5 Ways Butch Cassidy Is Paul Newman & Robert Redford’s Best Movie (And 5 Ways It’s The Sting)

Alongside Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, and Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, Paul Newman and Robert Redford are one of the most iconic couples of all time. After the success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kidthe duo reunited for The bite.

RELATED: Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid and 9 Other Classic A-Lister Teams

Both Butch Cassidy and The bite are period films directed by George Roy Hill that are the basis of lighthearted buddy comedies. They are also both considered one of the greatest films ever made, but which is better?

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2 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are the best

It’s the ultimate anti-Western


Butch and Sundance consider jumping off a cliff in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Towards the end of the Western heyday, directors like Sam Peckinpah and Robert Altman drove the final nails into the genre’s coffin with subversive anti-Westerns that challenged familiar tropes. The quirky quirks of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid make it the perfect anti-western.

Butch and Sundance’s story follows the polar opposite of all Western convention. The train robbers are the protagonists, they flee at the first sign of danger and the fate of the protagonists remains ambiguous (but it’s pretty clear that they meet a dark end).

Actors bring William Goldman’s crisp dialogue to life


Butch-Cassidy-Sundance-Kid-1969

William Goldman’s script for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid deconstructs the tropes and lore of the western genre on a deep level, but it’s as light and airy and delightfully entertaining as a classic buddy comedy.

The titular outlaws’ dialogue is written as catchy Seinefeldian repartee. A prime example is their debate over whether or not to jump off the cliff. This dialogue is animated by the electrical chemistry of Newman and Redford.

Conrad Hall’s cinematography is stunning


Butch and Sundance Cross a Canyon in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Landscape photography is a defining characteristic of the Western genre. Since Shane changed the game, cinematographers used westerns as an opportunity to stun their audiences with beautiful frontier vistas.

RELATED: 8 Ways Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid Are Still Holding Up Today

Conrad Hall directed some of the genre’s most memorable cinematography while filming on location. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Burt Bacharach’s score is a refreshing change of pace


Butch Cassidy and Etta Place on bikes in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Apart from the operatic melodies of Ennio Morricone and other Spaghetti Western composers, Western music tends to be rigidly conventional in a contemporary style. Part of what makes Butch Cassidy one of the definitive works of 60s cinema is the anachronistic 60s sound of Burt Bacharach’s distinctive musical score.

Bacharach is so closely associated with 60s culture that he made appearances in all three Austin Powers movies. “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” has become a timeless hit outside of the context of the Butch Cassidy soundtrack (although it is perfectly used in the film as well).

It has one of the most iconic endings in movie history


The latest shot of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

The final scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of the most iconic endings in movie history. Butch and Sundance realize they’ve reached the end of the road as they’re surrounded by shooters and see no way out.

The film ends with a freeze frame of Butch and Sundance’s last fight. The situation is grim, but there’s a surprisingly hopeful quality to the two best friends dating on their own terms.


1 The sting is the best

It’s a delightfully elegant caper of crime


Robert Redford holding a paper while Paul Newman watches him in The Sting

It’s not necessarily true that the more stylized a film is, the better the end product will be. But some genres, like westerns, are more susceptible to a style injection than others, like kitchen sink dramas.

When it comes to detective films, for example, the sleeker the better. The bite is a delightfully elegant caper with title cards, ragtime ditties, and catchy dialogue.

David S. Ward’s screenplay is always one step ahead of the audience


David S. Ward’s screenplay for The bite is considered one of the most perfectly constructed screenplays ever written. Ward’s meandering storytelling genius is that he runs his own scam on the page — and he’s always one step ahead of the audience.

Based on the book by Daniel Eagan America’s Cinematic Legacy, Ward explained, “One of the keys to storylines about con artists is that viewers want to feel like they’re in on it. They don’t need to know how a scheme works, and they don’t mind having a twist or two, but it’s important that the story features clearly recognizable “good” and “evil” characters. »

Ragtime hits give the score a unique and unforgettable sound


Paul Newman in Sting

Few films have their own tangible musical identity, but it always enhances the experience when they do. The bite has its own unique sound with the anachronistic use of ragtime.

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The most common melody on the soundtrack is “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin, which was adapted by Marvin Hamlisch for use in the film. This track gave Hamlisch a top ten chart when he released it as a single.

The cons are devilishly convoluted


The Sting with Paul Newman and Robert Redford

As a film about tricksters, the success of The bite rides on its drawbacks. Unlike many similar crook thrillers, the downsides of The bite are devilishly convoluted – especially the last one.

The disadvantages in The bite are mapped out in great detail and then executed perfectly. Even the things that look like mistakes were meticulously planned from the start.

The Sting saved Newman’s career


Upon its initial release, The bite was a resounding success. The film received 10 Oscar nominations and won seven categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing.

Redford received a nod for Best Actor, but it was Newman whose career took the biggest hit. After a series of box office flops, The bite put Newman back on top.

NEXT: Paul Newman’s 10 Best Movie Roles, Ranked

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