Cultura & Literatura
LIFE Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at 50

LIFE Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at 50

LIFE Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at 50

Paul Newman and Robert Redford, two of Hollywood’s most bankable stars in an iconic outlaw story of the Old West, took the tale of bank-robbing buddies above and beyond critics’ dismissal of the film as a weak copy of ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ making it 1969’s top-grossing film. Over the last half century, the movie has grown in stature and is now considered a defining moment in ’60s cinema. To mark its 50th anniversary, the editors at LIFE present this new special edition that explores “The Lasting Legacy of Butch and Sundance.” Travel back to the Wild West where you’ll meet “The Lives Behind the Legend,” career criminals and folk heroes Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh. Then, go behind the scenes of “The Making of a Movie Classic” and examine just how it went from “Cinema Smash to Cultural Icon.” Last, dissect the famous final scene and ride “Into the Sunset.” Packed with photos and inside stories, LIFE’s 50th-anniversary tribute is the perfect collector’s item to celebrate half a century with this Hollywood classic.

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4 minutos
the lasting legacy of butch and sundance

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID was an unexpected hit, a film about a duo of wisecracking Western outlaws who ran their mouths more than they pulled their triggers. Paul Newman and Robert Redford played those 19th-century villains as likeable antiheroes who inhabit a Western fantasy set to a 1960s pop-music tune. And 50 years ago, the movie seemed just the magical, side-show elixir Americans hankered for. When Butch Cassidy opened in September 1969, audiences ignored naysaying critics, massed in lines, grabbed some popcorn and soda pop, and enjoyed nearly two hours of sweet escapism. Perhaps they yearned for a respite from the barrage of wrenching news, as U.S. troops fought in Vietnam, antiwar protests overran college campuses, fires scorched inner cities, and a murderous cult called the Family gripped…

16 minutos
the lives behind the legend

JUST AFTER TWO IN THE MORNING ON June 2, 1899, two men carrying lanterns flagged down the Union Pacific Railroad’s No. 1 train. Engineer William Jones, assuming the pair had come to warn him that the bridge near Wilcox, Wyoming, had been washed out, braked the engine. Two men wearing masks then hopped on board and ordered Jones to cross the bridge. When the engineer didn’t move fast enough, he was coldcocked with the butt of a Colt revolver. After the train passed to the other side of the wooden trestle, the bandits blew up the structure. Then they uncoupled the passenger cars. At that, four more villains climbed on and advised the passengers that no one would be harmed as long as they stayed calm. When the outlaws made it…

24 minutos
the making of a movie classic

IN THE MID 1960S, THE NOVELIST WILLIAM Goldman was making a living teaching creative writing at Princeton University. His novels Boys and Girls Together and No Way to Treat a Lady had come out in 1964, and over the 1965 Christmas holiday he found that he didn’t have any large writing project planned. The Chicago-born author had been fascinated since the late 1950s with the story of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid—and so he decided to write a screenplay about the pair. Goldman was taken by Butch and Sundance’s exploits, intrigued by the fact that Butch reportedly didn’t kill, and fascinated by the persistent rumor that they had survived the Bolivian shoot-out. Yet it was a line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon—“There are no second…

2 minutos
urban cowboys

LAWRENCE SCHILLER HAD EARNED A living making photographs for LIFE and other publications, as well as for movie studios. He had gotten to know Paul Newman, who said, “Why don’t you start shooting motion pictures?” Schiller recalls working on the Butch Cassidy set and saying to Newman, “There’s something wrong with this script.” Butch, Sundance, and Etta moved too fast to Bolivia, Schiller thought. The film should include a photo montage to explain their activities. Producer John Foreman liked the idea and Fox president Richard Zanuck gave the production access to the sets for Hello Dolly! while producer Paul Monash let them use those of the TV series Peyton Place. Schiller photographed the stars. Some images he printed unaltered. Others he superimposed onto period photos. He then filmed the segment.…

12 minutos
from cinema smash to cultural icon

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID is a classic buddy movie in the spirit of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby’s comedic Road films. While the heroes rob and blow things up, they spend much of their time verbally fencing like an old married couple, giving the film a campy, breezy quality. But during the first previews, audiences found it a little too funny, at least for director George Hill. “They laughed at my tragedy,” he lamented—and he took out some of the wisecracks. Throughout, Hill’s film defies conventions. Divided into three parts—the American heists, the posse chase, and the South American sojourn—it’s an antiestablishment flick but has no sex to speak of and just one (memorable) curse word. And for a Western, there is limited action and violence, with only two…

12 minutos
into the sunset

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID died in a hail of bullets in Bolivia. Or maybe they didn’t. Rumors swirled for years that the outlaws survived the 1908 shoot-out in San Vicente. Their deaths, or non-deaths, seem in character with George Roy Hill’s film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which begins with the disclaimer “Most of what follows is true.” And just as people could not accept the idea that these antiheros perished, Americans refuse to perform a campfire elegy for the Wild West, that figurative geographic region that never quite existed in the way we think of it. The concept of the West arose long before Butch and Sundance donned dusters and strapped on their six-guns. In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson dispatched Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark to explore…