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The Sundance Kid in Bolivia

Robert Redford in Bolivia as "The Sundance Kid" in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Robert Redford in Bolivia as “The Sundance Kid” in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

Vitals

Robert Redford as “The Sundance Kid”, exiled American outlaw in Bolivia

Bolivia, 1901-1908

Film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Release Date: October 24, 1969
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is brilliant. Whether it was Conrad Hall’s alluring photography, George Roy Hill’s groundbreaking direction, William Goldman’s screenplay that ranges from insanely hilarious to poignantly touching, or – most often cited – the perfect chemistry of leads Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

The film was a new kind of Western. No longer was John Wayne fighting Injuns with his rifle, kerchief, and ten gallon hat. Tom Mix’s white hat vs. black hat days were over. By 1969, the world had moved on into a place of crystal-clear ambiguity. Cheering for the outlaws was not only acceptable, it was preferred.

Of course, that’s much easier when the outlaws are charming, hilarious, and generally non-violent. Paul Newman was a natural choice for the film. After a series of cast rotations that could’ve seen Jack Lemmon, Warren Beatty, Marlon Brando, or Steve McQueen paired up with Newman, Hill and Newman rallied and got up-and-coming Robert Redford the part, despite Fox’s protestations. Interestingly, the older Newman was originally to play younger gunslinger Sundance before Redford was brought on board. The roles were switched and a now-classic film pairing was born. Continue reading

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