The Wild Bunch

Sam Peckinpah’s famously bloody, balletic, slo-mo 1969 Western has more to do with the Vietnam era than frontier days—probably not a bad reason for screening it now. Aging outlaws Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, and Ernest Borgnine flee to 1913 Mexico, where they get embroiled in revolution, violence, and a culture they don’t understand. The frontier has closed, the century has turned, and the world has changed its rules for the geezer gunfighters. But they’ll die on their own terms. Says Holden, “We’re gonna stick together, just like it used to be. When you side with a man, you stay with him. And if you can’t do that, you’re like some animal, you’re finished. We’re finished. All of us.” (Followed at 8:30 p.m. by the 1969 cowboy musical flop oddity Paint Your Wagon, in which Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin both sing. Yes, sing.) (R) BRIAN MILLER

March 13-19, 6 p.m., 2009

 
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