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Dante's Pick: Director Joe Dante Selects His 13 Favourite Films
Ian Schultz , September 16th, 2016 08:40

To coincide with the release of his cult classic Matinee on Blu-Ray, the director of Gremlins, The Burbs and Explorers, Joe Dante, picks a Baker's Dozen of his favourite films for The Quietus


The Wild Bunch (San Peckinpah, 1969)

The Wild Bunch is, again, a movie that was the beginning of the end for Westerns. It was a summing up by Sam Peckinpah of a lot of themes and concerns that he had had throughout earlier pictures, but had never been put up on the screen in quite that way. And of course it was considered extremely violent film for its time. It was. I saw it at a Warner Brothers junket in the Bahamas, where their whole slate for 1969 was unveiled to the critics and the celebrities. Almost every single one of those pictures was a huge financial disaster, and The Wild Bunch was no exception, but it did stir an amazing amount of controversy because of its violence and the fact that there were many people, like Yul Brynner, who walked out of the picture in disgust—[including] Danny Kaye and some other people who were there promoting their movie that didn’t make any money. But over the years it’s become a touchstone. It’s one of the most widely imitated movies ever made, it’s one of the most beautifully shot movies I’ve ever seen, and the cast is amazing. I could put other Peckinpah pictures on this list, because I really like his movies, but none of them are as well realised as The Wild Bunch — which, again, exists in a number of different versions, none of which are quite as long as the one I saw in the Bahamas. They put back pieces here and there, but they never actually put it back to 152 minutes, which was the one I saw.