There is an awful lot that has been and can be written about this film. I touched briefly on 1967’s impact on American cinema a few years back, so I’m not really going to delve into that aspect of the film, though I will point out a few things that made it a game-changer. I remember when I first saw this film, I wasn’t all that impressed to be honest. But the more I watch it the more its genius reveals itself to me. I saw it on the big screen at the Castro last spring and I am so glad that I did. A few weeks ago some kind stranger anonymously bought it for me from my Amazon wishlist, so I decided it was time for another revisit. The result is going to be this rather epic look at what I now realize is one of the most exquisitely directed films of all time. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, though it only won one: Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress Katharine Ross, Best Actress Anne Bancroft, Best Actor Dustin Hoffman, Best Director Mike Nichols (won) and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Doolittle, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and winner In The Heat of the Night.
Joanna Eberhart: Am I crazy? Aren’t they good? Please say something. I don’t care. No, I do care. Don’t say anything bad.
Mr. Atkinson: These are, um, really quite good.
Joanna Eberhart: You’re not just saying that be cause you’re frightened I, I might be a crazy lady?
Mr. Atkinson: Clearly you are a crazy lady, but clearly again, these are nice.
Joanna Eberhart: Wait a minute. You said ‘Good’. ‘Really quite good’ you said. ‘Good’ is better than ‘nice’. You’re not changing your mind, are you?
Mr. Atkinson: No, the results are lovely. Don’t get upset again. ‘Lovely’ is better than ‘good’. But, um, what fascinates me is: What is it you want from it all? Do you know?
Joanna Eberhart: I want – somewhere, someday, someone to look at something and say ‘Hey, that reminds me of an Ingalls’. ‘Ingalls’ was my maiden name. I guess I want to be remembered.
Mr. Atkinson: Yes, don’t we all?
This was one of the first films I remember seeing as a child as well as one of the first I remember seeing multiple times. It was a favorite of both of my parents (and presumably still is). It’s also one of the most beloved films of all time. Currently it ranks #152 on the IMDb’s user rating generated Top 250. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is on several of the American Film Institute’s lists: 100 Years… 100 Movies – #50, 100 Years… 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – #73, 100 Years… 100 Thrills – #54100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid – #20 Heroes and the 10 Top 10 – #7 Western Film. In 2003 the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning four: Best Sound, Best Cinematography (won), Best Score (won), Best Song (won), Best Original Screenplay (won), Best Director and Best Picture. Surprisingly neither Paul Newman nor Robert Redford were nominated for Best Actor. The winner in 1969, Midnight Cowboy, was also nominated for seven Academy Awards, and actually won less awards than Butch Cassidy; it won Adapted Screenplay, Director and Picture (both its leads were nominated, but lost Best Actor to John Wayne in True Grit). The other films nominated that year were Anne of the Thousand Days, Hello, Dolly! and Z (which won film editing – often an award that aligns with Best Picture, and Best Foreign Language Film).
I know there is at least one book on this subject and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but thanks to TCM showing several movies from that year, I have to agree completely. What I mean by Cinema, is Hollywood and American Cinema, because a lot of how it changed was based on things French New Wave directors had already been doing for almost ten years.
One way to see this change is by looking at the five films that were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars that year. Four of the films are harbingers of the new Hollywood. One is old guard and because of that in addition I want to talk about another film that, although nominated for four Oscars, was not up for Best Picture.
The five films up for Best Picture were Bonnie & Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and In The Heat of the Night. The film sixth film I’m going to discuss is In Cold Blood.