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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid changed buddy movies & westerns for the better

Fifty years ago, Paul Newman and Robert Redford used their amazing chemistry and good looks to change the landscape of buddy action movies and westerns.
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Rewatching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 2019 is like watching the Citizen Kane of buddy action movies.

You can see its influence in Pineapple Express, Lethal Weapon and a slew of other movies. And although a lot of newer movies hit the same beats, Paul Newman and Robert Redford's amazing chemistry combined with an art-house western help propel this film to a classic all its own.

Directed by George Roy Hill, the film of course follows the legend behind Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as they battle the inevitably of being an outlaw on the run.

While it plays like a western film in terms of plot structure, it couldn't be further from a traditional John Wayne shoot-em-up. The long, lonely shots of the American frontier are still there and the gunfights are as chaotic as they are entertaining. 

But it's the music choices and editing that really makes this feel modern and breathtaking.

When you first hear "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" it almost feels out of place, but after a while you realize how great of a fit it truly is.

Newman's Butch Cassidy is a man who is larger than life, living his life off the myth of his own notoriety. He's a happy-go-lucky guy for most of the film, making for some fun banter between him and Redford.

And Redford's Sundance is one cool customer. Not only does it help that Redford is a beautiful man, but they let him simmer with just enough lines to deliver how serious Sundance is about being a bandit.

And once those performances are combined with the rest of the cast (which includes Katharine Ross), the cinematography, and great script it makes sense its lauded as one of the true great films of the 20th century.

It's been 50 years since its release, but Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is as timeless as the outlaws its based one.

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