Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross
Plot: Butch and Sundance are the two leaders of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. Butch is all ideas, Sundance is all action and skill. The west is becoming civilized and when Butch and Sundance rob a train once too often, a special posse begins trailing them no matter where they run.
The real Butch Cassidy', whose name was actually Robert Leroy Parker) got his nickname because he once worked in a butcher's shop. The Sundance Kid--real name Harry Alonzo Longabaugh--got his nickname because he once was arrested in the Wyoming town of Sundance.
Lula Parker Betenson, sister of the real Butch Cassidy, often visited the set, and her presence was welcome to the cast and crew. During lulls in shooting she would tell stories about her famous brother's escapades, and was amazed at how accurately the script and Paul Newman portrayed him.
All the Bolivia scenes were filmed in Mexico, where almost the entire cast and crew, and the director, came down with Montezuma's Revenge (severe diarrhea caused by drinking Mexico's notoriously polluted water). Only Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Katharine Ross were spared, because they refused to drink the water catered on the set and stuck to drinking soda and alcohol for the duration of the shoot.
On the first day of shooting, involving the train robbery scenes, Katharine Ross came to the set to watch. There were five cameras and only four operators, so cinematographer Conrad L. Hall put her on the extra camera. He showed her how to operate it and how to move it to get her shot. Director George Roy Hill was furious, but said nothing the whole day. At the end of the day, however, he banned her from the set except when she was working.
Paul Newman did his own bicycle stunts, after his stunt man was unable to stay on the bike. The only one he didn't do was the scene where Butch crashes backwards into the fence, which was performed by cinematographer Conrad L. Hall.
Paul Newman said that this was the most fun he'd ever had making a film. He and Robert Redford drank a lot of beer in Mexico.
A scene that was cut had Cassidy, the Kid, and Etta in a Bolivian cinema and seeing a screen re-enactment of their gang, depicting Butch and Sundance as ruthless killers gunned down by the law. As the two men watch incredulously, shouting at the screen that it didn't happen that way, Etta walks off to the station to catch the train that would begin her journey back to America. George Roy Hill thought that the scene was "a little heavy-handed and unnecessary".
Other actors under consideration for the role of Sundance were Steve McQueen and Warren Beatty. McQueen withdrew due to billing disagreements, and Beatty declined as he found the film too similar to Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
William Goldman decided to make Etta a teacher because he had seen a photo of the real-life woman and decided she was too young and pretty to be a prostitute. In fact, most women of that profession in the old West looked haggard, unhealthy and coarse in the photos he had seen of them.
Though Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were reported killed in San Vicente, Bolivia, on November 7, 1908, the location of their grave has been lost. This has resulted in a long-lived conspiracy theory that their deaths were faked, or that two other men were killed and misidentified as them. Until the 1930s, several eyewitness claims reported encountering one or both men, yet the chronology and geography of the claims are often mutually exclusive. A handwriting expert has claimed that Spokane auto mechanic William T. Philips, who died in 1937, wrote in Cassidy's hand, yet other historians insists that Philips' and Cassidy's known whereabouts on a certain date mark them as separate individuals.
According to screenwriter William Goldman, his screenplay originally was entitled "The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy." Both Steve McQueen and Paul Newman read the script at approximately the same time and agreed to do it, with McQueen playing the Sundance Kid. When McQueen dropped out, the names reversed in the title, as Newman was a superstar.