directed by Sam Peckinpah
USA 1969

Violence comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms. Twenty-six years ago, when Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch was first released, it caused a stir because of its gritty, uncompromising style. The deaths in this film are neither sterile nor heroic. When a gun is fired, the result is inevitably messy. In many ways, especially in its determination not to glorify bloodshed, The Wild Bunch shares key themes with Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven -- only this film came twenty-three years earlier. A classic in its original theatrical cut, The Wild Bunch is nevertheless improved with eleven minutes of footage restored.

 

The movie opens during 1913 in the small south Texas town of San Rafael. The Wild Bunch -- a gang of six -- has moved in to pull off a robbery. What they don't know is that it's a setup -- the sacks of money are filled with washers and there are dozens of gun-toting bounty hunters hidden in ambush. Things turn bloody and numerous innocent citizens are caught in the crossfire. The gang escapes with the bounty hunters hot on their trail.

 

Leading the Wild Bunch is Pike (William Holden), an aging outlaw who enjoys planning his capers as much as carrying them out. He's beginning to feel his age, however -- an old wound makes it nearly impossible for him to mount his horse and he wonders how many more jobs he'll be good for. Pike's right-hand man is Dutch (Ernest Borgnine), another grizzled veteran of the robbery circuit. The gang is rounded out by Sykes (Edmond O'Brien), Angel (Jaime Sanchez), and the Gorch Brothers (Warren Oates and Ben Johnson). One member of the Bunch is missing, however. Thornton (Robert Ryan), once Pike's closest friend, was arrested as a result of a past screw-up, and now commands the mercenaries hunting his old buddies.

Excerpt from James Berardinelli's review located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 18th, 1969 - Los Angeles, USA

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Recommended Reading for Western Genre Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

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DVD Comparison:

Warner - The Original Director's Cut - Region 1 - NTSC vs.  Warner -  The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC vs. Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray

 

1) Warner - The Original Director's Cut - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Warner - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

   

 The SE is included with Sam Peckinpah's Legendary Westerns Collection (The Wild Bunch / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Ride the High Country / The Ballad of Cable Hogue)

    

     

 

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:36:30 + 47:56 (side 2) = 2:23:26  2:24:30  2:24:30
Video 2.29:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.97 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
2.39:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
2.42:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 18-26 mb/s
1080p Hi-def 16X9 2.4:1

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Old

Bitrate:  SE

Bitrate:  Blu-ray

 

NO BITRATE FOR Blu-ray yet...

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1)  English (Dolby Digital 5.1) , DUB French (Dolby Digital 5.1)  English Dolby 5.1, DUBs: French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None English, French, Spanish, None English, English (Hearing impaired), French, Spanish, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
2.29:1

Edition Details:

• Production Notes (text)
• Cast (text)
• Trailers 

 

Side 2

• Documentary ('The Wild Bunch An Album in Montage') - 33:35

DVD Release Date: December 2000

Snapper Case
Chapters: 28 + 18 = 46

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
2.39:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle
• Peckinpah Trailer Gallery
• Never-before-seen outtakes
• Additional scenes
3 Documentaries:
• Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade A feature-length biography of the legendary director
1996 Oscar Nominee The Wild Bunch: • An Album in Montage
• A Simple Adventure Story: Sam • Peckinpah, Mexico and the Wild Bunch  

DVD Release Date: January 10th, 2006

Double slim Case
Chapters: 46

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
2.42:1

1080p Hi-def 16X9 2.4:1

Dual-layered (50 Gig)

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle
• Peckinpah Trailer Gallery
• Never-before-seen outtakes
• Additional scenes
3 Documentaries:
• Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade A feature-length biography of the legendary director
1996 Oscar Nominee The Wild Bunch: • An Album in Montage
• A Simple Adventure Story: Sam • Peckinpah, Mexico and the Wild Bunch  

Blu-ray Release Date:
September 25th, 2007
Standard Blu-ray case
Chapters: 46

 

Comments:

ADDITION - Warner - Region free Blu-ray - July 08': NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

As we noted below, the previous SE had some strong deficiencies which seem even more prominent by comparison to this new Blu-ray. Although the Blu-ray is tending to the warmer end of the color pallet, this is exemplified by the greenish bias of the SE - where it notably made hats and clothes look very 'hunter green' (see Strother Martin's hat, Borgnine's hat and the 'through the window' screen captures below of the SD SE). The Blu-ray appears to be a huge 'correction' in this area. Whether it is more accurate to the director's intention or original theatrical - I'll leave for experts to bicker about. While skin tones are, possibly, overly red (appropriate considering the film locale(s) ) in the Blu-ray - it becomes less of an issue as the detail is so much more visually striking. The Blu-ray also carries further information within the frame on all four sides. I toggled back and forth on my DVD players, between the SD and Blu-ray, and the color discrepancies are certainly visible but you tend to notice the vastly improved detail of the 1080P much more. It is quite a jump forward in sharpness.

Audio, subtitles and extras are all the same between the Blu-ray and the SE SD. From our Blu-ray review HERE - "we have a commentary by Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle, some additional scenes, a Peckinpah movie trailer gallery and 3 Documentaries: Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade A feature-length biography of the legendary director, 1996 Oscar Nominee The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage and only an excerpt from A Simple Adventure Story: Sam Peckinpah, Mexico and the Wild Bunch - a documentary film by Nick Redman."

On the audio; 'The 5.1 sounded excellent (much akin to the SD SE) - very pure and fairly defined if not as intensely buoyant as modern film scores. There are also two 2.0 channel DUBs - French and Spanish. Audio can be a large part of this film experience and this Blu-ray comes through adequately although complaints of, a false-sounding bump with, directionless positioning are still valid.'.

Bottom line is that I'm no expert on colors but I personally, preferred the realistic, and more vibrant, colors to the brownish/green hues of the original SDs. The big issue is detail and the Blu-ray is the undisputed champ for a cleaner, consistent, smoother and cleaner presentation.

***

ADDITION: Special Edition - January 06' : This is a situation that we have become used to seeing - the anamorphicity of the image has created some moulding (softening) of some items within the frame. Many might consider 'too soft'. The old edition which has had some contrast elevation and some more prominent edge enhancements. The new SE , like other recent Warner products, has a strong green bias (this is a sign of a failing telecine machine) that is tends to homogenize the brighter colors to even further brown. The size discrepancy of the image can be a factor depending on the system viewed (the old release was down to 660 wide vs. 960 tight). The errors become more prevalent when viewed on a larger superior system. On the positive, the new SE is cleaner with less damage marks and less digital noise (note the blue sky's in each edition). One interesting point is how the frame has shifted to the left in the new edition with the new SE closer to the proper aspect ratio of 2.35:1. I suspect there was some problems with obtaining the best possible transfer and hence fans may be left a bit disappointed. The extras and commentary are stupendous on the new SE - but overall I would say the image quality is very underwhelming.

****

NOTES on the 1st release:   This is a very poor DVD. It is one of Warner's worst. The single layered - 2 sided DVD's non-anamorphic image looks incredibly thin and has ghastly frame transitions (see last capture). The image has a large black border around and hence is no where near maximizing its horizontal resolution. There is excessive grain (I don't often say that as I love grain) and skin tones are even redder than one might expect from the sun-drenched characters. There are moire effects prevalent and poor frame edges (jaggies). It is a quite old DVD (2000), and definitely time for a 'Special Edition'. Audio has been bumped to 5.1 with no option for the original (bad error). Awful DVD Menus offering text listings of mostly uninteresting minutia and restoration - as well as a documentary on side B. Come on Warner - clean up the presentation on this highly regarded film! REDO REDO REDO ! out of     

NOTE: This labeled the Original Directors Cut (the 1995  reissue at 145 minutes,)there is no "directors cut" listed on IMdb at almost 3 hours.

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus
1) Warner - The Original Director's Cut - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Warner - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - RIGHT


 

Side 2 of the Special Edition

 

 

Blu-ray Menus (taken with Digi-cam)

 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Warner - The Original Director's Cut - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Subtitle Sample

 

NOTE: Not exact frame! - we can't get sub capture with Blu-ray yet.

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 

1) Warner - The Original Director's Cut - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) Warner - The Original Director's Cut - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner - The Original Director's Cut - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner - The Original Director's Cut - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner - The Original Director's Cut - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - The Original Director's Cut - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - The Original Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

More captures from the Blu-ray

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

-

Extras: SE / Blu-ray
Menu: -

 


DVD Box Cover

   

 The SE is included with Sam Peckinpah's Legendary Westerns Collection (The Wild Bunch / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Ride the High Country / The Ballad of Cable Hogue)

    

     

 



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