Sam Peckinpah


David Samuel Peckinpah (February 21, 1925 – December 28, 1984) was an American film director and screenwriter who achieved prominence following the release of the Western epic The Wild Bunch (1969), with William Holden, Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, Edmond O’Brien, Ben Johnson, and Warren Oates. He was known for the visually innovative and explicit depiction of action and violence as well as his revisionist approach to the Western genre.

Peckinpah’s films generally deal with the conflict between values and ideals, as well as the corruption and violence in human society. His characters are often loners or losers who desire to be honorable, but are forced to compromise in order to survive in a world of nihilism and brutality. He was given the nickname “Bloody Sam” owing to the violence in his films. Early films includeThe Deadly Companions (1961), with Maureen O’Hara, Brian Keith, Steve Cochran, and Chill Wills; and Ride High the Country (1962), with Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, and Mariette Hartley.

Peckinpah’s combative personality, marked by years of alcohol and drug abuse, affected his professional legacy. Many of his films were noted for behind-the-scenes battles with producers and crew members, damaging his reputation and career during his lifetime. His other notable films include Major Dundee (1965), with Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton, and James Coburn; Straw Dogs (1971), with Dustin Hoffman and Susan George; Junior Bonner (1972), with Steve McQueen, Joe Don Baker, Robert Preston, and Ida Lupino; The Getaway (1972), with Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Ben Johnson, Al Lettieri, and Sally Struthers; Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), with Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Richard Jaeckel, Katy Jurado, Wills, Barry Sullivan, Jason Robards and Bob Dylan; Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) with Oates, Isela Vega, Robert Webber, Gig Young, Helmut Dantine, Emilio Fernández and Kristofferson; The Killer Elite (1975), with James Caan, Robert Duvall, Mako, Arthur Hill, Bo Hopkins, Burt Young and Gig Young, Tom Clancy and Tiana Alexandra; and Cross of Iron (1977), with Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason and David Warner.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)


  • The Deadly Companions (1961)
  • Ride the High Country (1962)
  • Major Dundee (1965)
  • The Wild Bunch (1969)
  • The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
  • Straw Dogs (1971)
  • Junior Bonner (1972)
  • The Getaway (1972)
  • Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)
  • Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
  • The Killer Elite (1975)
  • Cross of Iron (1977)
  • Convoy (1978)
  • The Osterman Weekend (1983)

Other Credits

  • Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) – directed by Don Siegel – uncredited production assistant
  • Private Hell 36 (1954) – directed by Don Siegel – dialogue director
  • Disk Red O (1955) – directed by Daniel B. Ullman – dialogue coach, uncredited actor
  • The Blue and the Gold (1955) – directed by Don Siegel – dialogue coach, uncredited actor
  • Wichita (1955) – directed by Jacques Tourneur – uncredited actor
  • World Without End (1956) – directed by Edward Bernds – uncredited dialogue coach
  • Crime in the Streets (1956) – directed by Don Siegel – dialogue director
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)** – directed by Don Siegel – actor
  • One-Eyed Jacks (1961) – directed by Marlon Brando – uncredited writer
  • The Glory Guys (1965) – directed by Arnold Laven – writer
  • Villa Rides (1968) – directed by Buzz Kulik – co-writer
  • Morbo (1972) – directed by Gonzalo Suarez – uncredited script supervisor
  • China 9, Liberty 37 (1978) – directed by Monte Hellman – actor
  • The Visitor (1979) – directed by Giulio Paradisi (as Michael J. Paradise) – actor
  • Jinxed! (1983) – directed by Don Siegel – uncredited 2nd unit director

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