“If they move, kill ’em!”

Looks like the AFI are giving ol’ Papa Peckinpah a well-deserved month long retrospective, beginning this weekend with The Wild Bunch and Ride The High Country.

Sam Peckinpah is one of my film idols. He was a director with unflinching vision who pissed off a ton of people over the course of his career simply by sticking to his guns. He took the sex and glamour out of movie violence and smeared the Silver Screen red with blood, putting a gritty realism to it like no major director before him.

The AFI series hits most of the films Peckinpah directed, including Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia, arguably the grittest movie ever made. This will be the highlight for me, having never seen Garcia on the big screen. Other great films included are Straw Dogs, The Getaway and a restored Director’s Cut of Major Dundee.

As a student of the School of Sam, I’m going to try to see as many of these films as I can. Peckinpah shines on the big screen. Most notably in The Wild Bunch. American cinema doesn’t get much better than this vividly shot tale of society moving past the Old West and a gang of outsiders aiming for one last shot at redemption.

One glaring ommission from the AFI schedule is Peckinpah’s World War II masterpiece Cross of Iron. But I’ll let AFI slide on that one. Having the guts to show Straw Dogs and Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia within in a week of each other is a move even old Sam would’ve admired.

Click here for a schedule of the Sam Peckinpah Retrospective.

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