FILM / Director's Cut: Ron Shelton on the closing moments of Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch

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THE ending to Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch is a sort of an epilogue and a great, great screen moment. All the killers have been killed; the only two survivors are the pursuer and one of the pursued. Robert Ryan sits in front of the broken-down fortress and Edmond O'Brien, whom he's been pursuing all through the movie, comes out of the hills and says, 'There's one more fight - we can join the Mexican Revolution. It's not like the old days, but it'll do.' They don't care about it ideologically; it's just the only fighting left. And they get up and ride off to join a war they know nothing about. In a certain sense time has passed them by. They're professionals; they fight the way my guys (in White Men Can't Jump) play basketball. It's partly hedonistic, it's partly that this is all they know how to do, it's partly that they find themselves through it. And The Wild Bunch is about what happens when the gunfighting in the Old West is ending and you can't do that any more. I thought that scene was a wonderful way, without getting preachy, of wrapping up a complex movie.

Ron Shelton wrote 'Under Fire', wrote and directed 'Bull Durham' and 'Blaze'. 'White Men Can't Jump' is playing around the country.

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