When ‘The Wild Bunch’ was released in 1969 there were reports of people being stretchered out of cinemas after fainting during the prolonged, slow motion machine gun massacre which closes the film. The ambiguous rape scene in ‘Straw Dogs’ (1971) saw that film banned in Britain for 18 years. The title character of ‘Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia’ (1974) was a severed head roasting in the Mexican sun.
But it wasn’t just in his films that Sam Peckinpah, director of these movies, shocked. His behaviour on the set of ‘Major Dundee’ (1965) caused Charlton Heston to charge at him with a sabre. On his first day on the set of ‘Pat Garret & Billy the Kid’ (1973) a stunned Bob Dylan watched Peckinpah urinate on a screen to show his disapproval of the footage shot that day. He was thrown out of a tribute to Jimmy Cagney for fighting a waiter.
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