My Favorite Sam Peckinpah Films

* * * * (Out of * * * *)

1.   Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

2.   The Wild Bunch (1969)

3.   Cross of Iron (1977)

4.   Ride the High Country (1962)

5.   The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)

6.   Junior Bonner (1972)

7.   ABC Stage 67 (1966)
7a. Episode: “Noon Wine”
(Television)

8.   Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)

9.   Straw Dogs (1971)

10. Major Dundee (1965)

11. The Getaway (1972)

12. The Deadly Companions (1961)

13. The Killer Elite (1975)

14. The Osterman Weekend (1983)

15. Convoy (1978)

16. Route 66 (1961)
16a. Episode: “Mon Petit Chou”
(Television)

* * * * (Out of * * * *) (Short Cinema)

1.   The Rifleman – Season 1 (1958-1959)
1a. Episode: “The Marshall” (1958)
1b. Episode: “The Boarding House” (1959)
1c. Episode: “The Money Gun” (1959)
(Television)

2.   The Rifleman – Season 2 (1960)
(Episode: “The Baby Sitter”
(Television)

3.   The Westerner – Season 1 (1960)
3a. Episode: “Jeff”
3b. Episode: “Brown”
3c. Episode: “The Courting of Libby”
3d. Episode: “Hand on the Gun”
3e. Episode: “The Painting”
(Television)

4.   Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre – Season 3 (1959)
4a. Episode: “Trouble at Tres Cruces”
(Television)

5.   Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre – Season 4 (1959-1960)
5a. Episode: “Lonesome Road” (1959)
5b. Episode: “Miss Jenny” (1960)
(Television)

13 thoughts on “My Favorite Sam Peckinpah Films

  1. I found ‘Straw Dogs’ to be a tasteless, pointless, and ultimately ‘nasty’ film, to be honest. I reviewed it on my blog.
    https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/retro-review-straw-dogs-1971/

    Good choices of ‘Alfredo Garcia’, and ‘The Wild Bunch’. ‘Cross Of Iron’ was a suitably different war film too. I enjoyed ‘Pat Garrett’ at the cinema, but was left with mixed feelings about whether or not is is a good film. ‘Major Dundee’ appealed to me as a teenager, with the Civil War theme, but I found Richard Harris unusually irritating throughout, for some reason.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Very interesting John. You’re list has some dramatic changes. I see that Straw Dogs has dropped from number one to number eight. As you know, this film has always troubled me though it is still one of my favorite Peckinpah films.I have a very interesting article, fascinating, even, about what really happened to Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones. I may share it on my blog. Anyway, it is very similar to the Straw Dogs premise only, of course, Brian Jones wasn’t able to reclaim his masculinity and…well, he’s dead. Straw Dogs is, unquestionably, Peckinpah’s reaction to the women’s movement. We can conclude that he didn’t like it. He was a chauvinistic pig. Yes. He was also a great director. My take, anyway.

  3. On the topic of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Peckinpah cited that film as his personal favorite of all of his films-one of the many reasons being that it was one of the few films of his that did not suffer from any kind of studio interference (big or small). What else can be said about The Wild Bunch? One of the many greatest Westerns ever made. Speaking of Cross of Iron, Orson Welles has reportedly praised that film linking it to All Quiet on the Western Front (another favorite of his along with Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion). Their are quite a few different cuts of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Their is the 106 minute theatrical cut, the 122 minute preview version from 1988 and 115 minute special edition from 2005. The details are far too numerous to get into here, but look on the wikipedia entry for the film and IMDB. Major Dundee has often been implied to be a dress rehearsal for The Wild Bunch and I could not agree more, but a masterful dress rehearsal indeed. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  4. Thank you for the kind words 🙂 Yes it is quite a drastic change. I mean I still love Straw Dogs, but I felt that those other films deserved a higher ranking. Interesting piece of trivia: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia was cited by Peckinpah himself as the personal favorite of all of his films because it was one of the few films of his that did not suffer from any kind of studio interference (large or small). Now that you mention the Brian Jones story, I shall read more about it. No doubt, Peckinpah was no fan of the women’s movement. Psychologically, he was a pretty destructive director (lifestyle of drugs, booze etc.). He was also completely hostile to everyone around him. I do not know If the drugs or alcohol played a big part, but it did play a major part indeed. I can totally understand your reservations with Peckinpah. If I was a woman I think I would be troubled by his chauvinism even though I would still count him as a great director. Anyway, keep those comments coming as usual 🙂

  5. Yeah I just had a “discussion” with Pete–I saw the link to his Peckinpah post on yours–about the same thing. Of course he hates the film and, incidentally, so does my husband and so does just about everybody that I’ve ever talked to about it. It’s a very controversial film and a lot of people just don’t get the point of view it was made from. I get it, I understand it–that doesn’t mean I like it or agree with it–quite the opposite but, objectively, I know that it’s a great film. I like …Alfredo Garcia a lot. It has kind of a John Cassavetes feel to it. Kind of a John Boorman’s Point Blank feel to it. I also like The Getaway. I love the book by Jim Thompson and a lot of it was filmed in the city I was born in, El Paso, Tx.

  6. I know what you mean. One has to understand that Straw Dogs is told from the point of view of a meek mathematician, who is finally driven to the breaking point where he has to fend off the attackers of his house. As for Alfredo Garcia, it does feel similar to what you get If you took John Cassavetes The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and John Boorman’s Point Blank and blended them together. As for The Getaway, I knew it was based on a novel by the great Jim Thompson and did you know that future action director Walter Hill penned the script? I am also delighted by the fact that it was filmed (or a lot of it as you say) in El Paso, Texas, which is where you were born. That is an interesting fact 🙂 Anyway, keep those comments coming as usual 🙂

  7. John, there are still some of Sam’s films I need to see. The Wild Bunch would be my number one film with Cable Hogue in second followed by the unsettling Straw Dogs, Ride the High Country, and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

  8. “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia”. Some consider this a Western. Has some of the flavour but … always enjoyed Oates.
    “Ride the High Country” (1962) Stars 2 Western Greats, McRae and Scott. But the movie really hasn’t aged very well. (IMO). In fact, when I watch it, I really find it hard to believe it was Directed by Peckinpah.
    “Major Dundee” could well have been a Classic except for Pek’s bizarre behavior. Shame.
    “The Wild Bunch”. Lots of critical controversy. But it prevails as Western Classic.
    “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”. Wonderful Western. Thank God they re-edited it and likely came close to Pek’s vision.
    We love ’em. Watch them over and over. And hope something new will come along.

  9. I think Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia can be better summed up as a Neo-Western since it takes place in contemporary times. For dyed-in-the-wool western fans like you and me, The Wild Bunch still ranks as an undisputed masterpiece of the genre. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid can now rank up their as a rediscovered masterpiece of the genre thanks to not one, but two versions of the film that has since been released on home video. In 1988, Turner Entertainment released a 122 minute preview version of the film and in 2005, Warner Home Video released on DVD the 115 minute special edition version. Of course you knew that already though 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  10. I was grateful for the improved of PGABTK. But even the messed up one was OK. But can you imagine Studio idiots editing Peks movie and throwing it on market? The infighting was mind blowing, but Pek never got along with the money changers much. In another instance somebody else edited their own version which cut some stuff out – thus pissing many fans off – though the image quality was improved I believe. Peks saga would make a heck in itself. But who play Pek? LoL!

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