Tuesday, October 27, 2015

577. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)

Running Time: 115 minutes
Directed By: Sam Peckinpah
Written By: Rudy Wurlitzer
Main Cast: James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Richard Jaeckel, Katy Jurado, Chill Wills
Click here to view the trailer


There's chicken cooking in the oven and Ruth tells me I have about forty five minutes or so before the dinner bell rings. Enough time to knock out one more review for the movie that I was able to take in early this afternoon - Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. For the curious, I watched the restored version of the film, which runs 115 minutes, compared to the original 103 minute version.

It's another western kiddies, so it's horses, saddlebags, spurs, cowboy hats, boots, saloons, quarter shaves, outlaws, sheriffs and the norm. James Coburn is Pat Garrett, a former outlaw turned newly appointed sheriff of Lincoln. Kris Kristofferson is Billy the Kid, the resident outlaw of Lincoln and before the paint dries on the opening credits, he's in cuffs and captured via Pat Garrett. It doesn't last though, as he manages to escape the law, sneaking a gun during a visit to the outhouse and blowing away Garrett's deputies. And, it goes without saying, that this turns into a fugitive/captor situation and dammit, I'll be damned if there's much else to tell you...

I mean, yeah, it's a fugitive story, but it's a very unconventional one - something born out of wedlock when the Old West and the Hippie era bedded down one evening. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid doesn't even seem like your run of the mill western. In fact, it feels more like Peckinpah & crew smoked a lot of pot, dropped a little acid and said "Hey, let's make a western!". It's a western where assembling a posse is just as common as having an orgy and self reflection seems to be a thing here, even though I'm pretty sure John Wayne never self reflected.

It's definitely a different type of movie and if you're a fan, I guess I get it. I, for one, didn't take to it. It's square peg didn't seem to fit my round hole....umm...that came out wrong. I like James Coburn as much as the next guy and I even dig Kris Kristofferson too (except seeing him clean shaven really threw me for a loop), so I kind of wanted to like this one. It was less than a month ago when Peckinpah's Straw Dogs finally made me see the greatness that COULD be Peckinpah, but unfortunately Pat Garrett... along with The Wild Bunch and "Alfredo Garcia" made me realize what Peckinpah's usual style is like and I don't think it's really for me. Here's my question though, since I just watch movies and rarely study the real life ins and outs: Was Peckinpah one of the guys who bridged classic Hollywood into the boom period of the 70s? Was he one of the guys that made blood, cursing and nudity more commonplace in film? He's gotta be, right?

RATING: 4/10  I'll give it some marks for originality, but it really did nothing for me and I'm glad it's behind me.


October 27, 2015  5:37pm


  1. I like this movie quite a bit, but I can see where you are coming from. I actually enjoyed all three Peckinpah movies I saw. I enjoyed Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia. Wild Bunch is one my all time favorite films.

    I have not yet seen Straw Dogs.

    1. I recommend Straw Dogs - the most coherent of all the Peckinpah's I've seen.

  2. Well, it's Sam Peckinpah again. I don't remember much about this one .. although I guess I should recall the Bob Dylan bit better than I do .. so I'm afraid I'm just going to assume it was full of gratuitous violence and agree with you I didn't like it much either. (Sweeping generalisation or what?)

  3. I think this is more up my grandpa's alley!


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