Monday, December 28, 2009

25 Years Ago Today: Sam Peckinpah Dies in Mexico...

David Samuel "Sam" Peckinpah (February 21, 1925 – December 28, 1984) was an American filmmaker and screenwriter who achieved his status following the release of his 1969 Western epic 'The Wild Bunch'. He became one of the major filmmakers of the 1970s, with his 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, and the corruption of violence in human society. He was given the nickname "Bloody Sam" due to the violence in his films. 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.

Peckinpah's combative personality, marked by years of alcohol and drug abuse, has in many ways overshadowed 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.

Peckinpah was seriously ill during his final years, as a lifetime of hard living began to catch up with him. Regardless, he continued to work until the last months before his death. He died of heart failure on December 28, 1984. At the time, he was in preparation for shooting an original script by Stephen King entitled "The Shotgunners".

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