Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid


Action / Biography / Drama / Western

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 56% · 57 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 82% · 5K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.2/10 10 21263 21.3K


Top cast

Bruce Dern as Deputy
James Coburn as Pat Garrett
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU 720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.05 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 57 min
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1.95 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 57 min
Seeds 37
1.03 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 2 min
Seeds 7
1.92 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 2 min
Seeds 36

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 8 / 10

a laconic, sometimes-great take on iconic Western figures

Sam Peckinpah really is not the full problem or liability with Pat Garret & Billy the Kid, though he's not totally innocent in what shortcomings come with the film. The story by Rudy Wurlizter provides a mix of extraordinary scenes and some all-too laid-back ones or scenes that don't feel like there is any real dramatic pull or total interest in the dialog. The other great scenes, which make up the most memorable bits of the film, provide Peckinpah with enough to put his distinctive visual style and subversive approach to character dynamics and conventions of the Western genre, but the parts end up becoming greater than the whole. The version I saw, the 2005 cut, doesn't seem like it would do any more or less better with fine tuning, and it does feel like a Peckinpah movie more often than not. The story is simple, and has been told more times than one could try to count unless in historical context of the genre: Billy the Kid is a murderous criminal out on the lam, and Pat Garret, the sheriff, is out to get him by hook or by crook. The twist that Peckinpah provides at the core is that it's not a completely intense thriller with a lot of chases, but more of a journey where the two men- who before becoming Dead-or-Alive Wanted-man and newly appointed Sheriff were sort of on friendly terms (as first scene shows well and clear)- are not in a big rush to meet their fates, even if the whole experience is starting to make things all the more embittered.

Pat Garret & Billy the Kid does provide, at the very least, some very great scenes throughout- some of the best I've seen in any Peckinpah film- and is a reminder of why the director was an important figure, and remains as such, in American cinema. Scenes like the river-side bit where Pat Garret shoots at the same bottle floating in the river as the guy with his family on the river-raft does; the astoundingly dead-pan shooting scene between Billy (Kris Kristofferson) and Alamosa (Jack Elam) where they sit down for a peaceful meal and go to it without much of a fuss in front of Alamosa's family; the scene with Garret getting the man to drink in the bar too much as Alias (Bob Dylan) reads off the products on the other side of the room in order to shoot him down; the scenes (in the 2005 cut that seem fairly important) showing Garret and his attitude towards women, either with his wife or with the prostitutes. It's a shame then that after the first twenty minutes or so, which includes that unforgettable shoot-out (one of the best in Peckinpah's Westerns) as Garret first corners Billy at the hide-out and drags him off to a not-quite jail before his escape, it then goes sort of up and down in full interest.

It's not that I wouldn't recommend Pat Garret & Billy the Kid, far from it, and especially for fans of the genre looking for a grim turn of the screws on one of those old-time mythic Western stories. The only main issue is that, in an odd way, the other side of the coin that Peckinpah and his writer are working with here- subversion- has the side of almost being too at ease with itself, of being too comfortable just rolling along. This might be in part due to the leads themselves; Coburn, to be sure, is a pro as always and is especially good in the almost anti-climax at the Fort, but Kristofferson is not very well-rounded, and comes off as being sort of all grins and smiles when he should be living up a little more to his reputation. It's so against-the-grain of the old-west that it comes close (though it doesn't, contrary to what Ebert said in his review) to being dull. Luckily, Peckinpah never lets it get too uninteresting, and there's always something to look forward to, like the touching, actually poetic final scene with Slim Pickens, and seeing the likes of Stanton, Elam and Robards in various roles.

Dylan, on the other hand, is sort of a double-edged sword here. The music that he provides for the film, which includes guitar segways, lyricism and some classic songs (with 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' just the right effect when used), is one of the very best things about the movie. But his presence as "Alias" is not as good. He seems to be there more for the sake of being in a Western, or a Peckinpah movie, and taking aside his shtick about feeling like he was a character here in a previous life or whatever, he's almost a non-entity, and alongside the seasoned character actors and old pros at doing this it doesn't feel quite right. This being said, he's not too much of a deterrent, and it's great having the music put to scenes that wouldn't be the same without it all. And, of course, it's Peckinpah all the way, with the men in a sort of damned state of affairs, knowing deep down that the chosen paths are not very easily traveled, and always surrounded by the most distinct, brutal and realistic violence possible. It's the kind of Western I probably wouldn't pass up if it came on TV and I had a good shot of whiskey, though it doesn't reach the level of practical perfection like the Wild Bunch.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

The divergent paths

Like the OK Corral gunfight and the saga of Jesse James, Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid has entered our national mythology and every generation is compelled to have it retold. James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson play the title roles in this epic western from Sam Peckinpah who curiously enough did not turn this into one of his violence ballets like The Wild Bunch.

No new facts are uncovered,no new ground is broken here. Former saddlemates Coburn and Kristofferson have parted. In the recent Lincoln County War they were together in the employ of John Chisum played here by Barry Sullivan fighting the Santa Fe Ring. That war is over, for cinematic reference see Chisum and the first Young Guns movie. But Billy won't leave his outlaw ways.

Just like soldiers in a war and remember this was the Lincoln County War as the state saw it and the locals called it, when peace breaks out soldiers who've learned violent ways as mercenaries now have those skills and little else. So one either goes into law enforcement or outlawry.

Which are the divergent paths that these former friends have taken. Coburn has now the duty to bring in his former saddle pal however, a mandate that comes from Lew Wallace the Territorial Governor of New Mexico and author of Ben-Hur played here by Jason Robards, Jr. It doesn't look good for Kristofferson as a lot of hands are raised against him now.

One of my favorite lines from film comes from a John Wayne western Tall In The Saddle where Gabby Hayes says he's all for law and order 'depending on who's dishing it out'. I think there is so much truth to that. In fact it could be Billy The Kid's creed in this film.

Sam Peckinpah did a wonderful job in telling this tale once again for the big screen. Also nice to see such stalwart western faces as Chill Wills and Jack Elam. And R.G. Armstrong is wonderful as the self righteous deputy sheriff who Kristofferson blasts into the next world.

For western fans an absolute must.

Reviewed by MartinHafer 6 / 10

Slow...dirty...and bloody.

This movie begins with a very cruel opening scene. For kicks, Billy the Kid, his friends and Pat Garrett are shooting the heads off chickens. Unfortunately, it appears as if the scene is 100% real. Now the blood and headless chickens didn't sicken me, but killing any animal for entertainment's sake seems sick--and is one of the few cases where I'd agree with the PETA folks. At least in other Sam Peckinhaph films where you see killing, it's all fake and it involves people who have a choice in the matter.

"Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid" is a revisionist film. Instead of all the old clichés of westerns, it keeps a few and introduces some new ones. In some ways it appears more realistic than earlier westerns, but to a retired history teacher like me, it's still a real mess. First for the good. Most of the folks in this film DON'T wear cowboy hats, they are often pretty filthy and some of the killing is far from glorious--such as shooting your enemy in the back. You certainly didn't see this in Roy Rogers' films and it's nice to see SOME attempt at realism. Now for the bad. Although the film looks more like the real West, it promotes a stupid stereotype of the bandit as a hero. The real-life Billy the Kid was a pretty ugly guy (based on the one surviving picture of him) and a murderer. He was NOT a hero of the people who fought against the evil cattle barons--he was just a cheap hood. But, here in "Pat Garrett...", he's handsome Kris Kristofferson and he is a force of good in a West filled with evil. He murders, but the men are enemies of the people and rapists. Instead, the lawman Pat Garrett is the nasty bully--the creep given a gun and told to kill for corporate America. If you think about it, this is a western for the Occupy Wall Street folks...but not history teachers!

Apart from all the inaccuracy, is it a good film? Maybe. It all depends on what you are looking for in a film. If you want the usual Peckinpah slow-motion violence with lots of unrealistic blood, swearing and occasional nudity, then you'll probably like the film very much. If this sort of stuff turns you off, then the film may be tough going--even with some nice performances. As for me, I found it all to be slow...very slow. And, since I'm not particularly a Peckinpah fan, I felt like it was a decent time-passer and nothing more.

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