Butch and Sundance: The Early Days

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Butch and Sundance: The Early Days
Butch and Sundance- The Early Days FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byRichard Lester
Produced bySteven Bach
Jack B. Bernstein
William Goldman
Gabriel Katzka
Written byAllan Burns
StarringTom Berenger
William Katt
Michael C. Gwynne
Peter Weller
Brian Dennehy
Christopher Lloyd
Music byPatrick Williams
CinematographyLászló Kovács
Edited byGeorge Trirogoff
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
June 15, 1979
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$9 million[1]
Box office$5,136,913[2]

Butch and Sundance: The Early Days is a 1979 Western film and prequel of sorts to the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It stars Tom Berenger as Butch Cassidy and William Katt as the Sundance Kid.

It was directed by Richard Lester and written by Allan Burns. It generally received mixed reviews but was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.[3]


Wyoming. Wannabe outlaw Butch Cassidy joins forces with sharpshooter Harry Longabaugh (who renames himself the Sundance Kid) and they carry out a series of robberies. However, Butch is stalked by a member of his former gang, O.C. Hanks, who believes he betrayed the gang. The two spend the winter in Telluride until they hear O.C. is in town, then rush away to deliver diphtheria serum to snowbound farms and become heroes. O.C. ambushes them and wounds Sundance by mistake. He recovers in Butch's home, tended by Butch's wife Mary and their two sons, who don't know their father's real job (he takes up butchery to earn money). O.C. turns up for a showdown and Sundance unintentionally kills him. Returning to crime, the pair rob a bank and then decide to rob a money train guarded by cavalry, not knowing Butch has been promised an amnesty if he gives up crime. They get the money, free the cavalry horses to prevent pursuit, and ride away dreaming of being famous outlaws.



Allan Burns worked on the script with William Goldman, who was on board as executive producer; Goldman added some scenes and moments he wanted to introduce in the first movie but the bulk of the script was Burns'.[4][5]

William Katt had recently made First Love and was being called "a young Robert Redford" so ended up being cast as Sundance. Tom Berenger was cast after the studio were impressed by his performance in Looking for Mr Goodbar.[6]

Jeff Corey, portraying Sheriff Bledsoe, was the only actor to reprise his role from the original 1969 film.

Director Richard Lester stated he had never seen the first movie.[4]


The film reportedly lost $4 million.[7]

A DVD of the film was released by Anchor Bay Entertainment in February 2005. However, Anchor Bay has since lost distribution rights to the film and the DVD was forced to go out of print.[citation needed]

Shout! Factory acquired the rights to the film and released it on DVD as a double billing with Death Hunt on February 1, 2011.[citation needed]

It is currently available on BLU-RAY through Timeless Media Group.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey (1989). Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History. Scarecrow Press. p. 259.
  2. ^ "Butch and Sundance: The Early Days". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ "Academy Awards". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  4. ^ a b 'Sundance': Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch... Lee, Grant. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) (Los Angeles) 23 Apr 1978: m40.
  5. ^ The 'Hyphenate' Is Television's Latest Breed of Mogul: The 'Hyphenates' By Bill Davidson. The New York Times (1923-Current file) (New York City) 29 May 1977: 47.
  6. ^ FILM CLIPS: DYAN CANNON'S SHOOTING STAR Kilday, Gregg. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) (Los Angeles) 16 Nov 1977: g19.
  7. ^ WHY THEY'RE SLOW ON THE DRAW: [FIRST Edition] Michael Blowen Globe Correspondent. Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext) [Boston, Mass] 29 June 1980: 1.

External links[edit]