February 21st, Sam Peckinpah’s birthday. He would have been 89. Sadly, he died of heart failure in 1984, there were so many other great films in him, I’m certain.

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Moving Pictures Documentary on Sam Peckinpah in 6 parts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr1G-lh7mJU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRYj5G4X3U0

http:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbFZUbympxY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZR2mswtRvA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_vq5TnJXWc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mz3l2xrqS8

David Samuel Peckinpah was born and grew up in Fresno, California, when it was still a sleepy town. Young Sam was a loner. The child’s greatest influence was grandfather Denver Church, a judge, congressman and one of the best shots in the Sierra Nevadas. Sam served in the US Marine Corps during World War II but – to his disappointment – did not see combat. Upon returning to the US he enrolled in Fresno State College, graduating in 1948 with a B.A. in Drama. He married Marie Selland in Las Vegas in 1947 and they moved to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in the graduate Theater Department of the University of Southern California the next year. He eventually took his Masters in 1952.

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After drifting through several jobs — including a stint as a floor-sweeper on The Liberace Show (1952) — Sam got a job as Dialogue Director on Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) for director Don Siegel.

Riot

He worked for Siegel on several films, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), in which Sam played Charlie Buckholtz, the town meter reader.

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Peckinpah eventually became a scriptwriter for such TV programs as Gunsmoke (1955) and The Rifleman (1958) (which he created as an episode of Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater (1956) titled “The Sharpshooter’ in 1958). In 1961, as his marriage to Selland was coming to an end, he directed his first feature film, a western titled The Deadly Companions (1961) starring \Brian Keith and Maureen O’Hara. However, it was with his second feature, Ride the High Country (1962), that Peckinpah really began to establish his reputation. Featuring Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott (in his final screen performance), its story about two aging gunfighters anticipated several of the themes Peckinpah would explore in future films, including the controversial “The Wild Bunch”.

Ride the High Country (1962)

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Following “Ride the High Country” he was hired by producer Jerry Bresler to direct Major Dundee (1965), a cavalry-vs.-Indians western starring Charlton Heston. It turned out to be a film that brought to light Peckinpah’s volatile reputation. During hot, on-location work in Mexico, his abrasive manner, exacerbated by booze and marijuana, provoked usually even-keeled Heston to threaten to run him through with a cavalry sabre. However, when the studio later considered replacing Peckinpah, it was Heston who came to Sam’s defence, going so far as to offer to return his salary to help offset any overages. Ironically, the studio accepted and Heston wound up doing the film for free.

Post-production conflicts led to Sam engaging in a bitter and ultimately losing battle with Bresler and Columbia Pictures over the final cut and, as a result, the disjointed effort fizzled at the box office.

Major Dundee (1965)

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He was hired by Warner Bros. to direct the film for which he is,
justifiably, best remembered. The success of “The Wild Bunch”
rejuvenated his career and propelled him through highs and lows in the 1970s.

The Wild Bunch (1969)

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“If they move”, commands stern-eyed William Holden, “kill ’em”. So begins The Wild Bunch (1969), Sam Peckinpah’s bloody, high-body-count eulogy to the mythologized Old West. “Pouring new wine into the bottle of the Western, Peckinpah explodes the bottle”, observed critic Pauline Kael. That exploding bottle also christened the director with the nickname that would forever define his films and reputation: “Bloody Sam”.

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The Wild Bunch opening

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrgSz2DGxBY

Robbery Scene

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i9KBsOfUPI

In His Own Words: “The point of [The Wild Bunch] is to take this facade of movie violence and open it up, get people involved in it… and then twist it so that it’s not fun anymore, just a wave of sickness in the gut.”

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L.Q.Jones on Peckinpah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uayweIIDG2Q

Wild Bunch 2

The Final Shootout

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iFT7hTZCMk

Video Discussion on The Wild Bunch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjXfiR-ez1U

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The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL5ZGzn53eQ&list=PLgF_yX8htts2j7m3Bz4Z8e4IDE_XDAZ1z

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Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iD4UawK_k90

Stella Stevens . Wow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL5ZGzn53eQ

Straw Dogs (1971)

Behind The Scenes of Straw Dogs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2-4qdh7TbM

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Susan George on Straw Dogs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kupqle-_RUs

Junior Bonner (1972)

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The Getaway (1972)

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Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JTkmBc1JRc

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)

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Knocking On Heaven’s Door

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjR7_U2u3sM

Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-48J_x23ZE

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The Killer Elite (1975)

Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuJAUa04wLM

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Shooting Scene. James Caan and Bo Hopkins, Burt Young and Robert Duvall

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woYhefJKuOo

Cross Of Iron (1977)

Cross of Iron 1

http://www.filmposterart.co.uk/cross-of-iron-258-p.asp

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Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGtGzwZla2E

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Quentin Tarantino on the influence of Cross of Iron

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EpXEqn6AXE

Convoy (1978)

Music Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbLNUuCnggc

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The Osterman Weekend (1983)

Osterman Weekend 1

http://www.filmposterart.co.uk/the-osterman-weekend-328-p.asp

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Peckinpah lived life to its fullest. He drank hard and abused drugs, producers and collaborators. At the end of his life he was considering a number of projects including the Stephen King-scripted “The Shotgunners”. He was returning from Mexico in December 1984 when he died from heart failure in a hospital in Inglewood, California, at age 59. At a standing-room-only gathering that held at the Directors Guild the following month, Coburn remembered the director as a man “who pushed me over the abyss and then jumped in after me. He took me on some great adventures”. To which Robert Culp added that what is surprising is not that Sam only made fourteen pictures, but that given the way he went about it, he managed to make any at all.

What a legacy. One of the truly great directors of all time. If you could choose only one Sam Peckinpah film, which one would you choose?

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