The Wild Bunch is a classic 1969 Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and Robert Ryan. It was quite controversial because of its violence.
Pike Bishop (Holden) is the leader of a gang of aging outlaws in the Twilight of the Old West. At the beginning of the film, they rob a railroad office (the page quote is uttered here). However, Pike's former partner Deke Thornton (Ryan) has been deputized to capture him, and his posse of bounty hunters ambushes the gang in a bloody shootout. The surviving members of the gang—Pike, Dutch Engstrom (Borgnine), the Gorch brothers Lyle (Warren Oates) and Tector (Ben Johnson), and Angel (Jaime Sánchez)—escape to Mexico, where they join up with old-timer Freddie Sykes (Edmond O'Brien) and accept a deal to procure guns for the corrupt General Mapache (Emilio Fernández), whose men are fighting off Pancho Villa's revolutionary forces. Meanwhile, Deke, who still admires Pike but has been given an ultimatum to either capture (or kill) the gang or go to prison, follows them. Things end up getting violent.
Shockingly violent, gorgeously photographed, brutally cynical, The Wild Bunch is perhaps the ultimate deconstruction of The Western, and a true classic of 20th-century filmmaking. Did we mention that it's pretty violent too?
The Wild Bunch contains examples of:
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several, most notably the campfire conversation between Pike and Dutch early in the film.
- Adrenaline Time: This film pioneered its use.
- Alas, Poor Villain: The Bunch is this in the end, particularly Pike.
- All for Nothing: Having escaped the opening shoot-out the bunch inspects their loot - only to find out it's nothing but steel washers, as part of an ambush. So, they shot their way out of town and got several people killed for nothing.
- Ambiguous Time Period: It's set sometime during the Mexican Revolution, but the film doesn't specify an exact year, and there's a bit of Artistic License – History in the timing of the events. While General Victoriano Huerta, the dictator of Mexico from 1913-1914, is established as ruling the country, characters also reference World War I and General Pershing massing American troops along the Mexican border,note which would indicate a later setting of 1916-1917.
- Ambiguously Gay: Dutch, in a long-standing and well-supported Alternate Character Interpretation. Coffer and TC too, but in their case it was explicitly decided on set to make this the case.
- Animal Motifs: According to writer Walon Green, Pike is named after a type of fish, while Mapache means racoon in Spanish.
- None of the Bunch are what you would call heroes, but we root for them because Mapache is worse in every conceivable fashion.
- In particular Pike, who at times even moves toward Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. The film opens with Pike not figuring out that he was being set-up to get ambushed in his latest bank hit. He has a tendency to be selfish and a bit cowardly in sticky situations (like when Deke got arrested), and his efforts to assert some sort of code among his gang often end up becoming "do as I say, not as I do" moments. The ending in a lot of ways is Pike finally living up to his own standards, even if he knows it could cost him his life.
- Anti-Villain: Similarly, Thornton is more overtly sympathetic than the Bunch, despite being the nominal antagonist. He's hunting down his old friends and is really no better than them morally, but is admirable because of his determination and intelligence.
- The Atoner: Deke Thornton is trying to make up for his days as a bandit by hunting Pike, his former friend. He does so reluctantly but relentlessly. Pike, Dutch and to a lesser extent the Gorch brothers try to atone for decades of brutality and callousness with their attempted rescue of Angel.
- Ax-Crazy: Sykes's grandson Crazy Lee doesn't make the best impression for the few minutes that he's alive.
- Bandito: On the villain side, we have Mapache, the primary villain and his army of bandits. On the (anti-)heroic side, we have Angel, one of the Bunch.
- Bank Robbery: The film opens with one that goes disastrously wrong.
- Bash Brothers
- Big Bad: General Mapache.
- Bittersweet Ending: Mapache murders Angel when the Bunch come to rescue him, and the Bunch avenge him but are eventually overwhelmed in the massive shootout that follows. Deke is free of his debt to the railroad, but overcome with grief for the death of Pike. He finds a measure of redemption and salvation in joining Villa's men alongside Sykes. As the old man himself puts it, "It ain't like it used to be, but... It'll do." It might also qualify as a Downer Ending.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: The early 20th century is filled with ruthless bandits, vengeance-crazed railroad officers who would happily let a town be massacred and bloodthirsty warlords. Thornton, one of the better characters ethically, leads a gang of psychotic bounty hunters who don't particularly care who they kill so long as they kill someone.
- Black Dude Dies First: Well, Mexican dude. Angel is the first of the bunch to die at the climax.
- Blast Out: The ending. A literal Mexican Stand Off between The Bunch and The Mexican Army ends with everybody (women, children, livestock, etc.) getting killed in a hail of bullets, complete with a heavy machine gun blazing.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Than most Westerns, being a Revisionist Western, and in fact than most films period in 1969. There's a reason this film was so controversial when it came out, and even today, it's still quite shocking how gruesome it really is.
- Bloodless Carnage: Averted hard. Peckinpah made the film so bloody in reaction to this, stating that he wanted to show "what the hell it was like for someone to get shot."
- Bookends: The film starts and ends with shoot outs, and Deke Thornton watches both from above.
- Bounty Hunter: The gang is pursued by bounty hunters led by Deke Thornton, one of their former members.
- Butt-Monkey: Angel. The poor guy is put through so much hell and never gets revenge on General Mapache.
- Catchphrase: Pike's is "Let's go."
- Central Theme: The Power of Friendship, Teeth-Clenched Teamwork and Undying Loyalty.
- Children Are Innocent: Averted. Children are shown to be among the most violent characters in the film, and in a Peckinpah film that's impressive. A child smiles as he watches the Mexican Army (which his father is the general of) get massacred by rebels, and later lands the killing shot on Pike, still smiling. In the first 25 minutes, a group of children are shown torturing scorpions (who only LOOK scary) by trapping them and coating them with fire ants, and later setting the cage ON FIRE, and, after the massacre in town, run around pretending to shoot the corpses, yelling "Bang! Bang!" in a way that will make anyone feel chills.
- Chromosome Casting: Nearly the entire cast, and all of the principal characters, are male.
- Cigar-Fuse Lighting: Pike uses his cigar to light the fuse on a stick of dynamite when threatening the general.
- Conscience Makes You Go Back: The remaining bandits fail to save Angel from Mapache and are now getting ready to leave with their money. However, they realize that their conscience won't allow them to let the warlord get away with murdering their friend like this and their go back for a final Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Cool Guns:
- Almost the whole gang uses Winchester Model 1897s at one point or another.
- The American and Mexican soldiers along Coffer use M1903 Springfields. Among the Mexican soldiers it was presumably a stand-in for Mexican Mausers, as in 1913 the United States wasn't exporting the M1903 to anybody.
- A Browning M1917 is put to good use during the climax.
- Cool Old Guy: Freddie Sykes.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Angel's reaction to seeing his girlfriend with Mapache is to shoot her dead.
- Credits Gag: The opening credits use a freeze frame device where the film stops and the frame is given a sketch effect along with the various credits. At the end, very famously, after Pike says "If they move, kill 'em!", it freezes and the "Directed by Sam Peckinpah" credit pops up, seemingly implying it's some sort of credo for Peckinpah. That line has even been used as the title of a Peckinpah biography.
- Deconstruction: Of The Western. John Wayne even complained "Peckinpah destroyed the Western."
- Defiant to the End: Crazy Lee, left behind after the bank robbery, is shot by bounty hunters. He still manages to take out three of them before Harrigan puts him down.
- Determinator: Deke. He's Surrounded by Idiots and the Bunch luck out on a couple of occasions, but he still never gives up and manages to track them down in Mexico, even after getting caught on a dynamited bridge. Pike even notes a couple of times that this is Deke's signature trait.
- Disposable Woman: Angel is so distraught at seeing his girlfriend with Mapache that he shoots her. This prompts everyone to burst out laughing. Subverted when the girl's mother informs on Angel.
- Dry Crusader: At the beginning, a preacher is delivering an anti-alcohol sermon during a temperance rally just before its participants get caught in the crossfire during a bank robbery. A lot of them get mowed down.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: If the Wild Bunch is gonna go out, they're gonna go out fighting. And by God, they do.
- Easily Forgiven: Sykes is quite chummy with Thornton when he comes back at the end of the film despite the fact that Thornton has been chasing them throughout the film, then again all of Syke's friends were mowed down in an epic gunfight, so he was probably happy to see a friendly face again.
- End of an Age: This movie is set in the twilight of the Wild West era.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Dramatic version. First Sykes and Deke laugh then a montage is shown of the now dead gang laughing.
- Everyone Has Standards: A major theme of the movie: the Bunch thinks their self-professed (though often violated) honor code separates them from the bounty hunters and Mapache's troops. When Pike laughingly compares Mapache to the Bunch, Dutch violently objects: "We ain't nothing like him. We don't hang nobody."
- Evil Versus Evil: One one end, we have the Bunch, which have the Villain Protagonist badge proudly on display. On the other end there is Mapache and his goons, which are a bunch of fascistic psychopaths. The bounty hunter posse are a Deliberately Bad Example in comparison to the Bunch, unprofessional, corpse-robbing, and utterly stupid on top of being trigger-happy and under the employ of a Corrupt Corporate Executive that wants the Bunch dead at any cost and only gives a damn about collateral damage in terms of how much he's going to have to pay to make the bother go away.
- Expy: A couple of the characters are modeled on characters from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Freddie Sykes was based on Walter Huston's eccentric old prospector, and Lt. Herrera is a variation on Gold Hat (even down to also being played by an actor named Alfonso, in this case future director Alfonso Arau).
- Face Death with Dignity: Pike seems to choose this for him and his crew, gunning down an entire Mexican army with him.
- Faux Affably Evil:
- Lt. Herrera leads the regiment that Mapache sends out to confront the Bunch when they return to Mexico with the guns, and puts on a whole "we're your friends, we mean no harm" act, but Pike sees right through it and successfully intimidates him into retreating.
- Mapache himself tries to come across as Affably Evil sometimes, but he's just too Obviously Evil.
- Foreshadowing: Lots and lots of it, if you know where to look
- Gatling Good: A Browning machine gun is used by the gang in the final battle, with 3 different members manning it, and the last one to use it the longest.
- The Generalissimo: Mapache's troops use this very word to describe him, and he certainly dresses and acts the part, though he's more of a small time warlord who's fighting for the losing side in his war.
- Genre Deconstruction The whole film can be seen as Peckinpah as engaging in specific Deconstruction of John Ford's mythic, epic version of The Western. Many of the landscape shots are very Fordian, and the use of music and festive scenes in-between the dramatic scenes was a favorite Ford touch. Several of the cast members (William Holden, Edmond O'Brien, Ben Johnson, Strother Martin) had been in Ford's films as well. But the violence and nihilism are in stark contrast to Ford. Peckinpah himself felt that Ford's Westerns were flawed, with too much sentimentalism, and championed George Stevens as the preeminent Western director.
- Get It Over With: When the Bunch are riding away after a massively cocked-up holdup, and Buck (who was shot in the face) pleads with Pike to "Please...just ki—" (Pike shoots him before he even says it.) Which cues the following exchange:Pike: You boys want to move on or stay here and give him a... decent burial?Pike: He's dead! And he's got a lot of good men back there to keep him company!Lyle: Too damn many!Dutch: [removes his hat] I think the boys are right. I'd like to say a few words for the dear, dead departed. And maybe a few hymns'd be in order. Followed by a church supper. With a choir!Lyle: You crazy bastards! Both of ya!
- Gorn: This was one of the most violent films at the time it was made, though it's rather tame by today's standards, roughly on the level of your average R-rated action film. There is frequent bloodshed in the film, and the violence itself is quite realistic. Sam Peckinpah once actually said that, when he made this movie, he wanted to show audiences "what it actually looks like when somebody gets shot."
- Heel–Face Turn: Deke Thornton, an ex-member of the Wild Bunch, has made it his mission to track down and turn over his old friends for the reward so that he can avoid being sent back to Yuma.
- A Hero to His Hometown: Mapache, surprisingly enough. During the raid on the train station he's shown to be heroic under fire, earning the admiration of a messenger boy. He even gets a Pet the Dog moment shortly thereafter, brooding over his wounded men. This stands in stark contrast to his scenes with the Bunch, where he acts like a debauched maniac. When the Bunch go on their climactic rampage, many civilians take up arms alongside Mapache's soldiers.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Pike and Dutch, although some critics have read their relationship as actual unrequited love on Dutch's part. The bounty hunters Coffer and T.C., on the other hand, have entirely deliberate sexual tension to their relationship, suggested by the actors and agreed to by Peckinpah.
- Honor Among Thieves: The Bunch are hardened criminals with few scruples but in the end decide that they are tired of being treated as if they have no honor and take bloody revenge for the murder of their friend though it gets them all killed.
- I Gave My Word: Deconstructed; when the gang is attacked by Deke Thornton's men, Pike defends Thornton, saying that he gave his word (to the railroad company that hired him). One of the gang members, Dutch angrily says that isn't what counts; what counts is who you give it to. Pike has this memorable quote:"We're gonna stick together, just like it used to be. When you side with a man, you stay with him. And if you can't do that, you're like some animal! You're finished! We're finished! All of us!"
- Improperly Placed Firearms:
- The film takes place in 1914, yet Coffer's Springfield M1903A3 rifle is of the World War II variant.
- The Browning M1917 machine gun was manufactured after the film's setting.
- In the Back: During the final shoot-out, a woman shoots Pike in the back. He promptly returns the favour.
- Ironic Echo/Meaningful Echo: "Come on, you lazy bastard!" "I'm coming, damnit".
- The last one is, at the same time, really funny and at the same time heartbreaking.
- Jitter Cam: Arguably the Trope Codifier - see the bank shootout scene and the final massacre scene.
- Karma Houdini: Mr. Harrigan, the Jerkass railroad baron who is indirectly responsible for the massacre at the beginning and yet shows no remorse for all the innocent people killed, more concerned with catching the Bunch. Amazingly, in a film with a body count in double digits, he's not amongst it.note
- Kick the Dog: After handing over Angel to Mapache in a tearjerking scene, the next time the Wild Bunch visit Mapache's village, Mapache is using his car to drag the poor guy around in a despicable bit of Cold-Blooded Torture.
- Kids Are Cruel: The children at the beginning of the film laugh gaily as they watch a scorpion tormented by fire ants. Then they set the whole group of creatures on fire(!) and continue to appear to by highly entertained.
- This is actually a recurring element in the movie; while Angel is being dragged by the car, some children point and laugh at him, gleefully enjoying the whole thing, and one of them even pretends to be riding him. And in the final shootout, Pike is shot by one. This is possibly symbolic of the film's Twilight of the Old West theme - the next generation is growing up to be just as ruthless as the bunch, but without any semblance of morals, and liking it all.
- Killed Offscreen: The bounty hunters are killed this way by the desert tribe via offscreen gunshots. This was supposed to be depicted, but it was decided that this would be better.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- The bounty hunters that Deke is stuck with end up being killed by the rebels when they ride off to collect their money. This after they'd shown themselves to be extremely psychopathic and trigger happy, not caring who they shot as long as they killed someone (even US Army soldiers) and continually looting the dead.
- Angel. He angrily guns down his old girlfriend Teresa after she tells him that she wants to stay with Mapache. Later, Teresa's mother tells Mapache about Angel's plan to divert a case of the stolen guns to his villagers, which leads to Mapache capturing and torturing Angel.
- The Last Dance: The Bunch are facing the end of their lifestyle. The old Wild West is ending and most of their gang were killed at the beginning of the movie. They are reduced to doing mercenary work for a corrupt and decadent Mexican general and a group of vicious bounty hunters is after them. Instead of running and hiding they decide to go back and rescue their friend who the general is about to execute for arming the local peasant. They know that by doing that, they will be facing the entire Mexican garrison and as such decide to go out fighting...
- Last Stand: The film climaxes with the Bunch facing off against what seems to be the entire Mexican army.
- Leave No Man Behind: Averted at first when Crazy Lee is told to guard the prisoners while the rest of the gang slip away. Pike has a My God, What Have I Done? on being told Lee was actually Freddie Sykes' grandson. This likely has something to do with why he refuses to leave Angel behind later.
- Meaningful Name: Writer Walon Green explained the meaning behind the names of certain characters:Pike was a name I always wanted to use, it's a kind of carnivorous fish and it suggested someone who is tough and predatory...Mapache means raccoon in Spanish, and it seemed to me something a peasant risen to a general might call himself.
- Mercy Kill: After the failed bank robbery, one mortally wounded gang member asks Pike to kill him. Pike does so before he could even finish the sentence.
- Moral Myopia: Angel is angry that the bunch are working for Mapache, who attacked his village and his people, though he didn't care about the carnage at the start of the film because they weren't his people. Sykes calls him out on this.
- More Dakka: Set in 1913 the characters have access to more than the 6 shooters and lever action Winchesters seen in most westerns. After robbing a Federal armory the Wild Bunch is equipped with Colt M1911 handguns, M1903 Springfield rifles and Winchester Model 1897 shotguns. At the end of the film an M1917 machine gun makes an extended appearance (though technically an anachronism for 1913), and is the largest contributor to the shootout's massive bodycount.
- And yet the Browning M1917 is only a stand-in - at the time, there was another Browning air-cooled belt-fed, the M1895. It's just a lot harder to come by...but a Browning machine gun in the hands of the Wild Bunch is believable. More Dakka indeed!
- Multiple Gunshot Death: At Agua Verde, after Mapache executes their friend Angel right in front of them, Pike's gang responds by gunning down the general on the spot, alongside with his German military advisors. A bloody gunfight ensues between Pike's gang and the Agua Verde garrison, made even more destructive by the Gatling gun emplacement inside the compound that the outlaws use to cut down Mapache's men. They are eventually overwhelmed by sheer numbers and gunned dead by the soldiers.
- Never Going Back to Prison: The reason Deke Thornton is hunting his former gangmembers.
- New Old West: The driving force of the plot. The film is set on the eve of World War I and the border unrest between the United States and Mexico that went on during that time.
- Offscreen Karma: The bounty hunter posse that Thornton leads, full of trigger-happy idiots that loot the dead and don't care about collateral damage (other than how it may cut into their reward payment) all ride off into the sunset without Thornton after they get their hands on the corpses of the Bunch... and next scene is Sykes arriving to the villa, saying that he saw the posse run into some rebels and get massacred.
- Oh, Crap!: A priceless look on Sgt. McHale's face when he realizes that the abandoned train engine's going to hit the train his men are on.
- One Last Job: The opening heist is supposed to be one. Since it's the first scene in the movie, you can guess how well that turns out. Pike also intends the train job to be this.
- Pet the Dog: Pretty much Mapache's only sympathetic moment shows him visibly concerned by his soldiers wounded in the fighting with Villa. This implies he's a Father to His Men, at least some of the time.
- Power Walk: Before the final battle, the outlaws decide to rescue Angel, walking through a Mexican village they will shortly massacre. Fun fact: It wasn't in the script at all, Peckinpah just decided he wanted to do it. It's recognised today as one of the movie's most iconic scenes.
- Price on Their Head: The combined bounty for the bunch is $4,500 ($1,500 for Pike and $1,000 each for Dutch and the Gorch brothers). Sykes is only worth $300.
- Psycho Party Member: Crazy Lee is unhinged enough to lick the neck of the sole woman of the hostage group at the opening heist and force them to march around the office they are being held in before unloading his shotgun unto them when they try to run (even saying that they shouldn't have in an "aw, shucks" tone of voice as he reloads). The rest of the Bunch not only do not do Leave No Man Behind, but very much do not give a damn about him (and the fact that Thornton's posse killed him).
- Railroad Baron: Mr. Harrigan hired Deke Thornton. He's worse (somehow) than the eponymous Bunch themselves.
- Rated M for Manly: The whole movie. For its time, it was an extremely violent film.
- Reality Has No Subtitles: None of the Spanish is subtitled, and there's a lot of Spanish spoken once they get to Mexico. A lot of it is basic enough that most people who aren't fluent in Spanish can pick it up, but there are many other Bilingual Bonuses, like Teresa telling Angel that she's happy now since she became Mapache's mistress, dropping in a Precision F-Strike in the process.
- Re-Cut: The Director's Cut was released in 1995 running at 145 minutes. New additions to the film:
- The flashback showing how Thornton was captured.
- The flashback showing how Pike's lover, Aurora, was killed and he himself wounded.
- The scene in the desert that establishes Crazy Lee is Sykes's grandson and that Pike deliberately abandoned him in the opening robbery.
- The raid by Villa on Mapache as he awaits the telegram.
- The aftermath of Villa's raid in Agua Verde.
- About a minute's worth of the festivities at night in Angel's village.
- Retired Badass Round Up: The film focuses on a group of aging outlaws coming together for one last job during the Twilight of the Old West.
- Robbing the Dead: When the dust from the opening shoot-out settles, Coffer, T.C. and the other bounty hunters emerge out of hiding and take anything valuable that the corpses may have had on them, including gold teeth. This is the first indication that this Western is Darker and Edgier.
- Rule of Symbolism: The opening shot involves a bunch of kids tormenting a bunch of scorpions that are being eaten by ants, signifying the deaths of the much more dangerous bunch eventually being killed by a Zerg Rush of Mapache's followers.
- Run for the Border:
- The gang heads to Mexico after the bank robbery goes to hell and ends up getting involved in Pancho Villa's war for independence.
- Then, once Deke and his men catch up with them, Dutch uses this exact phrase to suggest they head back up to the United States, before Pike rejects the idea.
- Screaming Shooter: The Gorch brothers (especially Lyle) scream their lungs out while manning the machine gun in the climactic shootout.
- Multiple scenes attempted in Major Dundee, including slow-motion action sequences, characters leaving a village as if in a funeral procession and the use of inexperienced locals as extras, would become fully realized here.
- Peckinpah's work on Villa Rides influenced the second half of the story greatly, specifically the Mexican revolutionaries and their need for U.S. guns and ammunition.
- The Seven Western Plots: A Deconstructed outlaw story, starring a gang of aging outlaws in the Twilight of the Old West getting caught up in the Mexican Revolution.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: The bunch tend to favour pump-action shotguns as opposed to hunting rifles.
- Shout-Out: Several to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, especially the character of Sykes and the raucuous laughter at the film's end; the opening scene provides some dark references to My Darling Clementine (where Pike helps an old lady across the street, and the temperance union singing "Shall We Gather at the River?"); also, where Mapache's army surrounds the Bunch after the train robbery, resembling a scene from Robert Aldrich's Vera Cruz.
- Shouting Shooter: Lyle Gorch lets the bullets and the war-cries rip at the climax.
- Slashed Throat: Angel is killed quite graphically this way immediately before the final shootout of the movie.
- Slow Motion: The final gunfight. Sam Peckinpah loved this trope.
- Sociopathic Hero: The whole cast.
- Stock Scream: There's a Wilhelm scream in the opening scene, when one of the Bunch takes a shotgun blast to the face.
- Suicide Mission: Pike intends for the Wild Bunch's rescue of Angel to be this.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Deke Thornton is not happy with the bounty hunters he's been given to assist in tracking the Bunch, calling them "egg-sucking, chicken stealing gutter trash". He gets so annoyed with their incompetence that he threatens to abandon them if they make one more screw up. Or laments them getting killed.
- Take That!: To one of the film's own actors! Robert Ryan's incessant complaints about not receiving top billing so annoyed Peckinpah that he decided to "punish" Ryan. In the opening credits, after freezing the screen on closeups of William Holden's and Ernest Borgnine's faces while listing them, Peckinpah froze the scene on several horses' rear ends as Ryan was listed.
- Token Minority: Angel is the only non-white member of the Bunch.
- Total Party Kill: The film almost begins with one as most of the bandits are killed when they try to rob a bank and instead ride right into a trap. The survivors flee to Mexico where they end up taking on entire army garrison fully aware that they will probably not make it out alive. They don't. The bounty hunters chasing them are so thrilled to grab the bodies for the bounties that they ride right into a rebel ambush and are wiped out.
- Train Job: German agents and Mexican banditos want Pike's gang to hijack a shipment of rifles being sent to the United States.
- Twilight of the Old West: As stated in the movie's tag line at the top of the page, the Wild West is all but over and the titular characters have outlived their time.
- Tuckerization: Walon Green named Coffer after his friend, the stuntman Jack Coffer who was killed. "Jack was a real inspiration to me for the kind of guys who are really wild and crazy".
- Ungrateful Bastard: Angel comes to Dutch's aid during the train job. Not only does Dutch not thank him for this, but he's (reluctantly) forced to abandon him to Mapache when he discovers that the Bunch are ripping him off.
- Villain Ball: General Mapache could have just let the Bunch have Angel and send them on their way. Instead, he kills him, which kicks off the final shoot-out.
- Violence Is Disturbing: In sharp contrast with the Bloodless Carnage of other Westerns of the time, this film is not shy about showing how ugly and disturbing violence really is. Women and children are not spared, heads are shown bursting open like ripe watermelons when being hit by stray projectiles (this came out in 1969, remember) and there is no nobility in bloodshed.
- We Used to Be Friends: Pike Bishop and Deke Thornton used to ride together before the latter was captured and became a bounty hunter to avoid going back to prison. Notably, during the opening shoot-out, both men have a chance to kill each other but deliberately avoid doing so. It's clear that Deke laments his position and still holds Pike in great regard. He's clearly saddened by his death.
- Wham Line: Mapache saying "He stole it", about Angel, after Dutch claims that they lost the missing case of guns on the trail. It's important because it shows Mapache knows exactly what the Bunch has been up to, and that he knows they lied to him, which seemingly makes them marked men now. Also, it seals Angel's fate.
- What a Drag: Mapache and his people torture Angel this way in a truly despicable Kick the Dog moment.
- Would Hit a Girl: Angel guns down an ex-girlfriend on their first meeting with Mapache, and during the final battle, Pike is shot in the back by a Mexican prostitute. He shouts "Bitch!" and shoots her in the chest.
- Wretched Hive: Agua Verde.
- Your Mom:Lyle: Hey, Angel; do you have a sister?Angel: [angrily] Si!Lyle: [very politely] I'd be pleased to make her acquaintance. And that of your mama too!Tector: [laughing] And the same goes for your grandma, too Sonny!