Coburn he seemed like little more than a distraction.Though his performance was woeful, Dylan’s soundtrack is a thing of beauty and joy, setting the tone of the movie, perfectly complimenting some scenes and brilliantly offsetting others. The scene in which Knocking On Heavens Door is used is possibly one of the most beautiful and moving sequences in any film I’ve seen, it was utterly breathtaking.Much of that is done by the cinematography, which is frequently fantastic. There are several shots that had my mouth wide open, agape. Peckinpah is also well versed in directing shoot-out’s,and building tension before and after. Though the make up and special effects look laughable now, the brutality and voyeurism of the violence haven’t faded one iota.The print was very quiet though, so it was often hard to decipher what people were saying. As such, there were various moments when I was just waiting for the next scene, as the one playing was too quiet to enjoy. This is a film that I can’t wait to watch again, and will certainly be buying on DVD, along with the soundtrack on CD. A brilliant, moving western from a great director.

  • thomas-mckee
    thomas mckee

    With two classic westerns under his belt (Ride the High Country and The Wild Bunch)and a reputation for being a rebellious non-conformist you would think Sam Peckinpah the ideal person to relate the story of the teen prodigy outlaw, Billy the Kid. You would be wrong. From start to finish this western is an aimless mess. Scenes are poorly paced and disjointed. It looks like it was edited on a beach. Kris Kristofferson is clearly too old and limited for Billy. As Garrett, James Coburn fares much better with a stylish and graceful performance that exudes a cool confidence despite being in conflict with himself. Bob Dylan supplies some fine music but his performance is an embarrassment. In minor rolls some of the great old guard (Slim Pickens, Katy Jurado, Chill Wills, Jack Elam, R G Armstrong) steal every scene they are in. There’s the requisite slow mo blood spattering scenes of violence and in one scene Chickens replace scorpions (without the symbolism) in a gruesome moment of male bonding but Peckinpah for the most part allows Dylan’s score to set the pace in scenes, rendering them sluggish and mawkish. At this point in his career it was clear Peckinpah had nothing left. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a testament to how far and fast he had fallen.

  • richard-guillon
    richard guillon

    In early 1881, Pat Garrett (James Coburn), an aging outlaw, is elected Sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico. He is pressured by Governor Lew Wallace (Jason Robards) and business interests to track down former partner William H. Bonney, alias Billy the Kid (Kris Kristofferson) and his gang. Bonney is captured but escapes, killing two deputies (Matt Clark and R.G. Armstrong), and Garrett – accompanied by several reluctant and generally short-lived deputies (Slim Pickens, Katy Jurado, Jack Elam, Richard Jaeckel) and one hired to keep an eye on Garrett (John Beck) – is forced to track down his former friend, decimating his gang in the process. Garrett is made to feel guilty over “getting fat” and betraying Billy, and when he finally confronts the Kid, it seems like he’s killing himself.Perhaps even more than the infamous “Major Dundee”, “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” is touted by Peckinpah fans as a lost masterpiece, ruined by studio interference. One can only hear such an argument so many times before concluding that many Peckinpah fans are, in their own way, just as deluded as the most hardcore Trekkies or “Star Wars” fans. Refusing to face up to the fact their favorite director was a drunken, violent, confrontational, unfocused individual who more often than not had no idea what the hell he was doing, Peckinpah fans attack the studio, blaming them for everything that went wrong with the films. Admittedly, Columbia on “Dundee” and MGM here did seriously hurt the films, to say the least; but they can be hardly blamed for the fact that Peckinpah completely misapprehended what he was doing on the films and was, more often than not, his own worst enemy.The biggest problem with “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”, even in its director’s cut form, is that is unfocused and virtually plot less; only a few characters appear for more than one or two scenes, and most scenes play as isolated episodes. It is also a surprisingly distant film, especially compared to “Ride the High Country” and “The Wild Bunch”, and it’s virtually impossible (for this writer at least) to become deeply involved in. Billy in particular is hard to care much about, as he does little more than drink, kill, and whore throughout the course of the film. And the theme that Garrett and co. are selling out is expounded upon so often that you think Rudy Wurlitzer was getting paid for each time he wrote them.The use of Western icons like Slim Pickens, Jack Elam, Paul Fix, Richard Jaeckal, etc. in various bit parts actually (with a few exceptions) undermines what Peckinpah is trying to achieve; by not letting us get to know these characters, it becomes virtually impossible to sympathize with them. Slim Pickens’ famous death scene is allegedly the most poignant and moving scene in the film, but as we just met him two minutes ago when he buys it, it’s hard to really care what happens to him; I’m more concerned with L.Q. Jones’ death in the same sequence. Some cast members are outright terrible: John Beck is obnoxious as Poe, and while that’s appropriate to the character he grates on the viewer’s nerves. A very young Charles Martin Smith whines his way through the opening scene as a particularly obnoxious cohort of Billy’s. Emilio Fernandez, so effective as General Mapache, has a worthless role as Paco, the Mexican sheep-farmer who befriends Billy, and his scenes are some of the worst Peckinpah ever filmed. Richard Jaeckal gives a wooden performance and his horrible-looking wig doesn’t help matters. But most of the cast members simply aren’t around long enough to make much impact – Pickens, Jurado, Paul Fix, Dub Taylor, Elisha Cook Jr., Jason Robards, and Barry Sullivan (among many others) are all in the film for five minutes or less. Bob Dylan’s bit has little impact on the film; his music, however, is borderline terrible. It might be good outside of the film, but for the most part it distracts from the action.The film does, however, have sporadic moments of brilliance, starting with James Coburn’s performance as Garrett. Coburn gives the best performance of his career, as the sarcastic, biting, fatalistic Garrett. He is a nice counterpart to Deke Thornton, but even more compromised. Garrett genuinely regrets most of his actions – many of his confrontations with Billy’s gang are outright murder – but does them anyway. Coburn is wonderfully subtle and you believe he IS Garrett, rather than acting the part. Kris Kristofferson is good if unremarkable as Billy, though he can hardly be blamed for the poor interpretation of his character. And there are some members of the supporting cast who are effective: Richard Bright and L.Q. Jones as two of Billy’s more colorful gang members, R.G. Armstrong, playing the psychopathic Deputy Ollinger (“Repent, you son of a bitch!”), and Chill Wills as a gutter-mouthed, shotgun-toting bartender.Peckinpah’s direction is sporadically brilliant. The shootouts of the film are blunt and violent and lack the visceral thrill of “The Wild Bunch”. This is not a criticism; in fact, it is very effective. There are some truly brilliant sequences; the shootout at Billy’s hideout and Billy’s escape from jail, the chance encounter and duel between Billy and Alamosa Bill (Jack Elam), the murder of Holly (Bright) by Garrett, Peckinpah’s own cameo as a coffin maker, Garrett shooting the mirror after killing the Kid.”Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” is a difficult and frustrating film to write about. For every good scene there’s one that makes you scratch your head and ask “What the hell’s going on?” It’s a film with occasionally great scenes, but please don’t call it a masterpiece. It’s a fatally flawed film, plain and simple.7/10

  • christina-mendez
    christina mendez

    I have seen this film twice with a 20 year gap in between. Seeing the movie a second time, you begin to wonder not about the main characters but about the tertiary ones. For instance, where is Mrs Garrett? Pat Garrett tells someone to inform her that he is coming home. Is this one of the characters chopped off by the studios?The Katy Jurado character of a rifle shooting sheriff’s wife seems only half developed, though the actress gets important billing in the credits.The Harry Dean Stanton role is again a short but interesting one getting out of bed to provide room for Billy’s sexual needs.The Alias character played by Bob Dylan is mysterious. He watches and is smart and reflects the young generation. Why does Billy ask him to read the list on the wall? What was Pekinpah doing with these characters? He was not a fool–he wanted to develop the characters that were probably chopped off.Would Pekinpah have chosen another actress to play Billy’s love interest if Rita Coolidge was not married to Kristofferson at the time the film was made? The kids in the film provide the antidote to the lethal violence–in their angelic responses, visual and aural.I commend the work of Canadian Roger Spottiswoode (editor turned director) in trying to put the film together the way Pekinpah would have preferred it. The version I saw recently has additional scenes but not the one with the death of the Katy Jurado character, which apparently Spottiswoode restored. Now the film’s major achievements are photography, screenplay (the growing moustache of Garrett is an example of detail), and somewhat brilliant direction. Evidently cinematographer John Coquillon liked to work for Pekinpah (Straw Dogs). Coquillon’s work is superb here but strangely his later works do not show the same spirit behind the camera. Could he only deliver with Pekinpah and not with others?I found this film a fine work, philosophical and aethetically satisfying. From what has been seen, I suspect Pekinpah had a better film in mind that never left the studios. Coburn and Kristofferson did justice to their roles, developing them as an actor could. The film in my view is one of the most interesting westerns I have seen giving importance to the legion of subsidiary characters. I only wish they were fleshed out even more. This film is not mindless–it makes you think. Now that’s entertainment.

  • vladimir-lojen
    vladimir lojen

    As with some lives, there’s the sacrifice of waste for value.This is a failure of a movie. It is incoherent, especially in the sense it was originally intended to deliver: as a member of the friend turned hunter genre. It has KristofFerson more inappropriately cast than usual. Its designated watcher Bob Dylan, was ineffective. It lacks any of the binding features of a long form work.This is a success of a movie. It is broken in just the same way its characters are. Their lives make no sense other than as a container for confidence. This is am aimlessly wandering film about aimlessly wandering souls and the minor folks the collect in different ways. It sags in places because you can see that there is no purpose. But it has moments of such pure brilliance that you have to wonder about the miracle of Zen acceptance. The photography, any scene with Coburn and the score are in such harmony they seem to have been created together all the way from the edge of time.The really vexing thing is Dylan. This was during one of his creative valleys, and probably his worst period. The music is meditative but hardly sharp. Its aimless and pastel. He looks dull. Supposedly this was during a heroin addiction and his association with great musicians that were lost (like George Harrison). He by himself in his better days could have snapped this film into importance merely by actually watching, by being in it truly. He’s not there.Some of the episodes you will never forget. I count three small masterpieces. One lasts less than 60 seconds and involves a family floating down a small river. Coburn and the apparently mad father point rifles at each other and then in apparent recognition of the other’s meanness, put them down, while children expectantly cower.A second is the much mentioned sequence where a sheriff has been enlisted against his will. His tough wife accompanies, an angry killing machine. But he is mortally wounded and as he stumbles to the river to gently die, she follows in an astonished grief. Dylan sings Knocking on Heavens’s Door — apparently removed from one cut. Its a whole life together shown.The third is muffed before its over. Billy and his woman in that town are making love right before his demise. Pat sits outside listening, passion drained from his life. You should be able to see that this is why he wants to kill Billy — but you cannot because of how it is cut. But before that you see Billy and Maria make love and it is clear that though both are poor actors, they really are deeply in love. Its deep, knowing we are watching too, watching because we seek passion.Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.

  • stephane-giraud
    stephane giraud

    I saw Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid again tonight after a few decades. What a disappointment. If the story is true that Sam Peckinpah was so angry at the studio cut that he urinated on the screen, I can see why. It suffers from bad casting, bad editing and dull pacing, and is often just plain boring. This is due in part to Bob Dylan’s irritating music, which drones on and on in the background like a stuck record. They should have gone with a real score by someone who actually knows how to write music. Imagine “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” without Ennio Morricone. The dramatic tension in this movie could have been seriously improved by an intelligent soundtrack, and not amateur Dylan-whining. At the time it might have been hip, but decades later it’s just plain bad. I did like the gritty, dusty sense of reality in the sets and locations. But how come everybody is grizzled and gritty except for Kris Kristofferson, who is totally clean-shaven in every scene. He always looks waxed and buffed, like he just stepped out of the make-up trailer. Wouldn’t some stubble and grit look more realistic on a wanted outlaw? He’s also too old for the part, can’t act worth a damn, and always speaks in his famous patented monotone drawl that he uses for every movie he’s ever been in. There’s a lot of major flaws in this movie. Casting Bob Dylan was definitely one of them. He’s totally out of place with all the famous characters like Jack Elam, Slim Pickens, and Dub Taylor. Putting him beside James Coburn, who is a real actor and very believable, is a joke. Dylan was obviously written in for one reason only— to sell the soundtrack. One of the most over-rated westerns of all time, and definitely not one of Peckinpah’s best.

  • gusev-simon-vlasovich
    gusev simon vlasovich

    In his violent 1969 western epic THE WILD BUNCH, director Sam Peckinpah looked at the decline of the Old West through the eyes of outlaws living out their last days in 1913, as World War I loomed on the horizon. But PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID takes an even more cynical view, saying that the decline of the Old West began even sooner than that.Peckinpah’s final western movie, shot on location in miserable conditions in Durango, Mexico in late 1972/early 1973, looks at the legend of Pat Garrett and William Bonney (a.k.a. Billy The Kid) as a Greek tragedy of sorts. James Coburn is superb as Garrett, the former outlaw who has been hired on by the so-called “Santa Fe ring” of business tycoons as sheriff to track down his old friend Billy (Kris Kristofferson, also quite good). Coburn takes no pleasure out of having to do this, or killing former friends who have now become enemies. As he tells Billy, “It feels like times have changed” (and not for the better). Kristofferson, however, retains the same attitude he’s always had–“Times maybe. Not me.” The result is a cynical, dust-choked odyssey across New Mexico between the two former friends, one reluctantly running and the other one very reluctantly pursuing, resulting in the killing of Billy at Fort Sumner that, twenty-eight years later, will also seal Garrett’s doom.Though originally mangled to pieces by the MGM studio brass back in 1973, in its Restored Directors Cut, PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID can now be seen as one of the greatest westerns of all times. Surrounding Coburn and Kristofferson are such luminaries as Jason Robards, Barry Sullivan, Matt Clark, Luke Askew, Jack Elam, Harry Dean Stanton, Katy Jurado, and Richard Jaeckel. And even with all the troubles he had making this film, Peckinpah wisely included his cast of Usual Suspects: Emilio Fernandez, Slim Pickens, R.G. Armstrong, L.Q. Jones, John Davis Chandler, Dub Taylor, and Jorge Russek. Bob Dylan, who did the acoustic folk/country score, has a role as the cynical drifter Alias, who sides with Billy but knows all too well what Billy’s fate will be.Bleak, cynical, and tragic, and with Peckinpah’s traditional slow-motion violence and montage (though not on the extreme level of THE WILD BUNCH), PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID is one of the most memorable films of his career, one that was all too short and, sadly enough, made so by his own excesses.NOTE: The 2005 Special Edition, paired on DVD with the so-called “Restored Director’s Cut”, while it is five minutes shorter, does contain a crucial scene (left out in the other version) between Garrett and his Mexican-born wife (played by Aurora Clavel) that shows how Garrett is progressively alienating himself from the general populace by aligning himself with the business interests in Santa Fe. The basic structure and spirit of the film, however, are all wisely maintained.

  • katrin-aus
    katrin aus

    Sam Peckinpah’s “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” has much in common with “One-Eyed Jacks”; Marlon Brando’s take on the Billy the Kid story, which was based on Charles Neider’s novel, “The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones”. Although Neider’s book, ridiculously renamed “Guns Up” in a Pan paperback edition (the one I read), is a fictionalised account, it is an unforgettable masterpiece, invoking a unique sense of nostalgia for the Old West. Peckinpah loved the book and was inspired to write what turned out to be the first screenplay for “One-Eyed Jacks”, later made by Marlin Brando who changed just about every element. Although Peckinpah dropped out of that project early, when he finally got a chance to make his version, he moved a long way from Neider’s book. In fact, the script moved closer to the historical record. However, although Neider’s book is not credited, it’s obvious that Peckinpah tried to capture its spirit. The story tells how Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid once rode together, but eventually found themselves on opposites sides of the law. When Billy brutally escapes from jail, in one of the film’s best sequences, it sets in motion a ruthless hunt by Pat Garrett, which can only have one ending.Peckinpah actually frames the film with the death of Garrett. This sequence along with others have the trademark Peckinpah slow motion deaths with arching blood spray – techniques that had already become a little hackneyed even by 1973.However, the central problem was in Peckinpah’s casting of Kris Kristofferson. Not so much, as many reviewers have suggested, that at 37 he was too old to play Billy the Kid, but more because he just didn’t project the necessary sense of danger; he comes across as too affable, too laid back. Brando in “One Eyed Jacks” gave a stunning performance as a man with a dangerous edge, and although it might seem unfair to compare the two, that lack of threat is a key weakness in Peckinpah’s film.Bob Dylan is in the movie and also provides a couple of very nasally songs on the soundtrack; his presence isn’t just anachronistic, it’s bizarre.On the other hand, James Coburn is just about perfect as Pat Garrett, and the rest of the cast is probably the greatest coming together of iconic stars from western movies ever – Chill Wills, Slim Pickens, Jack Elam, LQ Jones, Katy Jurado, Gene Evans, Paul Fix and others – one of the joys of the film is in spotting them.Apparently the film was badly cut by the studio. Despite that, and some strange decisions by Peckinpah himself, the film is nothing less than interesting. But because of all the tampering, like Brando’s film, it misses out on greatness. As for Neider’s book, it still awaits the right filmmaker to give it the definitive treatment on the screen.

  • anastazja-pazera
    anastazja pazera

    I enjoyed the film very much, in part because Peckinpah continues his theme, as he did in “Ballad of Cable Hogue” and “The Wild Bunch”, of the illusion of who is “good” and who is “evil.” Also, Peckinpah mourns the passing of people such as Garrett and Billy; at one point Garrett says to Poe, “This country’s getting old, and I’m to get old with it.” Garrett knows that he and Billy, among others, are to disappear from the West as big business and civilization advance, and Garrett tries to avoid this by selling out to Chisum (Barry Sullivan) and the Santa Fe Ring. But Garrett is a torn man; he is trying to avoid the tide of history by avoiding the eventual meeting with Billy, while also trying to avoid the financial forces (e.g., Chisum) that are making individuals such as himself disappear, so that big business will take over. The entire film is really a depiction of Garrett and Billy avoiding each other in order to resist historical forces that they would have a better chance of surviving if both of them left New Mexico or if both of them were on the same side. However, Garrett feels that aligning himself with the ranchers is better for survival, but in the end the hand that fed him, so to speak, is the same hand that destroys him. A truly poetic, and quite elegiac film, one that I feel is underrated among Peckinpah’s films.

  • rein-madisson
    rein madisson

    This is an intense and moving Western about a known gunslinger, the most famous outlaw-gunfighter of the South-west. However some moments is slow moving and contains a few flaws and gaps. Kris Kristofferson and James Coburn are cool as the title roles. Furthermore the secondary cast is frankly extraordinary: Chill Wills, Richard Jaeckel, Jack Elam,Rita Coolidge,Emilio Fernandez, L.Q. Jones, and Slim Pickens-Katy Jurado who form an intimate couple . And several cameos, Jason Robards, Jack Elam,Elisha Cook Jr and the same Peckinpah.Good cinematography by John Coquillon and emotive songs by Bob Dylan who sings classics as ‘knocking on heaven’s door’s’; Dylan plays an anachronistic character and is pitifully miscast. This twilight look about Billy and Garrett was well directed by Sam Peckimpah , an expert filmmaker and writer.Sam Peckimpah , after beginning his career as a writer , he was soon involved in TV Westerns . Filming popular television Western as ¨Rifleman¨ , ¨Westener¨ , and ¨Gunsmoke¨ . Moving into pictures in 1961 giving fine impression with ¨Deadly companions¨ starred by Brian Keith and Mauren O’Hara . After that , he did the prestigious ¨Ride the high county¨ that along with ¨Wild Bunch¨ , at the peak of his popularity , remain Sam’s best films . Later on , he made ¨Major Dundee¨ that was heavily re-cutting . He subsequently filmed tougher-than-tough action movies , including gushing blood and guts with particular images in slow-moving , such as : ¨The getaway¨ , ¨the killer elite¨, the most popular ¨Straw dogs¨ , Convoy¨, and ¨The Osterman weekend¨ , until his early death . This interesting Western titled ¨Pat Garret and Billy the Kid¨ is correctly based on real events, the deeds happened on the following way : Billy(Kris Kristofferson) became a cowboy in Lincoln County, New Mexico, for cattleman Tunstall. But in 1978 Tunstall was killed by a rival cattle outfit and this began the Lincoln County War, in which Billy played a leading part and was one of the group that shot dead Sheriff Brady. At that time the Lincoln County War was in progress,a range war between rival cattle interests, the Kid was a leading gunman for one faction but Pat Garrett, a former friend of Billy, stayed out of the fighting. When Billy became a rustler, the big ranch owners, especially John Chisum( played by John Wayne in the film with same title), wanted him out of the way and the man they chose to do the job was Pat Garrett. Then Pat Garrett(James Coburn) was elected sheriff of Lincoln County and set out to capture the young outlaw. He caught him and Bill was convicted of killing sheriff Brady and sentenced to be hanged . But Billy although shackled hands and foot,managed to escape from jail by shooting dead the two deputies(Matt Clark and R.G. Armstrong) guarding him. Garrett went after him again and on 15 July 1881 tracked him to the home of Pete Maxwell at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where Billy was along with his band(Harry Dean Stanton, Bob Dylan) and there shot him dead by surprise in a dark room.Legend says that Billy killed twenty-one men in his twenty-one years of life, the exact figure is not known but is thought to be much less. After Pat Garrett was not reelected sheriff of Lincoln County, however he was commissioned a captain in the Texas Rangers. On 19 February 1908 he was driving his buggy on a lonely desert road, he stepped down to urinate and was shot in the back by a hired killer. A man stood trial for the murder but was acquitted. Controversy still surrounds the end of Pat Garrett.

  • blazej-kobryn
    blazej kobryn

    Opening with the gunning down of Pat Garrett in 1909, we flash back to 1881 where Garrett has been hired to bring his ex-partner in crime Billy the Kid to justice. The story unfolds against a backdrop of a west that is moving forward, driven by businessmen (represented by Chisum) leaving behind the ‘old ways’.Of modern (ie after 50’s and 60’s) westerns Once Upon a Time in the West stands out as the best. However I feel that this film covers similar themes, of the death of the cowboy way and passing of times. The story is not really a duel between Pat and Billy but more a look at times changing around them – with Garrett changing with them and Billy trying to remain still. The story is well told with plenty of good characters, great setups and interesting dialogue. The relationships and the look at the old west ‘code’ easily hold the interest.Peckinpah does plenty of good work here – for example intercutting the killing of Garrett with the killing of chickens etc, making it visually clever too. However his best move is the use of Bob Dylan’s score – it could have been intrusive and made the film feel tacky and like it tries too hard to be hip. Instead the score works well and gives the film a soulful feel.The cast is not only superb but deep with talent. Coburn is as good as ever as Garrett, struggling to move with times he doesn’t approve of. Kristofferson is good, but his character of Billy is not well developed, but he still has a strong role to play. The support cast is full of famous faces from Westerns and a few actors just starting out – slim Pickens, Chill Wills, Jack Elam, Luke Ashew, Charles Martin Smith, Harry Dean Stanton and a good part for Bob Dylan.If you’re watching it – make sure you’ve got the restored version that adds 15 minutes and uses the score better. The director’s version makes more of the role of Boss Chisum and fills the story out with playful brothel scenes and delivers a few more cameos. It makes a big difference to the film and lifts the story above being Garrett versus Billy the Kid.Overall an excellent western from one of the greats at this type of thing.

  • alice-macedo
    alice macedo

    “The government has two arms of varying length. The long one is for taking – it reaches everywhere. The short one is for giving- it reaches only to those nearest.” – Ignazio Silone Sam Peckinpah directs “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”, a retelling of the “Billy the Kid” legend. The plot: Kris Kirstofferson plays William Bonney (aka “The Kid”), an outlaw on the run from Pat Garrett (James Coburn), the Lincoln Country sheriff hot on his heels.Like most Westerns, “Pat Garrett” is suffused with nostalgia. It’s a supremely elegiac film, all of Peckinpah’s characters unnaturally aware of their own mortality, the fading of an era and the apparent “death” of the Wild West. Were men living in the lead-up of the Industrial Revolution so morose and melancholic? Were those who witnessed the decline of frontier life so brooding? Of course not. But Peckinpah’s always been a Romantic. Even his central characters, Garrett and Kid, have a near romantic affair. Less predator and prey, they’re a couple of one-time lovers who now find themselves at odds. Here, Garrett embodies an era of modernisation, industrialisation, land enclosures, consolidated power, large scale farming and business cartels, whilst Billy becomes the last vestiges of the Wild West, an outlaw who refuses to be tamed by tomorrow. Billy dies, of course, like so many Western heroes steam-rolled by time.Like Leone’s “Once Upon A Time In The West” and “Once Upon A Time In America”, “Pat Garret and Billy the Kid” is therefore a rather superficial lament, salivating over trinkets of yesteryear (both cinematic and mythological) and pining nostalgically for an idealised past that never quite existed. More interesting is the presence of songwriter Bob Dylan (his acting is atrocious), who plays a mysterious vagabond who witnesses the events between Billy and Garret and, we assume, spins his observances into both Peckinpah’s ballad and Dylan’s own protest songs of the 1960s. This draws a line directly from the reordering of the West to the cultural and political turmoils of the 1960s. Hence Peckinpah’s casting of musicians (Kirstofferson and Dylan) and the film’s frequent allusions to Peckinpah’s own life; the role of the artist is being implicitly aligned to that of the defiant outlaw.”Garret” is notable for its extraordinary cast of secondary character actors, all of whom are given the film’s best moments. Jason Robards, Barry Sullivan, Slim Pickens, Katy Jurado, Jack Elam, Harry Dean Stanton, Chill Wills, Elisha Cook Jr, Gene Evans etc all pop up and are given neat little sequences, particularly Pickens, whose affecting death to the tune of Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” has become one of cinema’s classic moments. Nevermind that Pickens’ character is introduced only seconds earlier, has no back-story and is virtually unknown to us. Pickens’ death, as he is watched by his wife (Katy Jurado), somehow reaches out of the film and conjures up Pickens’ own real life demise.”Garret” is scored almost exclusively by Bob Dylan, but it’s a mediocre score, Dylan’s particular brand of music – verbose, literary and heavy on wordplay – being ill suited to cinema. Unsurprisingly, the only two songs that work well in the film are the conventional (by Dylan standards) “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” and a near wordless song toward the film’s end. Everything else comes across as a poor man’s version of “McCabe and Mrs Miller’s” Leonard Cohen soundtrack.If Peckinpah’s narrative is both conventional and unambitious, his aesthetic is nevertheless gorgeous. He composes shots like scuffed up murals, draws decrepit Mexican towns like no other, always gets warm performances out of his actors, always makes good use of extras, and captures the tempo and grime of untamed scrub-lands.As is now well known, “Garret” is episodic and choppy and suffered extensive studio interference. The film was written by Rudolph Wurlitzer, but Peckinpah did significant rewrites, all of which upset Wurlitzer. After much trouble during shooting (disease, budget problems, violence, alcoholism), MGM head James Aubrey took editing duties away from Peckinpah and turned them over to a team of editors who were given 2 months to produce a “final cut”. This cut was released in 1973 and became a box office flop. Critics were likewise unkind. Peckinpah supervised a re-editing of the picture in 1974. To date there are several cuts of the film. Unconscionably, the latest DVD release (2005) is largely identical to Aubrey’s butchered 1973 cut. Fans rightfully regard a 1988 directors cut as being both superior and definitive.The irony of all Westerns which lament of the “death of the West” (ie, the notion that the steam engine and modernisation killed paradise) is that the “cowboy era” barely lasted one generation. From 1600 to 1790, America was characterised by handicraft/subsistence production alongside elements of a semi-capitalist economy (mostly the commercial production of tobacco). The largest, most commercialised sections of the economy were staffed by enslaved and semi enslaved workers. From 1790 to 1865, several industries began to be organised along capitalist lines and some agriculture sectors lost their subsistence character. With the invention of barbed wire, the era of open ranges and the cowboy then died. By the period’s end, agriculture as a whole was being produced exclusively for the market. Every level of government was then structured such that it controlled the distribution and ownership of land (income taxes were then enforced), and politics increasingly revolved around how best to channel the best pieces of land to those closest to the seats of political power. A working class of free and unfree elements then grew rapidly. From the death of Billy the Kid onwards, roughly 1865 to 1920, the American economy then became predominantly capitalist, attaining an exceptional pace as industry and agriculture became subject to market forces. 7.9/10 – Though muddled, many of Peckinpah’s greatest moments are here. Worth two viewings.

  • radim-bartos
    radim bartos

    I finally got to see the recent DVD Special Edition, with what probably is the film that Peckinpah set out to make, or close to it. This is definitely not the film I saw in 1973; and, yes, it is much better. The restoration has emphasized the real beauty of much of the cinematography. And it is not only the restored 9 minutes that give the film added power, but a slight but important rearrangement of scenes that manages to convey the all-important development of Pat Garrett’s character, which is the real heart of the film.It must be noted that this was a career-defining moment for James Coburn as Pat Garrett. Garrett, a former outlaw getting on the “right side” of the law in order to “live to be old and rich”, is a problematic personality: he wants to be noble, but he’s too scared of aging; he sets his old colleagues against each other, leading to the deaths of many of them – he becomes an angel of death for the Old West itself, yet (unlike, say, George Steven’s Shane) he doesn’t represent any civilizing force to replace it with. He can’t admit any of this to himself, but he can’t avoid it.Consequently, by accepting the role, Coburn accepted an opportunity to set aside his most famous incarnation as the goofy hipster of such films as “President’s Analyst” and “Our Man Flint”, and to pursue a path closed off with the lost opportunity in Leone’s rugged but incomplete “Duck, You Sucker”, to play a complex, brooding and violent man haunted by an unforgiving past. Coburn’s performance, at once quiet and strong, as complex as the character demands, really makes this film; and that it is Garrett’s film, not Billy’s, is now clear.Are there weaknesses to the film? Yes. The historic background to the main story is lost; this being Garrett’s film, we don’t really need as much of Billy as we get from the film; finally, there are moments of self-indulgence on Peckinpah’s part that are distracting and unnecessary. Peckinpah uses the film to rid himself of one of his supposed influences: the fourth major scene in the film is a remake of a scene toward’s the end of Arthur Penn’s “Left-Handed Gun” – by bringing it to the fore, Peckinpah is obviously getting it out of the way as quickly as possible. (Penn, not the Peckinpah of “The Wild Bunch”, was the director who introduced the notion of a gunfight ending in a “bullet ballet” in “Bonnie and Clyde” – a fact some critics of the early ’70s used to insist that “Wild Bunch” was somehow derivative of that film.) However, as the film goes on, a new influence shows up, and in spades – Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time In the West”. From Coburn’s dressing in black and smoking a cigar when he firsts captures Billy, to the moment when Garrett and two colleagues approach the house where Billy’s staying at the end, Leone’s visuals and themes rise to the taste like hot-sauce in a bowl of chili.Peckinpah’s film is not really derivative – after all, Peckinpah’s West is not that of Leone – Peckinpah’s West is rich in color, and surprisingly green; trees don’t make any appearance at all in Leone’s deserted Monument Valley (and it’s Spanish equivalent)location photography; in Peckinpah’s West they play a substantial role as reminders of an ever-young nature infested with aging gunmen.Yet the fact that Peckinpah and his crew felt a need to find a reference point in Leone’s film hints at the source of weakness in this film, a lack of unifying vision. Although I don’t agree that the story is so episodic that its inherent power is lost, there’s no denying a lack of clarity at times.Having said all this, I still insist that this is a really good film, and a really fine end-of-an-era farewell to the American “Old West” – or rather, to it’s legend – the West never was “shoot-outs on main-street” or anything like that. The reason why directors like Peckinpah and Leone made such films as this was that they and their audiences were at last waking up to that fact, that what they learned as legends were little more than historical anomalies. Yes, there really was a “Billy the Kid” – and he had no more historic importance than the average gangsta on the streets of East L.A. has today. Nonetheless, the biographical evidence is that Peckinpah at one time believed in the myth, and certainly preferred it to the reality. It is therefore a sign of courage and artistic integrity that he chose to make films about the end of the myth, rather than glorifying it. Neither Garrett nor the Kid are really very admirable in this film; if the film feels “distant” – and it does – this is because there is no moral center to the film – and, as it happens, that was true of the real West of the 19th century as well – it was just empty space, scenery, and some misfits of various backgrounds trying to find some ways to make a living in an as-yet inhospitable domain.It is as yet unclear whether they succeeded; certainly films like this suggest they didn’t.

  • milena-teslia
    milena teslia

    Especially the director’s cut, this is one of the finest Westerns ever made. Yes, Bob Dylan didn’t make the best soundtrack (with the exception with the beginning music and the river music), and the studio version lacks quality, this is Sam Peckinpah at his finest since “The Wild Bunch”. Peckinaph is one of my all time favorite directors because most of his movies are great, and this one is no different. James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson in the title roles are excellent, especially the always great Coburn (R.I.P.). What is also great is most of the Peckinpah regulars and recognizable Western characters making a great support cast, including Chill Wills, L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong, Matt Clark, Slim Pickens, Katy Jurado, Jack Elam, Harry Dean Stanton, Emilio Fernandez, Richard Jaeckel, Barry Sullivan, Dub Taylor, Elisha Cook Jr., and John Beck. Even Peckinaph has a great cameo. Bob Dylan isn’t the best actor, but his character plays an important part. He represents the story teller that passes down the legend of this story to all generations. This is a film that all Peckinpah and Western fans can’t miss. It’s a shame Sam never lived to make another Western like this.

  • melita-jug
    melita jug

    Sam Peckinpah really is not the full problem or liability with Pat Garret & Billy the Kid, though he’s not totally innocent in what shortcomings come with the film. The story by Rudy Wurlizter provides a mix of extraordinary scenes and some all-too laid-back ones or scenes that don’t feel like there is any real dramatic pull or total interest in the dialog. The other great scenes, which make up the most memorable bits of the film, provide Peckinpah with enough to put his distinctive visual style and subversive approach to character dynamics and conventions of the Western genre, but the parts end up becoming greater than the whole. The version I saw, the 2005 cut, doesn’t seem like it would do any more or less better with fine tuning, and it does feel like a Peckinpah movie more often than not. The story is simple, and has been told more times than one could try to count unless in historical context of the genre: Billy the Kid is a murderous criminal out on the lam, and Pat Garret, the sheriff, is out to get him by hook or by crook. The twist that Peckinpah provides at the core is that it’s not a completely intense thriller with a lot of chases, but more of a journey where the two men- who before becoming Dead-or-Alive Wanted-man and newly appointed Sheriff were sort of on friendly terms (as first scene shows well and clear)- are not in a big rush to meet their fates, even if the whole experience is starting to make things all the more embittered.Pat Garret & Billy the Kid does provide, at the very least, some very great scenes throughout- some of the best I’ve seen in any Peckinpah film- and is a reminder of why the director was an important figure, and remains as such, in American cinema. Scenes like the river-side bit where Pat Garret shoots at the same bottle floating in the river as the guy with his family on the river-raft does; the astoundingly dead-pan shooting scene between Billy (Kris Kristofferson) and Alamosa (Jack Elam) where they sit down for a peaceful meal and go to it without much of a fuss in front of Alamosa’s family; the scene with Garret getting the man to drink in the bar too much as Alias (Bob Dylan) reads off the products on the other side of the room in order to shoot him down; the scenes (in the 2005 cut that seem fairly important) showing Garret and his attitude towards women, either with his wife or with the prostitutes. It’s a shame then that after the first twenty minutes or so, which includes that unforgettable shoot-out (one of the best in Peckinpah’s Westerns) as Garret first corners Billy at the hide-out and drags him off to a not-quite jail before his escape, it then goes sort of up and down in full interest.It’s not that I wouldn’t recommend Pat Garret & Billy the Kid, far from it, and especially for fans of the genre looking for a grim turn of the screws on one of those old-time mythic Western stories. The only main issue is that, in an odd way, the other side of the coin that Peckinpah and his writer are working with here- subversion- has the side of almost being too at ease with itself, of being too comfortable just rolling along. This might be in part due to the leads themselves; Coburn, to be sure, is a pro as always and is especially good in the almost anti-climax at the Fort, but Kristofferson is not very well-rounded, and comes off as being sort of all grins and smiles when he should be living up a little more to his reputation. It’s so against-the-grain of the old-west that it comes close (though it doesn’t, contrary to what Ebert said in his review) to being dull. Luckily, Peckinpah never lets it get too uninteresting, and there’s always something to look forward to, like the touching, actually poetic final scene with Slim Pickens, and seeing the likes of Stanton, Elam and Robards in various roles.Dylan, on the other hand, is sort of a double-edged sword here. The music that he provides for the film, which includes guitar segways, lyricism and some classic songs (with ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ just the right effect when used), is one of the very best things about the movie. But his presence as “Alias” is not as good. He seems to be there more for the sake of being in a Western, or a Peckinpah movie, and taking aside his shtick about feeling like he was a character here in a previous life or whatever, he’s almost a non-entity, and alongside the seasoned character actors and old pros at doing this it doesn’t feel quite right. This being said, he’s not too much of a deterrent, and it’s great having the music put to scenes that wouldn’t be the same without it all. And, of course, it’s Peckinpah all the way, with the men in a sort of damned state of affairs, knowing deep down that the chosen paths are not very easily traveled, and always surrounded by the most distinct, brutal and realistic violence possible. It’s the kind of Western I probably wouldn’t pass up if it came on TV and I had a good shot of whiskey, though it doesn’t reach the level of practical perfection like the Wild Bunch.

  • florea-dima
    florea dima

    Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a unique western. Parts of it are just brilliant, other moments are bungled, but it is composed and structured like no other movie from the genre.Everyone knows the western legend about these two central characters, who went from being friends to sworn adversaries. The leading performances of James Coburn (Garrett) and Kris Kristofferson (Billy) are rather colourless, but the subsidiary characters are beautifully delineated. There are some pretentious moments. For example, near the start Billy is arrested and as he makes his way towards the lawmen who have come to take him, he adopts a Christ-like pose which is presumably meant to signify that he was some kind of martyr among Wild West outlaws (when, in reality, he was probably just a psychopath).However, there are stunning moments in the film too. In fact, the scene in which Slim Pickens stumbles, wounded and mortally bleeding, to a riverside so that he can die peacefully is arguably the most moving scene ever in a motion picture. The acting, the music and the photography fit together harmoniously to make this a truly magical cinematic moment.One word of warning: beware of the incoherent, chopped-up 106 minute version of the film. If you’re planning to watch it, go for the full 122 minute director’s cut, which is immeasurably superior.

  • walter-ferguson
    walter ferguson

    On the surface, a film about the doomed friendship between the two title characters, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is really a film about the death of a way of American life. Death is omni-present in this film, and the compelling aspect of it is that so many of the characters are completely prepared to accept it and deal it out. The best and saddest moments in the film involve characters who know they are going to die and accept it. And the performances are all remarkable. Kristofferson’s easygoing and charismatic portrayal of Billy is the best work of his career, as is Coburn’s sad-eyed interpretation of Pat Garrett. A wonderful film, almost as good as Peckinpah’s masterpiece The Wild Bunch.

  • shalva-urushaze
    shalva urushaze

    Peckinpah’s “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” is a rich, haunting, yet demanding work that, above everything else, sees Billy as a creature of his day and age… He is by no means made a wholly sympathetic character, but who was sympathetic in the New Mexico of 1881? Peckinpah has most of his characters dyed with violence and sniffing the prevailing air of corruption—the chief protagonists, their filthy henchmen, even the onlookers… Where and what is the law? No one seems to know or care… Garrett and Billy have seen both sides, like almost everyone else…And among the confusion and violence that is the legacy of range war there is no gleam of purifying light in the efforts we see being made to clean up the territory… The powers that be want Billy out of New Mexico, not for ethical reasons, but rather so that things can be neatly protected for the approaching business exploitation…Garrett is the man made sheriff to hunt him down and thereby the man who compromises . . . ‘This country’s getting older and I aim to grow old with it … there’s an age in a man’s life when he has to consider what’s going to happen next.’But Billy can’t compromise… It’s not his way… “Billy, they don’t like you to be so free!” proclaims the Bob Dylan theme song, summing up why the power men find Billy so irritating… Perhaps that’s why Garrett who has sold out to power is in some ways a reluctant hunter… He salutes Billy’s spirit—his very own personal declaration of independence—but he knows it’s not the spirit of the new times…It says much for Peckinpah’s way with actors that he gets such admirable performances out of the comparatively inexperienced Kris Kristofferson, as Billy, and Bob Dylan, as Billy’s mate… It says just as much for his Westerns perceptiveness that he relies even more heavily on experience… The well-tried James Coburn is both solid and hard to define as Garrett… And then there are the others who know their way around Westerns so well—Katy Jurado, Slim Pickens, R. G. Armstrong, Jason Robards, Jack Elam, Chill Wills… There’s not a single performance here that isn’t a rounded-off portrait in its own right…It all adds up to a richness in characterization that is matched by the richness of marvelously composed scenes in which interiors and exteriors alike have been put together with loving care and attention to detail, whether it’s a big set-piece ‘shoot-up’ or a close-up of a can of preserves—how such a can looked in 1881…Garrett’s hunt for Billy is told mainly in set-pieces and it has to be said that Peckinpah makes little narrative concession to an audience in the way they are strung together… But for the out and out Western fan this is a most memorable movie

  • eua-euthalia-gabriel
    eua euthalia gabriel

    Simply put, Sam Peckinpah’s “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” is one of the last great Westerns ever made. Like most of ‘Bloody’ Sam’s films, “Pat Garrett” was molested and cut by the studio, MGM upon its release. The film would be panned by audiences and critics. It’s a shame that Peckinpah never lived to see the longer cut of the film finally released to a wider audience on VHS. It would become a cult hit and is now known as one of the best Westerns and one of Peckinpah’s best. The film depicts the final days of Billy the Kid (Kris Kristofferson) before he was killed by his friend Pat Garrett (James Coburn), the newly appointed sheriff of the territory. Other than the fine performances of Coburn and Kristofferson, the film also features excellent supporting roles from famous Western regulars and members of Peckinpah’s stock of actors. The long list of players include Jason Robards, Bob Dylan (also the film’s music composer), Slim Pickens, R.G. Armstrong, L.Q. Jones, Katy Jurado, Paul Fix, Chill Wills, Jack Elam, Harry Dean Stanton, Richard Jaeckel, and Dub Taylor. Most of the characters are killed off in the film, violently evoking both the death of the West and Westerns.Peckinpah’s two regular themes are here: the death of the West, and men living past their time and deciding whether or not they should accept change. My favorite scene in the film takes place about halfway through the film. Pat Garrett, isolated and alone, is sitting by his fire near a river bank. He sees a man about his age and his family sailing on a raft down the river. The man is shooting bottles for target practice. Garrett takes a shot at a bottle. The man sees Garrett and shoots back. Garrett then takes cover behind the nearby tree. They both are aiming at each, but just lower their guns are stare at each other. The raft continues to flow down the river. The scene, which was the reason why Peckinpah, Coburn, and almost everyone wanted to take part in the film, has so much meaning to it. 1. It references an earlier scene with Garrett and Sheriff Baker (Slim Pickens). Baker was building a boat so he could drift out of territory because of how awful it has become. Tragicaly, Baker does not get a chance to see this dream. 2. The scene also references the shoot-out between Garrett and Black Harris (L.Q. Jones). Before his death, Harris yells to Garrett “Us old boys shouldn’t be doing this to each other.” The same thing happens between Garrrett and the man on the raft. Other than the performances, the film also features some good musical pieces by Dylan. John Coquillon’s cinematography is also very beautiful and haunting at the same time. Peckinpah, as always, was able to get period detail down correctly. Rudy Wurlitzer also did a fine job at the screenplay, despite Peckinpah improving most of it himself. Coburn’s performance was possibly his best ever. The idea of Garrett having a lot of inner conflict was good. Garrett knew that he had a job to do, but just could not handle the fact it was his friend that he had to kill. Maybe he was the one who put the gun in the outhouse for Billy to use. It was also great to see the myth and actual facts of the last days of this incident played out.Although this film may have a few faults (some of Dylan’s music and a few of his scenes), “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” is really worth the time to view now that a DVD will be released on January 10th, 2006. The Two-Disc set will feature two versions of the film. The first one is a 115 min. version editied by Peckinpah biographers Nick Redman and Paul Seydor. The second disc will feature the 122 min. version assembled in 1988. According to both men, there was no final cut to “Pat Garrett.” The version that Peckinpah screeded for the MGM heads was just a rough cut. Either way, the DVD will now a new generation of film lovers to be able to view how costly it is when an artist cannot complete his work. Peckinpah and editiors originally had six months to edit, but the idiots from the studio cut it down to two months. I guess the new 115 minute version of the film is closer to Peckinpah’s vision because of notes and interviews with the filmmaker’s colleagues. No matter which version you will watch, “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” is a sad but magnificent Western made by one of the last great storytellers of the Western genre.Billy: Old Pat…Sheriff Pat Garrett. Sold out to the Sana Fe ring. How does it feel? Pat: It feels like…that times have changed. Billy: Times maybe. Not me.