45 years after its release, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” remains just as vibrant and warm as it was in its original theatrical run. To celebrate its anniversary, here’s a superb half-hour documentary on the making of the film.
These days, most behind-the-scenes documentaries have more in common with electronic press kits in which filmmakers and actors diplomatically praise one another via PR speak, hoping to sell their film instead of actually giving a realistic view of filmmaking. What a revelation then that “Butch Cassidy” director George Roy Hill gives an unvarnished look at the making of the classic western. Hill talks about how he approached scheduling the shoot —setting aside an entire week for half a week’s work because he tends to “fuck it up the first week”— and how his star Paul Newman had trouble playing Butch Cassidy the first few days. Newman himself reveals what was holding back his performance in the beginning —he couldn’t settle into a natural rhythm due to the way the scene was originally written.
The documentary is a fascinating glimpse at film history unfolding and a great piece of filmmaking in its own right, with all the interviews being conducted off-screen and Hill narrating the picture in much the same off-the-cuff way that directors do commentaries now.
Watch the Making of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” below.