The Peckinpah Thrillers

Sam Peckinpah was a brilliant but controversial American director of genre movies in the 1960s and 70s. He reached international fame with The Wild Bunch (1968), a classic western which became infamous for its realistic depictions of violence. In 1971 he went on location in Cornwall to make the highly controversial thriller Straw Dogs, a contemporary thriller starring Dustin Hoffman and a young Susan George. The film aroused huge debate for its depiction of sexual and violent content, and was banned for home viewing until 2002.

In 1972 Peckinpah directed a neo-noir adaption of Jim Thomson’s hardboiled thriller, The Getaway, with Steve McQueen in laconic form as Doc McCoy, on the run from the law and from the crime bosses of Texas. The film exhibits all the trademarks of Peckinpah’s violent amoral style and emerges as a tight, gripping thriller.

After the commercial failure of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid Peckinpah’s personal life deteriorated into drugs and alcohol and he struggled to find work in Hollywood. He turned instead to his beloved Mexico to make the strange and disturbing thriller, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, with Warren Oates in standout form as a bar musician caught up among Mexican gangsters. Since its release the film has been significantly re-evaluated as one of Peckinpah’s best movies.

Please note that the Peckinpah thriller season contains depictions of sexual abuse. All films will be presented by Robert Senior.

Films in this series