Combustible Celluloid
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With: James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Richard Jaeckel, Katy Jurado, Chill Wills, Barry Sullivan, Jason Robards, Bob Dylan, R.G. Armstrong, Luke Askew, John Beck, Richard Bright, Matt Clark, Rita Coolidge, Jack Dodson
Written by: Rudy Wurlitzer
Directed by: Sam Peckinpah
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 122
Date: 23/05/1973

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Heaven's Door

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid on DVD

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) is arguably the most butchered of all Sam Peckinpah's films. The studio hacked it up upon its release, and since then it has appeared in various and assorted re-cuts of different lengths. This new two-disc set comes with two such cuts, a 1988 cut that runs 122 minutes, and a new, more streamlined 2005 cut that runs 115 minutes. Regardless of length, this is one of Peckinpah's most deeply-felt films, a true meeting of two like souls. The most interesting villains should be able to sit down to a cup of coffee with the hero, and that's exactly what happens here. Garrett (James Coburn) and Billy (Kris Kristofferson) once rode together and they remain kindred spirits even while trying to kill one another. Bob Dylan provided the film's beautiful score and songs, including "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," but also "acts" in the film, causing many film buffs to rip at their hair in frustration. Nevertheless, he plays only a small role, and never detracts from the film's beauties.

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