The Wild Bunch (1969)

Rating: ****
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Cast: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

Sam Peckinpah's shockingly violent Western masterpiece about a group of outlaws who end up making a stand against an overwhelming Mexican force. Strong themes of honor, loyalty, betrayal, and sacrifice pervade the film, much like the films of John Woo that would follow some twenty years later. Tough and grisled William Holden leads the group of renegades and delivers a hard-assed no-nonsense performance. A fantastic film, even for people who don't like Westerns. Most notably, this film was banned when it was originally released in 1969 due to its extremely gruesome and realistic depictions of violence, and was the first film to use squibs to simulate bullet wounds (and they look damn good too).