Now, this is one of the great masterpieces of the western, maybe also of film history.
It’s also the most complex and one of the most unusual westerns ever, and the funny thing is that on the surface it seems not to be more than a dumb and bloody, albeit slightly strange adventure movie, not unlike many others. But it is.
And it’s brillantly directed, everytime on the edge of risking to spoil the whole thing.
If you understand The Wild Bunch the film could be an emotinally overwhelming experience, otherwise the viewer is left with helplessness, is left with cold looking technical brillance.
Also the film works only in it’s uncut version, take some scenes out in the 1st half and the whole end loses it’s emotional power. And these end is not only the mass shootout, it begins with the brothel scene (the Let’s go. - Why not? dialogue) when all the loose ends, the unsolved conflicts, the lurking, but not outspoken themes of the film stream together and are building up to the orgiastic, never before seen climax. Outstanding even in our days.
And the Wild Bunch is thematically and stylistically completely different from any SW.
Instead the film combines and developes the themes and motifs of Peckinpah’s previous westerns Ride the High Country and Major Dundee and brings them in a definitive form.
Like nearly all of Peckinpah’s movies The Wild Bunch is a film about dying, not about killing.