Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid

The Film

Winner of an incredible 4 Oscars and 10 BAFTAs, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid is a feel-good comedy drama, and the all-time great American Western buddy film. Based loosely on fact, the film tells the story of outlaws 'Butch Cassidy' (Paul Newman) and his partner 'The Sundance Kid ' (Robert Redford), who are on the run from a crack US posse after a string of train robberies. Directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman.

In 2003, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."



William Goldman first came across the story of Butch Cassidy in the late 1950s and researched intermittently for eight years before starting to write the screenplay. Goldman says he wrote the story as an original screenplay because he did not want to do the research to make it as authentic as a novel. Goldman later stated:

The whole reason I wrote the ... thing, there is that famous line that Scott Fitzgerald wrote, who was one of my heroes, "There are no second acts in American lives." When I read about Cassidy and Longabaugh and the superposse coming after them—that's phenomenal material. They ran to South America and lived there for eight years and that was what thrilled me: they had a second act. They were more legendary in South America than they had been in the old West ... It's a great story. Those two guys and that pretty girl going down to South America and all that stuff. It just seems to me it's a wonderful piece of material.

The characters' flight to South America caused one executive to reject the script, as it was then unusual in Western films for the protagonists to flee.


The role of Sundance was offered to Jack Lemmon, whose production company, JML, had produced the film Cool Hand Luke (1967) starring Newman. Lemmon, however, turned down the role because he did not like riding horses and felt that he had already played too many aspects of the Sundance Kid's character before.

Other actors considered for the role of Sundance were Steve McQueen and Warren Beatty, who both turned it down, with Beatty claiming that the film was too similar to Bonnie and Clyde. According to Goldman, McQueen and Newman both read the scripts at the same time and agreed to do the film. McQueen eventually backed out of the film due to disagreements with Newman. The two actors would eventually team up in the 1974 disaster film The Towering Inferno. Redford took the role as he liked the script and as well his talent's pushed for him to get it. Jacqueline Bisset was a top contender for the role of Etta Place.

Filming locations include the ghost town of Grafton, Zion National Park, Snow Canyon State Park, and the city of St. George. These areas remain popular film tourism destinations, including the Cassidy Trail in Red Canyon.


Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote the song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" for the film. Some felt the song was the wrong tone for a western, but George Roy Hill insisted on its inclusion. Robert Redford, one of the stars of the films, was among those who disapproved of using the song, though he later acknowledged he was wrong:

"When the film was released, I was highly critical: How did the song fit with the film? There was no rain. At the time, it seemed like a dumb idea. How wrong I was, as it turned out to be a giant hit."





Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy
Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid
Katharine Ross as Etta Place
Strother Martin as Percy Garris
Henry Jones as Bike Salesman
Jeff Corey as Sheriff Bledsoe
George Furth as Woodcock
Cloris Leachman as Agnes
Ted Cassidy as Harvey Logan
Kenneth Mars as Marshal
Donnelly Rhodes as Macon
Timothy Scott as "News" Carver
Charles Dierkop as Flat Nose Curry
Paul Bryar as Card Player #1
Sam Elliott as Card Player #2
Jody Gilbert as Large Woman on Train