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Did You Know? ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ Was Once Titled in Reverse!

Key Points:

  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was initially titled “The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy” but was renamed due to Paul Newman’s star power as Butch.
  • Screenwriter William Goldman’s original screenplay faced resistance from studios due to its unconventional plot.
  • Despite initial hiccups, the film became a massive success, earning critical acclaim and multiple Academy Awards.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the 1969 Western classic directed by George Roy Hill, has become an indelible part of cinematic history. Featuring iconic performances by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, the film subverted traditional Western tropes and captivated audiences with its witty dialogue and memorable scenes.

Story Behind the Title Change of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

While the film is now known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, it was originally titled “The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy.” The decision to switch the order of the names was made due to the star power of Paul Newman, who played the role of Butch Cassidy. As a well-established actor, Newman’s name took precedence in the title over Redford, who was relatively unknown at the time.

The title change was not the only challenge the film faced. Screenwriter William Goldman’s original screenplay faced resistance from studios, who were skeptical about the film’s unconventional plotline, which followed the lives of two outlaws fleeing to South America after being hounded out of the United States.

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A Groundbreaking Western Classic

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Despite the initial hurdles, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid went on to become a groundbreaking Western classic, earning critical acclaim and numerous accolades. The film’s success was driven by its innovative approach, subverting traditional Western tropes and presenting a fresh perspective on the genre.

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From the iconic opening legend “Most of what follows is true” to the unforgettable finale, the movie was a giddy cascade of brilliant and instantly memorable scenes. The zinging dialogue, with its constant call-and-response of sniping and bitching between the two protagonists, added a contemporary edge that resonated with audiences.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was released in theaters on October 24, 1969.

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