BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID | THE FILM THAT LAUNCHED AN ERA

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is hands-down one of my favorite films ever.  Right up there with Cool Hand Luke, but in a completely different league.  The film holds memories that go way back for me.   I have  a very special music box that plays Burt Bacharach’s “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” passed down by my Grandmother, that I will never part with.

Not only is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid superb in its blend of action, drama and humor (extremely quotable)– Redford and Newman never looked better.  Stunning, actually.  The wardrobe is also spot-on.  Particularly when the duo is cleaned up and donned in trim fitting suits, boots & Bowlers.

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” directed by George Roy Hill, starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman– it was their first on-screen pairing, and supercharged Redford’s career.  Surprisingly, Redford was offered the role of the Sundance Kid only after Jack Lemmon backed out, and Steve McQueen insisted on getting top billing over Newman.  Marlon Brando was also considered for the role, as Fox studio execs felt Redford’s image was too squeaky clean, and wanted someone edgier.

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1969 — “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” directed by George Roy Hill, starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

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Paul Newman in the epic film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” directed by George Roy Hill.

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Paul Newman and Katharine Ross in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, directed by George Roy Hill.  Ross and the film’s cinematographer, Conrad Hall, were a couple.

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(Lt.) Robert Redford and Paul Newman on the set. — Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

(Rt.) Katharine Ross, Robert Redford and Paul Newman. — Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

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Paul Newman, Katherine Ross, and Robert Redford on the set of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” — Image by © Douglas Kirkland /CORBIS

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October 1968, Utah — Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid, Katharine Ross as Etta Place, and Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy during the filming of  “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in Utah. — Image by © Douglas Kirkland/CORBIS

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1969 — “Butch Cassidy And the Sundance Kid”, directed by George Roy Hill.  Paul Newman, Katharine Ross, & Robert Redford.  Penguin collection. The suits, boots & bowlers have a fit & feel that give a strong Rag & Bone vibe. Love those guys. — Image by © Underwood & Underwood /CORBIS

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Paul Newman in George Roy Hill’s 1969 epic Western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”  Newman performed his own bicycle tricks after it turned out that his stand-in stuntman for the film could not ride a bike.  I never noticed the shoes he wore in that seen before now.  Was Varvatos co-branding with Converse way back then?

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Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the epic closing scene from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

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Robert Redford in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”  – Image by © John Springer Collection /CORBIS

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Robert Redford and Paul Newman in the epic 1969 western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” — Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

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The cast of 1969′s “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” — Timothy Scott as News Carver, Robert Redford as Sundance Kid, Ted Cassidy as Harvey Logan, Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy, Dave Dunlap, and Charles Dierkop as Flat Nose Curry make up “The Hole-In-The-Wall Gang.” The real Butch Cassidy’s outlaw gang was actually called “The Wild Bunch.” The gang’s name was changed in the film to avoid confusion with Sam Peckinpah’s recently released film “The Wild Bunch.” Later, Paul Newman organized and operated “The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp” for seriously ill children, named after the film’s gang.– Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

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Paul Newman in George Roy Hill’s 1969 epic Western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”  Newman performed his own bicycle tricks after it turned out that his stand-in stuntman for the film could not ride a bike.

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Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and Etta Place (Katharine Ross) ride a bicycle during a scene from the 1969 film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” — Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

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Robert Redford and Paul Newman enjoying a little bare-chested table tennis off-set.  The two were longtime friends, co-stars and pasionate prankseters– always trying to one-up the other.

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Robert Redford Remembers Paul Newman–

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I first met Paul Newman in 1968, when George Roy Hill, the director of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, introduced us in New York City. When the studio didn’t want me for the film — it wanted somebody as well known as Paul — he stood up for me. I don’t know how many people would have done that; they would have listened to their agents or the studio powers.

The friendship that grew out of the experience of making that film and The Sting four years later had its genesis in the fact that although there was an age difference, we both came from a tradition of theater and live TV. We were respectful of craft and focused on digging into the characters we were going to play. Both of us were fundamentally American actors, with the qualities and virtues that characterize American actors: irreverence, playing on the other’s flaws for fun, one-upmanship — but always with an underlying affection. Those were also at the core of our relationship off the screen.

Paul was very engaged at work. He was there. He liked a lot of rehearsal. But he was fun too. Whenever he’d make a mistake on set, he would enjoy it more than anybody. I’d look at him, and he’d look at me, and I’d say, “You’re not fooling anybody. You’re not staring at me intensely; you’ve lost your line.” And he’d roar with laughter.

We shared the belief that if you’re fortunate enough to have success, you should put something back — he with his Newman’s Own food and his Hole in the Wall camps for kids who are gravely ill, and me with Sundance and the institute and the festival. Paul and I didn’t see each other all that regularly, but sharing that brought us together. We supported each other financially and by showing up at events. And then we’d give each other a hard time. Whatever success one of us would have, the other would knock it down. If you’re in a position of being viewed iconically, you’d better have a mechanism to take yourself down to keep the balance. I think we did that for each other.

What impressed me about Paul was that he was very realistic about who he was. He knew the world of hyperbole and distortion he was in. That meant he maintained a certain amount of privacy. He was generous and a pillar of integrity. He was loyal and self-effacing. His commitment to his profession was serious, as was his commitment to social responsibility and especially to his family. He had a life that had real meaning and that will for some time.

I last saw him a few months ago. He’d been in and out of the hospital. I knew what the deal was, and he knew what the deal was, and we didn’t talk about it. We talked about what was on our minds: the election, politics, what needed to be done. Ours was a relationship that didn’t need a lot of words.

Mostly I’ll miss the fun we had. We played lots of pranks on each other. I used to race cars, and after he took this rare Porsche I owned for a drive, he began to get into racing. He had incredible reflexes, and he got really good, but he talked so much about it that I got sick of it. So I had a beaten-up Porsche shell delivered to his porch for his 50th birthday. He never said anything, but not long after, I found a crate of molten metal delivered to the living room of my (rented) house. It dented the floor. I then had it turned into a really ugly sculpture and dropped into his garden. To this day, neither one of us has ever mentioned it

via TIME

15 thoughts on “BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID | THE FILM THAT LAUNCHED AN ERA

  1. Pingback: YEAH, WELL — SOMETIMES NOTHIN’ CAN BE A REAL COOL HAND « The Selvedge Yard

  2. “Morons. I’ve got morons on my team. Nobody is going to rob us going down the mountain. We have got no money going down the mountain. When we have got the money, on the way back, then you can sweat.”

  3. Thank you for this fantastic feature on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It has been one of my all time favorite films since I was a little girl and my dad and I would watch it together.

  4. “Who ARE those guys??”

    (love that line — over and over — in the movie)

    despite it’s random “doo-be-doo-be-doo-be-da-da-da-da” part that goes on forever (e.g., the bicycle scene), i adore this movie. newman and redford — particularly redford — are just so gorgeous, handsome, and funny, and their chemistry… gah… see how i am? i can’t put it into words. just a fantastic movie. thanks for posting these photos. now i want to see it again.

  5. Paul Newman…for me the best human that has walked the earth
    Robert Redford…fantastic tashe…a superb film,in fact i’m gonna put the DVD in right now.

  6. I dont know about USA that Marlboro Classic by Valentino House is sold there. But here I found Fall Winter 2008/2009 Collection was totally inspiration from this movie.

  7. Another great post! Can’t ever get enough Katharine Ross.

    I’d forgotten George Roy Hill directed this. My favorite movie of his is another Robert Redford film, The Great Waldo Pepper.

  8. What a great film, my fave line “…The FALL will kill you.” One of my dad’s much loved films and the last he – and we, family – watched together. Nice article, thanks :)

  9. Great movie, indeed as were The Sting and Waldo Pepper. So, im not the only one completely and utterly lost in love w/ the wonderful Catherine Ross????

    Ol’ Sam is a right lucky guy!

  10. JP, thank you for posting about my favorite film ever.

    “Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?”

  11. Saw it first at a drive in with my folks in Montgomery Alabama way back when.Thanks for another cool trip down memory lane.

  12. Pingback: RALPH LAUREN & ROBERT REDFORD | THE GREAT GATSBIES « The Selvedge Yard

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