Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: A Pioneering Classic

The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy

At first, the film was supposed to be called The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy. The role of Sundance was offered to Jack Lemmon (whose production company, JML, produced the film Cool Hand Luke, also with Paul Newman). Lemmon turned down the role, though, because he hated riding horses. He also didn’t want to play yet another Sundance Kid type of character.

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Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Photo by 20th Century Fox / Campanile Productions / Newman-Foreman Company / Kobal / Shutterstock

Other actors considered for the role were Steve McQueen and Warren Beatty, but they both turned it down. According to screenwriter William Goldman, both McQueen and Newman read the script at the same time, and each agreed to do the film. But McQueen backed out due to disagreements with Newman. There’s also the fact that studio executives wouldn’t give McQueen top billing across the board.

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