It’s tough to mix excitement and melancholy, and few movies have ever done it better than 1969’s Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Written by William Goldman and directed by George Roy Hill, the movie’s at once whimsical and rueful, set in the long sunset of the Old West. Robert Redford and Paul Newman star as, respectively, Sundance and Butch, and from the first scene, in which a member of Butch’s gang challenges him for supremacy, there’s a sense that the heroes are running out of time. Yet the film nimbly keeps its characters a few steps ahead of obsolescence as long as it can. It shares some DNA with the revisionist Westerns appearing around the same time. (The Wild Bunch was released the same year.) But the film’s its own thing, and Conrad L. Hall’s cinematography makes it look far too mythic to be anyone’s definition of gritty.
Also excellent: Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” which figures prominently in the film, as sung by B.J. Thomas. And because the film appeared in an era of variety shows, that means Thomas got to make the variety show rounds with the song, including this appearance. Not sure what show it’s on, but it could be almost any from the period: