The Revisionist Western
In the late Sixties and early seventies, there was a revisionist movement in Hollywood. This revision of genre’s included the western genre. In this essay, I will analyze the differences between the classic Western, and the revisionist westerns. The movies which are considered to be revisionist westerns that I will be reviewing are the following: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Unforgiven, and Dead Man; Two of which were created during the movement, and three of which were create more recently. In order to analyze these revisionist westerns, we must be able to compare them to the classic western. The classic western has certain attributes which allow them to be classified as a classic western. Of these themes, I will analyze the difference in approach between the classic and revisionist western. These themes include:
The classic western was a story of a hero (a white male), who in the end always prevailed over the “bad guys.” The hero most likely possessed an exceptional ability with a gun, and would use this ability to fight for good, which would most likely be helping the weaker individuals of society defend themselves and their land from the villains or “bad guys.” The hero is brave, honorable, and valiant.
Violence was a large theme in the classic western. Glorified gunfights were present in almost all of the original westerns. It seemed the only way to solve conflict in these movies was to out-shoot the enemy. Gunfights were not exactly realistic and always heroic as the hero always came out on top.
Depiction of Women:
Women in the classical westerns were depicted as weak individuals who were second to the men in society. Rarely was a woman a main character in the films, and if she was, she was shown to be weak, holding the man back, trying to tie the man down. Women in the classic western were
The resolution to most of the classic westerns was simple and the...
Bibliography: Works Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. By William Goldman, Dir. George Roy Hill, Perf. Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katherine Ross Century Fox Corp. 1969 Dead Man. By Jim Jaramusch, Dir. Jim Jaramusch, Perf. Johnny Depp, Crispin Glover, Gary Farmer Miramax, 1995 McCabe and Mrs. Miller. By Robert Altman and Brian McKay, Dir. Robert Altman, Perf. Warren Beatty, Julia Christie, Rene Auberjonois Warner Bros. 1971 Unforgiven. By David Webb Peoples, Dir. Clint Eastwood, Perf. Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman Warner Bros. 1992
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