Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid Film

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is an epic film of its time. A western movie featuring James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge and even Harry Dean Stanton with Bob Dylan playing a piece part, while his song Knocking on Heaven’s Door dominates everything by strumming the vanquished (dead) to their afterlife.



Sam Peckinpah, Controversy and Film The Trio

Sam Peckinpah and Kris Kristofferson made a few controversial ones. This was one of them. There was criticism that during the process of cutting the film to reduce the running time, the heart had been ripped out of the film. The studio cut the over-budget film from 124 to 106 minutes. Critics said it made the movie “incoherent”.

Aruments, ego and difference of opinion followed. There is a sense that some strongly believed that the film cuts were made in the worst places, with the aim of ruining both the film as well as personal reputations.

It was the era of corporations, cheap drugs and boozy lifestyles. What do you think?

Not Seen it Yet? Seriously?

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NB: Avoid confusion - When looking for this film, you might want the original 1973, the later Director's Cut (if you can find it) and/or the soundtrack. 

I never saw the original. I can say that this is one of the few westerns that I have seen that didn’t send me to sleep.

The actors and the soundtrack might be the combination that won me over. Wide open rolling country scenery and of course – Billy (Kris Kristofferson) make it a compelling watch.

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

Plot

Two men, clearly friends with a long history of being bonded like brothers have split apart when one, Pat Garrett (James Coburn) becomes sheriff. As sheriff, Garret has no choice but to arrest his old friend, Billy the Kid (Kris Kristofferson) for a murder committed some years before.

Billy is jailed, and due to hang in three days time. The charming vagabond shoots his way out of custody and is officially on the run for most of the movie.

Mixed Reviews

The film had mixed reviews from the start. The 1988 directors cut changed this for some people. Reviews are easy to find – as are opnions. There are as many people who love this film as there that hate it. This is one film where you will have to make up your own mind about it.

4.5 Star Rating

Martin Scagnelli gave Pat Garrett and Billy the kid 4.5 Stars

If you watch this film, please let us know what you think about it.

If you are interested in other Kristofferson films, click here

Michael Scagnelli considers that Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a movie that can stand with Straw Dogs – A compliment, indeed.

The following is his Twitter post, and the content is his own. We insert it here so fans can find it.

Michael Scagnelli – Public Domain Twitter Feed




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