Just so you’ll know;
There’s a lot of men in their 60s-70s today who were Millennial-aged in 1969, when this film was released. I was commissioned an Army Infantry lieutenant in ’68, 2nd years in law school, en route to active duty, 24, while college classmates of mine were already coming home from their tour in Vietnam to join me. Four years of drafted soldiers had preceded us, having been called up as early as 1965.
The Vietnam War changed from “winning” to “getting out with dignity” after the 1968 Tet Offensive, which American soldiers successfully, but the American political said we lost anyway.
We all had our memories, and this film, to my mind, defines the kind of men my generation produced when of the age of Millennials today.
But it is not a war story, about soldiers. These are not your ordinary heroes, in fact, they were bank robbers. But almost everyone, college grad to drop out, identified with them, in part because of “that war” going on in Vietnam, but also largely because of what our dads had gone thru in Europe and the Pacific, when there was little difference between these men from every part of the country.
This was in the time of the Mexican civil war between the corrupt Diaz regime, in power over 30 years, and backed by German army advisers, and the forces of Francisco Madera and Pancho Villa. Several fine Hollywood films were produced in this period, “The Professionals” (Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin), “Villa Rides” (Yul Brynner, Robert Mitchum) “Viva Zapata” (Marlon Brando). All were favorable to the Mexican peasants, a popular theme in my generation.
The Wild Bunch were 5 men, the one not shown a Yaqui Indian named Angel, who had been captured by a Mexican general who was defending regime of Diaz. They had been hired to steal a load of rifles and a Gatling gun. On delivery of the guns, on final payment the general told them he had taken Angel prisoner as he had snitched one box of rifles for the use by his village in the mountains, who were fighting this regime. , t
Then the general gave them some money to go get drunk and other things.
Simple enough plot.
This film strip, about 10-minutes, begins when the gang’s leader, Pike, begins thinking about leaving their pal Angel behind with these thugs.
With a simple “Let’s Go”, they’ve decided to go an rescue Angel.
Now, I’m a dark alley guy, and there are aspects of this film that showcases what men can do for their mates in a pinch, especially when their loyalties are rubbed in their faces.
They don’t make films like this any longer, not even video games. But it is a true reflection. If you don’t believe me, watch any of the other films listed above, all with a common theme, then look up the true story “Battle of Athens” (1946) when a bunch of veterans and citizens in Tennessee ganged together to throw down a corrupt town government and their police department.
Then imagine the same thing happening to a social science department at UCLA.
“We’re after men. I wish to God I was with them.”
We Want Angel
Final Shoot out