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PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID

Director: SAM PECKINPAH

U.S.A. • 1969 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • 35MM • 145 MIN


Lincoln County, 1881. Times are changing, but not Billy the Kid (Kris Kristofferson), who is committed to seeing out his outlaw destiny to the finish. He will clash with former friend Pat Garrett (James Coburn), now a lawman adjusting to encroaching civilisation. Garrett’s pursuit of the Kid develops into an endeavour to eradicate his own past.

Plagued again by production interference (though the revised version showing here, with its important prologue, restores something of the director’s original vision), Peckinpah still fashioned one of the great westerns of the decade. The tale is given a modern spin by the presence of Bob Dylan as both supporting player and composer, whose music provides an effective ballad-like commentary on the action. If Kristofferson is just adequate as the Kid, James Coburn is nothing short of magnificent as Garrett, a cool pragmatist accommodating himself to the wishes of powerful men whose values he fundamentally despises: Peckinpah might have felt a twinge of recognition there.

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