Billy the Kid, also known as William Bonney, is walking across the land carrying his saddle and all his possessions. A cattleman known as The Englishman meets up with Billy and he hires him as a ranch hand. The Englishman is planning to supply the local Army fort with his beef. The crooked sheriff and his men ambush The Englishman. It’s known to everyone that The Englishman is a fair man and he never carries a gun. Billy discovers his body and he takes the man’s death very hard. They have only known each other for a short time but Billy has great admiration for him. Billy determines he will gun down the men involved in the killing.
I’ve seen other films about Billy the Kid, this one has a different story that is partially true and partially fiction. The real name of Billy the Kid was Henry McCarty. He was born 1859 and died July 14, 1881 at the age of 22. Billy doesn’t know how to read and The Englishman talks to him about reading plus he gives him his copy of the Bible. Billy is pondering the meaning of life and death but he also wants revenge. There are a LOT of bad decisions in this film that are not even partially thought through? 3* (This movie is OK)
102 min, Western directed by Arthur Penn with Paul Newman, Lita Milan, John Dehner, Hurd Hatfield, James Congdon, James Best, Colin Keith-Johnston, John Dierkes, Robert Anderson, Wally Brown, Ainslie Pryor.
Note: Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 100% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 108 reviews, TCM Leonard Maltin 2.5* out of 4*, Letterboxd 3.2* out of 5* with 495 ratings, MovieGeek 7* out of 10
Special Note: Filmed at Columbia/Warner Bros. Ranch, Laramie Street Studio, Burbank Studio Stage 2, 27, 27A, 28, 28A, Burbank, California. Paul Newman was considered miscast because he was 33 and the character is 18 at the beginning of the film. Shot in 23 days and a flop at the US box office. Originally, production was to be in 1956 with James Dean in the lead role. All tintypes show a reverse image and there was a mix up with a tintype picture of Billy. The actual picture when reversed shows Billy with a Winchester carbine in the left hand and a holstered Colt single-action on his right hip. Reportedly Warner Bros. interfered with the production and Penn was not allowed to shoot the ending he wanted. Also, the he was not involved in the editing process. Arthur Penn also directed Bonnie and Clyde of 1967.