George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid gave the western genre a breath of fresh air when it was released back in 1969. Along with The Graduate (1967), Bonnie And Clyde (1967) and Easy Rider (1969), the film helped to point Hollywood in a whole new direction for the 1970s.
Very loosely based on fact, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid tells the story of Robert LeRoy Parker – aka Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and his partner Harry Longabaugh – aka the “Sundance Kid” (Robert Redford) as they attempt to outrun a posse and seek refuge in Bolivia.
Newman and Redford are at their movie star best, delivering barbed quips as the bickering bandits. This is because William Goldman‘s screenplay is an absolute gem – one of he all-time great scripts. The pairing of Newman and Redford is magic and the duo have flawless chemistry onscreen. They would remain life-long buddies until Newman’s death in 2008 and would re-team with director George Roy Hill on the 1973 hit, The Sting.
A slew of stars thought about taking on the roles in the film – everyone from Jack Lemon to Steve McQueen and Warren Beatty – but it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Paul Newman and Robert Redford playing Butch and Sundance. The film had such an impact on Redford’s career, that he named the Sundance Institute and The Sundance Film Festival after his character.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was selected by the American Film Institute as the 7th-greatest Western of all time in 2008. The film grossed over $102 million in the United States and over $153 million worldwide following its release in 1969 – making it one of the highest grossing westerns of all-time.