I completely agree. I think the scene where Will and the Schofield Kid are waiting for their money is one of the most beautiful and thematically strongest scenes in the picture. It also sums up the entire film to me when Will says "we all have it comin, kid". And that fact is furthered even stronger when Will replies to Little Bill's final words.Ives wrote:Regarding Unforgiven - One could argue that Munny is meting out justice to those who deserve it but believe themselves to be innocent. Clearly, in this film, noone is forgiven. I never thought the title referred only to Munny. It refers to all the characters in the film, except perhaps the prostitute with the cut up face, and maybe Davy-boy. The cowboy who does that to her, the women who plot against him, the owner of the saloon, Little Bill, etc; all are culpable for something, whether it is the inability to control rage, or the desire to seek revenge, or the refusal to treat people equally. All the characters spiral into chaos. And there is Munny, the Angel of Death, guiltless and conscience-less as he carries out judgment.
I don't view this as an atheist film. I see it as a conscious expression of the world, twisted by violence, corruption, and denial of God.
I love the film, and I love hearing other people's views on it! Sorry to tangent-ize!
To me, there are many things about the film that make it classic. The first being that watching it, one gets the feeling that this is not just making a statement about the Western genre of film. It's about the conflicts and feelings we all face in society when violence enters the picture. Vengeance, anger, loss, sadness, depression are all vital themes in Westerns, and this was no exception.
The second thing is purely the fact that you have two of the greatest leading men of the 2nd half of the 20th century carrying this picture on their own until the climax. That said, one would immediately conjure up Once Upon A Time In The West with Bronson and Fonda. But to me, it's something more that resembles what Michael Mann pulled off when he did Heat not too long after Unforgiven with DeNiro and Pacino. Both Clint's and Gene's characters mirror the DeNiro and Pacino characters in a similar way, with one being sullen and quiet and the other being brash and full of bravado. That said, I'm definitely not accusing Michael of simply ripping off Clint, both films definitely live in their own space otherwise. It's just an interesting comparison.
The final thing is that this probably killed off the Hollywood Western as being a great film. Not many have come since then, as far as mainstream films. My hope is that one day a daring indie director does with the Western what Leone and Peckinpah did over 40 years ago now, and subverts it once again without sacrificing respect and honor to the old traditions of the way John Ford and others did.