Warner Bros. resubmitted the film to the MPAA ratings board prior to an expected re-release, the originally R-rated film was given an NC-17, delaying the release until the decision was appealed.
The controversy was linked to 10 extra minutes added to the film, although none of this footage contained graphic violence. Warner Bros. trimmed some footage to decrease the running time to ensure additional daily screenings. When the restored film finally made it to the screen in March 1995, one reviewer noted:
By restoring 10 minutes to the film, the complex story now fits together in a seamless way, filling in those gaps found in the previous theatrical release, and proving that Peckinpah was firing on all cylinders for this, his grandest achievement…. And the one overwhelming feature that the director’s cut makes unforgettable are the many faces of the children, whether playing, singing, or cowering, much of the reaction to what happens on-screen is through the eyes, both innocent and imitative, of all the children.
Today, almost all of the versions of the film include the missing scenes. Warner Bros. released a newly restored version in a two-disc special edition on January 10, 2006. It includes an audio commentary by Peckinpah scholars, two documentaries concerning the making of the film, and never-before-seen outtakes.
Several versions of the film exist
- The original, 1969 European release is 145 minutes long, with an intermission (per distributor’s request, before the train robbery).
- The original, 1969 American release is 143 minutes long.
- The second, 1969 American release is 135 minutes long, shortened to allow more screenings.
- The 1995 re-release is 145 minutes long, identical to the 1969 European release, the version labeled “The Original Director’s Cut”, available in home video.
|The Wild Bunch|
|Directed by||Sam Peckinpah|
|Produced by||Phil Feldman|
|Screenplay by||Sam Peckinpah|
|Story by||Walon Green|
Roy N. Sickner
|Music by||Jerry Fielding|
|Edited by||Lou Lombardo|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.-Seven Arts|