Publication Date

April 2010


Lisa Dombrowski


Film Studies


English (United States)


At the height of Sam Peckinpah's fame during the 1970s, the controversy surrounding his films' graphic violence and his erratic behavior behind the scenes overshadowed his accomplishments as a filmmaker. In popular culture, Peckinpah remains the man responsible for the gruesome gunfights of The Wild Bunch and the reprehensible sexual violence in Straw Dogs. In the two decades since the director's death, there has been a scholarly reconsideration of Sam Peckinpah as an artist in his own right, but these works are wholly concerned with thematic interpretation and historical contextualization. Between 1969 and 1973, Peckinpah directed six films which I have identified as his mature works. These films display the truest expression of his narrative and stylistic preferences. My thesis undertakes a film-as-film reappraisal of these works, considering the cinematic techniques that Peckinpah relied on to condition the viewer’s sympathy towards the outlaws and renegades that populate his



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