Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this classic film's message is somewhat responsible (crime does indeed pay, but not without consequences), but parents should know this movie contains prostitutes, drinking and carousing and lots and lots of shooting.
What's the story?
Butch is the brains and Sundance the levelheaded sure-shot. Together, they've led the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang through so many bank and train robberies that it was just a matter of time before the law came riding hard after them. The gang splits, and for a while Butch and Sundance elude the tireless posse and hole up with Sundance's girl, Etta (Katharine Ross), to plan their next move. Butch decides the best option is for all three of them to head for Bolivia. They'll even go straight if they have to. Traveling with a woman will be good cover -- or so they think, until the posse reappears in South America, eager for blood.
Is it any good?
Just as the real outlaws they portray are said to have been, Paul Newman and Robert Redford are such a charismatic team that it's impossible to watch BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and not laugh with them, sympathize with them, even want to see them shoot their way out of trouble. What sort of example, parents might wonder, does that set for their children? Before answering, consider the talents of director George Roy Hill (who later reunited the two stars in The Sting) and screenwriter William Goldman, because they do something remarkable here. They construct a sublimely entertaining movie around the plight of two outlaws fleeing justice, but amidst the laughs and the clever exchanges lingers the scent of impending misfortune, an ever-present reminder that these men are criminals.
There's no outright moralizing -- Goldman is far too shrewd a writer for that -- but the message comes through, amidst a hail of gunfire, that crime is only glamorous up to a point. "Your times is over," they're told, "and you're gonna die bloody, and all you can do is choose where." The import of that statement is not lost on the viewer. Academy Awards went to Goldman for his outstanding screenplay, Conrad Hall for cinematography, and Burt Bacharach for his original score and the movie's theme song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head."
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the charisma of the outlaws: It's impossible to watch this movie and not laugh with them, sympathize with them, even want to see them shoot their way out of trouble? What sort of example, parents might wonder, does that set for their children? Is it ever okay to break the law if you can get away with it? What do you think of the crimes Butch and Sundance committed?