YMMV: The Wild Bunch

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • I have always had a thought that Dutch (Ernest Borgnine) was gay and in love with Pike. Notice the scene towards the end where the rest of the Bunch is in the brothel. Where is Dutch? Outside, whittling. That always made me think of what whittling might be a metaphor of masturbation. Notice also how Dutch almost always supports Pike in front of the rest of the group, the only notable exception is the "he gave his word", "To a railroad" scene. I think he tries to cover it with his dancing with the woman from Angel's village. Then at the climax, notice how he keeps repeating Pike's name when Pike has been shot while at the gatling gun. I'll freely admit it might take some "interpretation" and it doesn't take away from one darn fine movie. Just something to think about the next time you watch it.
    • While the Mexican Federals under Mapache are portrayed as corrupt and antagonists, take another look at just who the gang is gunning down, and then being gunned down by, in the final battle. It's not just soldiers, thugs, and officials, but normal townspeople including women and children. From the Mexican's perspective, Mapache is a generous warlord who's brought impoverished people expensive imports and is protecting them from the rebels. Rewatching the final gunfight now looks like a town trying to come together and fight back against a pack of foreign criminals after their lead official is shot down right in front of them.
  • Funny Moments:
    "You was matching whores, in tandem!"
    "What's that mean?"
    "That's one behind the other."
    "Yup, that what we was doing!"
  • Tear Jerker: After the final shootout is over, Thornton and his band of bounty hunters come across the wreckage. As his subordinates are gleefully looting the dead, Thornton stops in his tracks when he comes across Pike's body. The camera zooms in on the six-shooter Pike has holstered which Thornton picks up. The look on his face while he's cradling it is just heartwrenching.
  • What Could Have Been: Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, James Stewart, Richard Boone, Sterling Hayden, Lee Marvin, Gregory Peck, and Charlton Heston were all considered for the role of Pike before William Holden was finally cast. Heston had previously starred in Peckinpah's Major Dundee as the lead character, and after that very Troubled Production Heston apparently decided that working with Peckinpah once was enough. Marvin was Peckinpah's choice, but turned the role down because of its similarities to The Professionals.