Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid

Starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Katherine Ross
Written by William Goldman
Directed by George Roy Hill
USA 1969
110 mins

In November 2018 William Goldman, the award-winning screenwriter and playwright died aged 87. His films included 'The Princess Bride', 'Marathon Man' and 'All The Presidents Men' but perhaps his most famous screenplay was for 'Butch Cassidy And the Sundance Kid' - a supremely entertaining comic western based on the lives of two real-life outlaws in the last years of the 19th century.

The film teamed Paul Newman and Robert Redford as Butch and Sundance - good hearted bandits whose love triangle with schoolteacher Etta Place forms the centre of the story. Their daring and ramshackle exploits enrage the authorities who form a super-posse to track them down and kill them. 
Butch Cassidy can be seen as part of the wave of counter culture that was sweeping through Hollywood at the time in which films like 'Bonnie And Clyde' and 'Easy Rider' glorified the outsider and the outlaw. It was a new kind of western - a very long way from John Wayne, sharing some of the characteristics of the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone but with a lighter streak of anarchic humour.

Conrad Hall's cinematography gives the action an elegiac glow backed by  Burt Bacharach's breezy score - most memorable in the iconic sequence where Newman and Ross fool around on a bicycle to the strains of 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head'.

The picture made huge box office stars of Newman and Redford, who would later work again with director George Roy Hill on 'The Sting'. Their effortless chemistry  as the two loveable rogues and a series of beautifully timed set pieces make for an enduring modern classic. Goldman would famously write 'nobody knows anything' in 'Adventures In The Screen Trade' - his wonderfully astute book about Hollywood. What this great film proves is that he knew certainly knew how to write a movie...

We look forward to seeing you for the first screening of 2019 - our tenth year as a film club!