Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was released in New York on September 24, 1969. The film received mostly negative reviews but became a success throughout the public. Eventually the National Film Preservation Board deemed the film culturally and artistically significant and it’s central themes and heros resonated with the youth movement of the time. The importance of the movie is what it came to represent to the people who saw it. While the director, George Roy Hill used the chase of the main characters to add more action and fiction to the historical aspects of the film, the symbolic line behind the pursuit of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid by the superhuman posse is the timeless struggle between rebellion and authority.
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This mirrored the drastic action that was seen in rebellions like the civil rights movement and the Vietnam protest. Butch and Sundance are the rebels that remind audiences that change comes to those who do something.
The superhuman posse that tirelessly chases after Cassidy and Sundance represents the authorities. When audiences went to go see this film, the younger generation viewed Joe Lafores, E. H. Harriman and his superhuman posse as a symbol of the authority of another generation. Cassidy’s statement that Harriman “probably inherited every penny he got” resonated with the generation who questioned inheritance and wealth as justification for authority (Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid n.p.). Even though Goldman stated that he did not intend to make the movie an allegory to the counterculture of the 1960s, “many young people saw the superposse as a metaphor for the government/authority during the years of anti-war protests” (Nixon n.p.). They identified with the youth and rebellion of Butch and Sundance and they saw the superhuman posse as a bunch of faceless lawmen trying to put an end to the reign of the bandit rebels. The individuals chasing Butch and Sundance are always there, always on their tail, and always about to catch up with them, just like the authorities were always out to get the protesters and activists. As stated in the comedic line “who are those guys?” the audience never really knows who the superhuman posse is
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