William Goldman (August 12, 1931 - November 16, 2018) was an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He first came to prominence in the 1950s as a novelist before turning to screenwriting. He won Academy Awards for his screenplays Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and All the President's Men (1976). (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
The Story Of Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid Wasn’t An Easy Fit For
A Film
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is one of the most famous Western movies about real-life outlaws. The film is also renowned for its unusual premise, unconventional structure, and focus on character and comedy rather than shootouts. However, the aspects that make the film unique are also what hamstrung it during production.
Screenwriter William Goldman liked the story of Cassidy and Sundance because it sprawled across time and space, however, this very aspect made it difficult to translate into a film. Goldman solved this by beginning the movie in the middle of the story, with the duo as established outlaws. Yet, even then the film’s story spanned nine years and two continents.
Because of its sprawling timeline, the movie has an unconventional structure, with a half-hour chase mixed in with leisurely vignettes that help expand the back story. The movie was helped to success by pairing Paul Newman with newcomer Robert Redford as the two leads, whose brilliant performances helped the film succeed as both a Western and buddy comedy.