Much has been written about the revolutionary filmmaking of the late 1960s...but Stratton...has added a crucial piece of the puzzle with this 50th-anniversary history ... Stratton paints a wonderfully full portrait of director Sam Peckinpah and his quest for a more realistic depiction of violence at a time when the brutality of the Vietnam War was increasingly penetrating American living rooms ... This engaging, well-researched book belongs in every library and in the hands of every student of cinema.
... detailed and passionately argued ... Stratton collects the kinds of elements required for a lively movie backstory: a talented if irascible director, quirky cast and crew members, a difficult location shoot and a controversial reception by moviegoers and critics. Best of all, he recounts how an idea becomes a film and the creative, economic and fate-driven roadblocks it faces ... Stratton's most interesting perspective comes in recounting how Mexican culture influenced the look, sound and feel of The Wild Bunch.
Stratton does a fine job of putting the film in its historical context—even a handful of years earlier, the movie would probably never have been made—and in exploring the many facets of Peckinpah, a no-nonsense director who always knew what he wanted but was, almost paradoxically, unafraid of letting inspiration and serendipity guide his hand. The book is a valuable addition to the literature of American film history and will be greeted by Wild Bunch devotees with adoration.
Stratton’s chronicle of 'The Wild Bunch' is a fascinating and detailed history of the making of an iconic movie that portrayed the West in a fashion far different from previous Westerns while still maintaining their natural artistic progression ... Stratton’s account is mesmerizing. Countless details of the movie industry and 'The Wild Bunch' are included in the fascinating history he presents ... The Wild Bunch is essential reading for film buffs everywhere.
The process of making a great film is often as fascinating as the film itself, a point amply illustrated by Stratton ... Stratton’s thorough research yields a fascinating perspective on how Peckinpah created a western of unparalleled realism and intensity.