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Sam Peckinpah

May 6, 1996

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Peckinpah was considered one of the most difficult directors to work with. He was also considered the man who changed the way we view violence in cinema forever. Born on February 21, 1925, in Fresno, California. Peckinpah first joined the marine corps in the 40's before he earned his master's degree at USC in 1950. He started off (like so many other filmakers) screenwriting for Hollywood. His first well-known screenplay, which he wrote anonymously, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) became a sci-fi classic and a social satire on the the communist witch hunts of the 1950's. After writing for various western programs like The Rifleman and Gunsmoke, he debuted as a director in 1961 with The Deadly Companions, a western like much of his work. His most well known films are Ride the High Country (1962), a western starring famed veteren cowboy stars, Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, and The Wild Bunch (1969), the first of h is "bloody" westerns and one of the first film to use "realistic" violence in motion pictures.

Other films of his include his "semi-westerns", The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) and Peckinpah's personal favorite Junior Bonner (1972). Peckinpah both loved and loathed the legend he was becoming in Hollywood. He had many fights with his producers. His most memorable fight was with producer Phil Feldman over the final cut to Wild Bunch. Known for his use of slow-motion violence and sleazy characters, Peckinpah's anti-westerns set the stage for films like Unforgiven to come along. His last film, The Osterman Weekend (1983), was a career disappointment for Peckinpah. Less than a year later, on December 28, 1984, he died in Inglewood, California, leaving behind a huge legacy, that has been almost unsurpassed.

My rating on a scale of 1 to 10: 9


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