Parents' Guide to

The Wild Bunch

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Extremely violent '60s Western with drinking and sex.

Movie R 1969 145 minutes
The Wild Bunch Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 18+

A classic movie, but definitely not for kids!

The Wild Bunch (1969) was a very controversial film back in the day. It is extremely violent, so much so that it was rated X. Lot's of scenes of slow motion bloody action! There is a few nudity scenes as well. This is rated to be one of the best westerns, but probably one of the worst movies for a family. Recommended 18+

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.
age 18+


Violence on a scale that topped Sergio Leone's film. Only redeeming character in the film is Robert Ryan, who is the pursuing lawman in the story. This said, the end shootout scene is one of the biggest and intense shoot outs of any western ever. Has not been topped.

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7):
Kids say (1):

Watching this 145-minute movie may seem like the longest year of your life; although it was declared a masterpiece when first released, it was also critically reviled. One thing is certain: the violence is plentiful and, although less shocking today than when it came out, it will still both repel and mesmerize. Peckinpah said that he wanted audiences to feel the true horror of violence and to refute the sanitized movie clichés of the heroic Old West. But he made his point by abandoning artistic subtlety and hitting the audience over the head. The movie opens on a group of laughing children gleefully watching thousands of ants devour some unlucky scorpions. What kind of kids are these? Peckinpah's answer? "Ordinary children." The rest of the movie is his defense of that conclusion. More than two hours later, two murderous men laugh uncontrollably after surviving a massacre that killed their criminal friends, corrupt soldiers, and innocent women and children. So which of the many impulsive and violent groups here does the title reference? The sadistic children, the "wild" Federalis, or the "wild" railroad bounty hunters? Or is it the romanticized aging renegades? The term "wild" reverberates with too endearing a connotation. These groups are not "wild." They are bad to the bone.

The Wild Bunch was made soon after the release of the groundbreaking, violent Bonnie and Clyde, and at a time when news footage of the Vietnam War's carnage was broadcast into American living rooms every night. With its montages of slow-motion, closely-edited carnage, this movie elevated the ugliness of such violence into a paradoxical form of beauty, working against Peckinpah's attempt to display the true horror of violence. The overall effect raises enduring questions about whether exposure to movie and game violence fosters violence in real life. In any case, kids may be left wondering who among us are the ants and who are the scorpions.

Movie Details

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