Revisionist Western

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Samuel DeSarno2-22-13
Doctor Novelli Film 192

Question # 3

To talk about how Pat Garret and Billy the Kid is considered a “dirty” and “revisionist” western, one must also look at what was occurring in our country historically at the same time. Our country went through a horrible period of civil unrest plaguing many cities with riots, blood being spilled with them and many anti-war movements in response to the much hated Vietnam War that had been raging for years that was claiming the lives of thousands of young Americans. So now back to Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, as I have learned a couple years prior to the making of the film, the code of rules that helped to guide movie making had crashed and burned and now directors had free reign to do whatever they wanted to in their movies. And I am sure for 1967 it pushed the bar even further than what people had seen. I asked my parents who saw the movie when they were much younger and my mother recalls how violent the movie was for its day and she was appalled with much of the nudity and language in the film. To be honest I expected something along the lines of that response but what made me laugh was how she then compared Pat Garret and Billy the Kid to movies today and how tame 1967 is to 2013. But back to the “revisionist” western, Pat Garret and Billy the Kid simply did not put the story of a group of people who are thrust into peril and in the end make it out with barely any scratches, this film helped to provoke thought among the audience by telling them to really think about the decisions Pat Garret has made up until this point into his life. With Billy mocking his choices and abandoning his fellow outlaws to sell out to the railroads. It was not simply a happy ending either, Garret is certainly shaken and stirred by him killing a friend but in the scene he also shoots the mirror which is symbolic that he wants to destroy this new self he has transformed into, but he knows in order to...
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