So it could be, because like any normal person, I am completely and utterly infatuated with two of the best actors of our time- Robert Redford and Paul Newman-that I chose to watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid again this weekend. Or maybe it was just because for my birthday I received a larger-than-life-size black and white photo print of my two favorite men which is now hanging proudly in my dining room, and couldn’t resist watching them again on screen.
First of all I’d like to thank all the genius casting directors out there at 20th Century Fox for casting both Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The dynamic duo in both looks and acting skill, prove that never could characters be more human or more believable than they are in this film.
Second, I’d like to hail the writer, William Goldman,( The Princess Bride, All the Presidents Men) for making sure that every line drips with meaning, humor, talent and timing.
And then of course there is all that which Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is known for; Great Cinematography brought to us by director George Roy Hill ( The Sting, The World According to Garp) and cinematographer, Conrad L. Hall ( American Beaty, Cool Hand Luke)Sepia toned filming, panoramic landscapes, a full scale turn of the century New York travel montage, not to mention the wonder of Burt Bacharach’s score provide this film with all it needed to be great.
Sundance possesses many a quality desired by a man, and admired by a woman; a fine shot, a pretty face, and wanting of a women of quality. So honorable, and honest. As a character his ability to leave a brothel without taking advantage of the pleasures that await is only more astounding than the fact that the reason why is so that he can travel some distance to be with the woman of his choice, a 26 year old school teacher named Etta. A man known for his silent abrasiveness, it becomes terribly refreshing to not only discover he’s a big teddy bear, but that he also can’t swim. Humanity abounds folks.
Butch is fun. As the leader of the Hole in the Wall gang, his leadership knows no limits, and boy can this guy come up with a plan! He’s kind to Etta, fuels the spirit of the future by purchasing a bike, and can speak Spanish! He’s kind to the passengers aboard the trains he blows up, and is rather intent about not killing people. He rationalizes a true and righteous reason for stealing when he explains that he wouldn’t need the money he’s stealing if only the train owner would pay him what he’s paying those goons to hunt him down.
A favorite part of this film for me takes place right after some self imposed exile. Upon entering Bolivia, Butch and Sundance decide to look to that career they know best. Of course, any sort of dialogue that takes place in a Bolivian bank is going to have be in Spanish. From the first moment of attempting to learn bank robbing words in Spanish, courtesy Etta, to the point where Butch is holding up an entire bank while he reads from his Spanish note cards, comedic timing reigns.
There are so many favorite scenes, so many favorite lines, what’s yours?