Butch: All right, I'll jump first.A 1969 Western directed by George Roy Hill, written by William Goldman, and starring Paul Newman (as Butch) and Robert Redford (as Sundance.)Loosely based on the Real Life story of two outlaws who fled to Bolivia in an attempt to outrun their pursuers. Full of snarking, daring escapes, and a real tearjerking ending. The movie follows the Hole-in-the-Wall gang, led by Butch Cassidy, making their living robbing banks and trains. When they are ambushed, and most of the gang scattered or killed, Butch and Sundance, along with Sundance's girlfriend Etta (Katharine Ross), make their way to Bolivia where "banks are easy". Although in the end, things don't turn out quite as they planned.A big box-office hit, this film also won four Academy Awards: for Best Original Screenplay (Goldman), Cinematography (Conrad Hall), Original Score (Burt Bacharach), and Original Song ("Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"). It helped make a star of Robert Redford. In recognition, he named his ski resort after his character from this film, which also carried over into the Sundance Film Festival held there each year, the largest film festival in the country.
Butch: Then you jump first.
Sundance: No, I said.
Butch: What's the matter with you?
Sundance: I can't swim!
Butch: (laughs hysterically) Why, you crazy? The fall'll probably kill ya!
Butch: Then you jump first.
Sundance: No, I said.
Butch: What's the matter with you?
Sundance: I can't swim!
Butch: (laughs hysterically) Why, you crazy? The fall'll probably kill ya!
This film provides examples of:
- Animal Stampede: Humorously subverted. Butch attempts—at some length—to upset a pen of horses in order to get them to stampede to cover the gang's escape, only to be completely ignored by the creatures.
- Arc Words: "Who are those guys?"
- Arch-Enemy: Although they do not appear in the film, Joe Lefors and E.H. Harriman are the archenemies of Butch and Sundance.
- Asymmetric Dilemma: About to jump from a high precipice into a river below, Sundance points out that he can't swim. "You crazy?" says Butch, "The fall will probably kill you!"
- Atomic F-Bomb: When Butch and Sundance jump off the cliff into the river, Sundance lets off an epic "AHHHHH SHIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTT!"
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Butch and Sundance throughout.
- Badass Mustache: Sundance sports one.
- Bait-and-Switch CommentButch: You know, every time I see Hole-in-the-Wall again, it's like seeing it fresh for the first time. And every time that happens, I keep asking myself the same question; how could I be so damn stupid to keep coming back here?
- Bandito: After Butch and Sundance decide to go straight in Bolivia, and get jobs guarding a mine's payroll, they wind up in a shootout with some Bolivian banditos who want to steal said payroll.
- Bank Robbery: Butch and Sundance carry out several in Bolivia.
- Batman Gambit: E.H. Harriman baits the Hole-in-the-Wall gang with another train, then sends the Posse From Hell after them.
- Better To Die Than To Be Killed: There's a reason this film is the Trope Namer for Bolivian Army Ending. It is unclear, however, if they realize what they're up against and choose to go out in a blaze of glory, or if they really think they have a chance to break out.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Butch is an incredibly pleasant guy. Doesn't mean he won't take certain measures if you get in the way of his robbery.
- Big Bad: Joe Lefors.
- Big, Bulky Bomb: In an attempt to blow open a safe on a railroad car, they wind up blowing up the whole car.
- Bilingual Bonus: Some scenes in Bolivia are funnier if you speak Spanish.
- Blade-of-Grass Cut: Visible in a fade in/out of a tree branch with dew, set to "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head".
- Bolivian Army Ending: Welp, spoilers. This is, of course, the Trope Namer. The film ends with a freeze-frame as Butch and Sundance charge out to shoot it out with the Bolivian Army.
- Born in the Beginning of the Wrong Century: The Central Theme is seeing two Lovable Rogues pathetic attempts to cope with the Twilight of the Old West. If they would have been born just fifteen years earlier, they would have been The Aces between the Outlaws. If they would have born just fifteen years later, they would have been the Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters. Everyone loves them but know that Their Days Are Numbered. It looks like things will turn around when they move to Bolivia, which to them seems like a land set back 20 or so years from where they left behind... but Bolivia, it turns out, is more advanced than they thought.
- Bottomless Magazines: averted for the most part during the film and particularly during the final showdown where Sundance is covering Butch's run for more ammunition. George Roy Hill deliberately showed Sundance reloading behind cover as a Take That! to other films. However, it's played straight in the final mad dash. Sundance gets off at least 15 shots from his pair of six-shooters.Sundance: You call that running?Butch: You call that giving cover?
- Buddy Picture: Probably the Trope Codifier. The chemistry between Newman and Redford is some of the best in Hollywood history.
- Butt Monkey: Woodcock, who twice falls victim to Butch and Sundance when they're robbing his train.
- Carnival of Killers: The Super Posse, which includes Indian tracker Lord Baltimore and lawman Joe leFors and which has been paid to stay on the trail of the outlaws till they are dead.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Very common, but averted in one famous scene: Butch gets annoyed when Sundance finally shows some emotion about being chased for days and cornered on a cliff overlooking a raging river.Butch: What's the matter with you?
Sundance: I can't swim!
Butch: (pause, then raucous laughter) Are you crazy?! The fall will probably kill you!
- Central Theme: How two people can spend their whole lives together and never really know each other.
- Challenging the Chief: Butch had apparently stated prior to the events of the film that anyone who wanted to could challenge him for leadership. Butch set this rule because he thought nobody would ever take him up on it, but early in the film the biggest, meanest member of his gang does just that. Through a combination of Guile and being willing to Fight Dirty, Butch manages to win despite the fact that he shouldn't have had a chance in the fight.
- The Chase: The entire middle third of the movie is this as the bounty hunters pursue Butch and Sundance across the Western landscape.
- Combat Pragmatist: Butch is not much of a fighter, so he relies on surprise and a tactical Groin Attack to survive his "knife fight" with the brutal Harvey.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Butch wonders why E.H. Harriman doesn't just pay him off with the money he's spending to track them.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sundance.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Sepia is used thrice: in the intro, in a travel montage and the finale.
- Didn't Want an Adventure / Be Careful What You Wish ForButch: Kid, the next time I say, "Let's go someplace like Bolivia," let's GO someplace like Bolivia.
- Dramatic Irony: The pair, however, are painfully unaware that a sizeable battalion of the Bolivian Army has come to kill them.Butch: Hey, wait a minute. You didn't see Lefors out there, did ya?
Sundance: Lefors? No.
Butch: Oh good. For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble.
- The Dreaded / The Ghost: Joe LeFors, the lawman who tracks our heroes all the way to Bolivia.
- Or so they think. They saw a man wearing a white straw boater hat and assumed it was LeFors, but never found out for certain.
- Foreshadowing: All over the movie, but this takes the cake:
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: "For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble."
- Famous Last Words:
- Freeze-Frame Ending: The original Bolivian Army Ending, just as Butch and Sundance, hopelessly outnumbered, come out firing. The massive gunfire heard during the freeze frame implies they did not make it.
- "That's what happens when you live ten years alone in Bolivia! You get colorful!" Percy Garris
- "Lefors? No." Sundance Kid
- "Oh, good. For a moment there I thought we were in trouble." Butch Cassidy
- Funny Background Event: Butch and Sundance relax on the balcony of a whorehouse, unbeknownst to the Marshal across the street who is failing to form a posse to get them.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: Then the Marshal's efforts are interrupted by a bicycle salesman taking advantage of the crowd he's gathered.
- Gallows Humour: Numerous examples, considering that they're both bank robbers wanted dead or alive (preferably dead).
- The Gay '90s: The film begins in 1898, and is particularly well-demonstrated in the gratuitous New York City sepia-montage.
- "Get out of Jail Free" Card: Butch and Sundance desperately try to get one from a local Sheriff by offering to enlist in the Army. He doesn't bite.
- Groin Attack: Butch does this to Harvey at the beginning of their "knife fight."
- Hand Gagging: During the second train robbery. Woodcock, thinking Butch and Sundance were going to harm a female train passenger, opens the door to the car with the safe in it, only to find Sundance has the woman like this while Butch imitated her voice.
- Hand Signals: During the second train robbery, when the pursuing posse appears Butch waves his arm toward the rest of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang in a "get going" gesture.
- Happily Ever Before: The last shot of the movie freeze-frames literally the instant before the two heroes are gunned down, leaving us with a final image of the two in which they are very much alive, and doing what they do best.
- The Hero Dies: Both Butch and Sundance themselves at the end. Probably.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Butch and Sundance. They even bicker like an old married couple throughout the movie.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Butch and Sundance sit on the balcony of a whore house literally across the street from an unobservant Marshal trying plaintively to rally a posse to catch them.
- High-Speed Hijack: The Sundance Kid jumps down from a nearby hill onto the top of a moving train, then runs along the top to the engine and makes the train crew stop it at gunpoint.
- Historical Beauty Update: Butch, Sundance and Etta were a bit more ordinary looking in real life. Although Sundance and Etta were pretty respectable looking citizens.◊
- I Am Not Leonard Nimoy: To some extent, Robert Redford has been cultivating this. He named his ski resort and his annual film festival "Sundance" after his role here.
- If We Get Through This...: Butch and Sundance jokingly discuss moving to Australia in the middle of the film, but the same is notably missing from the ending. Goldman said that omitting the reminiscing gives a sense of obscure bravery to the death scene, since once they realize that they really are going to die they completely refuse to act like it.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Parodied. The Kid and Etta apparently have a rather kinky sex life.
- Implacable Posse: "Who are those guys?"
- Impressive Pyrotechnics: "You think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?"
- Improbable Aiming Skills: The mine owner wants Sundance to shoot a plug of chewing tobacco to test his skill, but Sundance can't hit it standing still. He has to quick draw and shoot in rapid succession, and only then does he blast the tobacco all over the place.
- Sundance also shoots the gunbelt off a man and shoots the gun itself across the floor at the start of the film.
- Intermission: The film includes a five-minute Good Times Montage of still photos which served very little expository purpose. It is not an official intermission, but it is a great time to go to the bathroom. It was originally planned to be a live action sequence of Butch, Sundance and Etta in New York, on their way to Bolivia, using the New York sets built for Hello, Dolly!, but production delays for that film meant that Butch Cassidy would be released first, and the Hello Dolly producers didn't want people thinking that they had reused sets built for Butch Cassidy.
- It Will Never Catch On: Initially averted, and eventually sort-of played straight with Butch's bicycle. Though he throws it away more because they can't carry it on their wagon.
- Just Train Wrong: In the train robbery/coach explosion scene, the cars are all appropriate for the era. Apart from the locomotive though, which was most likely built in 1925.
- The Ken Burns Effect: Used to liven up the photo montage that illustrates the gang's trip to New York City and thence to South America.
- Klingon Promotion: Attempted when Harvey Logan demands that Butch fight him to the death, with the expectation that the winner would be the leader of the hole-in-the-wall gang. "Guns or knives?" Subverted when Butch tells Sundance to kill Harvey if he wins the fight.
- Knife Fight: Logan proposes one when he challenges Butch for leadership of the gang. Butch instead delivers a Groin Attack.
- Latin Land: Bolivia? More like Mexico with llamas.
- Leader Wannabe: When Butch and the Kid return to the Hole in the Wall Gang they find that Harvey wants to take over from Butch. Harvey challenges Butch to a fight, but Butch takes him out with a surprise Groin Attack.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Butch proposes this to Harvey Logan, who dismissively rejects it, failing to realize that he was actually handing Butch an opportunity to blindside him.
- Loophole Abuse: Butch is about to participate in a knife fight with Harvey, a member of his gang challenging him for leadership. Butch starts walking towards Harvey and claims that first they have to get the rules straightened out. Harvey thinks the idea of rules in a knife fight is so dumb that he lowers his guard and bellows that there are no rules. Butch immediately kicks Harvey in the groin, states that if there aren't going to be any rules it's about time to start the fight, and finishes off Harvey before he can recover from Butch's sneak attack.
- Lovable Rogue: Butch and Sundance are the most charming thieves you will meet.Woodcock: Butch, you know that if it were my money, there is nobody that I would rather have steal it than you.
- Make It Look Like a Struggle: When Butch and Sundance go to see their friend Sheriff Bledsoe, he insists on their tying him up and gagging him so there's no chance of him losing his job if anyone saw the two criminals entering his home.
- Matte Shot: The "cliff jump" scene features a matte-painted cliff wall.
- Misplaced-Names Poster: The ultimate collector's edition slipcover◊ has Paul Newman and Robert Redford's names swapped. However, the cover of the case itself◊ uses the same text with a different pictures where the actors match their names.
- Monochrome to Color: The first scene is in a sepia-toned black-and-white, likely in order to establish the old-timey 1898 mood. After Butch finishes casing a bank and Sundance has a confrontation over a poker game, they leave town, and the film switches to color.
- Mr. Fanservice: Newman and Redford, two very handsome men.
- Mr. Smith: When Butch and Sundance decide to give up crime, they tell their employer that their names are Smith and Jones.
- Ms. Fanservice: Etta (Katharine Ross) is introduced by The Kid getting her to take her Gorgeous Period Dress off.
- Multiple Gunshot Death: Although we don't get to see it on-screen, the ending implies that Butch and Sundance were gunned down by three or four squads of Bolivian Army riflemen.
- Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: Joe Lefors. So mysterious, he's never even properly seen in the film. Butch and Sundance see him once from a distance of a mile or more, then later on see someone they assume is him from behind, although it's not clear if it's really Lefors or just paranoia on their part. When Butch and Sundance were at night and planted a diversion for Lefor's men to split up and so trick them, they fall... for almost a minute. Then they resume their persecution. Those guys were scary.
- Name and Name
- Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Butch's leadership of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang is challenged by Harvey Logan. Logan produces a large knife; Butch tricks his dimwitted opponent into momentarily letting his guard down by discussing the "rules" for the fight, kicks him in the crotch, and knocks him out cold.
- No Escape but Down: When the title characters are trapped against the edge of a cliff by the posse pursuing them, they decide to take their chances and jump into the river below.
- No-Holds-Barred Contest:Butch: No, no. Not yet. Not until me and Harvey get the rules straightened out.Harvey: Rules in a knife fight? No rules!Butch: (kicks Harvey in the 'nads) If there ain't no rules, let's get started. Someone count 1, 2, 3, go.Sundance: 1, 2, 3, go!Butch: (knocks Harvey out with a two-handed punch)
- No One Could Survive That!: Subverted. The two heroes jump off a cliff to escape pursuit. Sundance says that he can't swim, and Butch laughs, saying "The fall will prob'ly kill ya!"
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: "Most of what follows is true."
- Off Bridge, onto Vehicle: Butch and Sundance are forced to jump off a cliff to escape a pursuing posse: they land in a river and are carried away downstream.
- Offscreen Inertia: This may have been the reasoning behind the ending, and perhaps some of the subsequent imitations as well. If you don't actually see the heroes get killed in the ensuing battle then there's the possibility, however slim, that they're still fighting, and managed to win. It helps that there is some historical evidence that Butch survived the shootout (though none for Sundance).
- Oh, Crap!: When the gambler in the opening scene realizes who he was just accusing of cheating.
- Outlaw: Butch, Sundance and the rest of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang.
- Pinkerton Detective: They pursue the duo to Bolivia (both in real life and in the film.)
- The town marshal tries to get a posse together to pursue the Hole in the Wall gang after a train robbery, but his lack of charisma, the gang's lethal reputation and the intervention of a bicycle salesman foil him.
- During the second train robbery, the gang is attacked by a expert posse specially formed by "Mr. E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific Railroad" to hunt down Butch and the Sundance Kid. This pursuit eventually drives Our Heroes to Bolivia, and their doom.
- Precision F-Strike: There isn't a lot of cursing in this movie, but Butch and Sundance get off a pretty good one when they jump into the river."OH SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!"
- Put on a Bus: Etta, who was a rather important character in the movie, who had been following them throughout the whole story, suddenly says she wants to go home. She's never seen or mentioned again. Justified, as Etta told Sundance that she wouldn't watch him die, so she leaves him after Butch and Sundance refuse to go straight via farming or ranching. The real-life Etta Place vanished from history.
- Reality Has No Subtitles: After the title duo go to Bolivia, some of the natives speak Spanish to them without any subtitles or translation for the audience.
- When Butch and Sundance enter a bank, the guard speaks to them in Spanish. Frustrated because they can't understand him, they leave in confusion.
- After becoming the "Banditos Yanquis", they stop in a small town for lunch. They ask a random guy for some food and he agrees, giving them a long dialogue in Spanish.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Butch and Sundance get a well-meaning one from their sheriff friend.Sheriff Ray Bledsoe: [to Butch and Sundance] You should have let yourself get killed a long time ago when you had the chance. See, you may be the biggest thing that ever hit this area, but you're still two-bit outlaws. I never met a soul more affable than you, Butch, or faster than the Kid, but you're still nothing but two-bit outlaws on the dodge. It's over, don't you get that? Your times is over and you're gonna die bloody, and all you can do is choose where.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Butch's exuberant scheming is nicely balanced by Sundance's laconic skepticism.
- Retreaux: The little silent movie that plays over the opening credits.
- Retired Outlaw: Well, temporarily.
- Rousing Speech: Subverted. The Marshal tries to deliver one to round up a posse, resulting in only one person joining him on stage — who promptly launches into a sales pitch for bicycles.
- Run for the Border: While fleeing from their pursuers:Sundance: Let's go to Mexico instead.
Butch: All they got in Mexico is sweat. There's too much of that here.
- They eventually decide to go to Bolivia.
- Safecracking: Mr. E.H. Harriman's newest safe defeats Butch's cracker. So they use dynamite. A LOT of dynamite. It winds up destroying the whole train car as well as the safe and sending the money flying everywhere.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Lord Baltimore, who can even track our heroes over rock.
- Schoolmarm: Etta Place, Sundance's woman, is a schoolmarm who abandons her duties to go to South America with them.
- Show Within a Show: The silent film version of the Hole-in-the-Wall's exploits during the opening credits.
- Shout-Out: The kid noticing the brand on the burro references The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
- Slow-Motion Fall: When the title characters shoot down the Bolivian bandits.
- Soft Water: Faclitates the most famous scene in the movie, where Butch and Sundance escape a trap by jumping into a river.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: A western scored by Burt Bacharach.
- Spiritual Successor: The Sting reunited director George Roy Hill with Newman and Redford for another seriocomic period piece about a couple of guys operating outside the law.
- Stern Chase: From the arrival of the posse until Butch and Sandance escape to Bolivia.
- The Starscream: Logan, one of the members of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, challenges Butch for leadership of the gang. A well-placed Groin Attack puts a stop to that.
- Stuff Blowing Up: After Butch blows up an entire train car along with all their loot, Sundance deadpans, "Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?"
- Surrounded by Idiots: As Butch, Sundance, and their employer are on a mission to pick up a payroll, Butch and Sundance are watching for an ambush. The employer says "Morons. I've got morons on my team.", and explains that no one will ambush them because they don't have the money yet.
- Tempting Fate:
Percy Garris: About a half hour more, and we can start to worry, as soon as we get to that pass up there. We'll be all right till then. [snip] You got to relax, you fellas. You got to get used to Bolivian ways. You got to go easy. [snip] [shots ring out and he falls dead].
- While Butch and Sundance are acting as payroll guards, their employer tries to reassure them about the threat from bandits.
Butch: Hey, wait a minute.Sundance: What?Butch: You didn't see LeFors out there, did you?Sundance: LeFors? No.Butch: Oh, good. For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble. [They charge outside]Bolivian Army officer: Fuego! (Fire!) [gunfire] Fuego! [gunfire] Fuego! [gunfire].
- Early in the movie, Butch and Sundance are pursued by a posse led by the lawman Joe LeFors. After traveling to Bolivia, at the end of the film they are trapped in a room by some police officers. Little do they know that a Bolivian Army detachment has arrived outside and is ready to riddle them with bullets.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Butch and Sundance have a short-lived job as payroll guards for a mine worker.
- There Are No Rules: Parodied. Logan has challenged Butch to a fight for leadership of the Hole in the Wall gang.Butch: No, no, not yet. Not until me and Harvey get the rules straightened out. (Starts walking towards Harvey)Logan: Rules? In a knife fight? No rules!Butch: Well, if there ain't going to be any rules, let's get the fight started. Someone count 1,2,3 go.Sundance: (very fast) 1,2,3, go!Butch: (Knocks out Logan with a two-handed punch)
- Threesome Subtext: Butch + Sundance + Etta is just this side of canon.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: A cruel subversion as we discover that Butch Cassidy had never killed anyone. That is, until he went straight and served as a payroll guard. This is actually true, as Butch Cassidy was a lapsed Mormon and had strong feelings against killing. He figured God would probably forgive him for everything else as long as he avoided killing.
- Train Job: Butch and Sundance's specialty.
- The Trope Kid
- Try and Follow: The duo jump off the cliff into the river below to avoid being caught. But that isn't enough and they learn later that their pursuers will keep after them until they were captured or dead.
- Twilight of the Old West: Takes place between 1898 and 1908.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story
- "Most of what follows is true."
- The "Hole-in-the-Wall gang" was more commonly known as the "Wild Bunch". "Hole-in-the-Wall" was the name of one of their hideouts.
- The Sundance Kid didn't grow up in Atlantic City.
- Although the Sundance Kid had a reputation as an excellent gunfighter, he is not known to have actually killed anyone prior to his final stand in Bolivia (though he is known to have wounded a few). The real killer of the gang was a man called Kid Curry. It's possible that people mixed them up, since they both had "Kid" in their names.
- The deaths of Butch and the Kid are historically foggy. There was a shootout involving the Bolivian army vs. two foreign bandits, but the bandits shot themselves and were buried in unmarked graves before they could be positively identified. (There is some inconclusive evidence that Butch remained alive several years beyond that incident, living a quiet life. But there is no particular evidence for the Kid remaining alive.)
- Wanted Meter: Butch and Sundance are having a peachy time robbing trains until the railroads employs a team of special detectives to hunt them down. They manage to escape to South America, where they think they can reset their Karma Meter, but they find that the wanted level transfered and soon run afoul of the Bolivian Army
- Worrying for the Wrong Reason: In the film's most famous scene, the characters are debating whether or not to escape their pursuers by jumping from a high cliff into a river. Butch insists that they should, but Sundance is dead set against it. Eventually he reveals the reason for his reluctance: he can't swim. At which point Butch starts laughing at him and cries:"Why, you crazy? The fall'll probably kill ya!"
- "YEAH!" Shot: A somewhat less-cheery variant shows up at the end.
- You Can Keep Her:"What are you doing?""Stealing your woman."(beat) "Take her."