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Trivia / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

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  • Breakaway Pop Hit: "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan.
  • Creator Backlash: According to Kris Kristofferson, Sam Peckinpah was so angry at MGM's re-edit of the film, that he actually urinated on the screen.
  • Dawson Casting: Kris Kristofferson was 36 when he played Billy the Kid, who lived to be 21. It should be noted that James Coburn was older than Pat Garrett lived to be.
  • Deleted Scene: The film was heavily cut in its original theatrical release. TV airings of the movie through The '70s and The '80s (prior to the release of the Preview Cut) trimmed more explicit scenes of sex and violence, but often included incidental scenes (for instance, Dub Taylor and Elisha Cook Jr.'s cameos as aged prospectors) deleted from the original version to compensate.
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  • Executive Meddling: MGM took the film away from Peckinpah and severely cut it down.
  • Name's the Same: The Sheriff is named Colin Baker. No, not that one.
  • Romance on the Set: Kris Kristofferson fell in love with on-screen love interest Rita Coolidge and the two were married shortly after filming.
  • Troubled Production: The movie filmed almost entirely on location in Durango, Mexico. Dust storms, hot weather and defective cameras delayed shooting from the start. Much of the cast and crew came down with influenza. Peckinpah's severe alcohol problems created tensions with coworkers. In this case though, Executive Meddling proved the most persistent issue: penny-pinching MGM honcho James Aubrey repeatedly slashed the budget and refused to sanction re-shoots for several key scenes. After which the movie was cut from 124 minutes to 106 minutes, smuggled quietly into theaters and flopped. The film sunk into ignominy (aside from its Bob Dylan soundtrack) until the preview cut resurfaced in TheNineties.
  • What Could Have Been:
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