Box art for Blackthorn


  • Rated R
  • HD and SD formats available

independent, special interest

Sam Shepard is Butch Cassidy in this thrilling western about the legendary outlaw's return from exile.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Blackthorn reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: If nothing else, the film reminds just how arresting an actor Shepard can be. Like Blackthorn, he's only gotten better with age.

- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fresh: Spanish director Mateo Gil reappraises the last desperado's legend in a funny, violent examination of America and American cowboy films.

- Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fresh: Gil's alternative history gets one thing bang-on right: If Butch were to live into his senior days, he'd absolutely have to be played by Shepard.

- Eric Hynes, Time Out New York, Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Cast: Sam Shepard, Stephen Rea, Magaly Solier, Eduardo Noriega, Daniel Aguirre, Dominique McElligott, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Padraic Delaney, Cristian Mercado, Luis Bredow Director: Mateo Gil Summary: This Western imagines the later career of Butch Cassidy, who escapes to Bolivia where he leads a quiet life with the woman he loves. That is until he meets up with a Spanish robber who promises him one last adventure he can't refuse. My Thoughts: "I am not familiar with the story since I'm not a big fan of westerns Although this isn't really a traditional western either. That being said, I did enjoy the movie. I found the story to very interesting and I thought Sam Shepard did an amazing job. I liked the flashbacks cause it helped those like me ,who are not familiar with the story, get the back-story on what is going on and how he came to be the way he is. Enjoyable and worth seeing."

- LWOODS04, Tuesday, January 24, 2012

4 stars

Blackthorn is a truly great, meditative, smart, and beautiful Western that is also undoubtedly one of the best films of 2011. The screenplay is very well written, full of excellent dialogue and nuance. Sam Shepard's performance was also impressive, completely inhibiting the character. The film is methodically paced, but still maintains the right atmosphere and tone throughout. Also of note is the exceptional cinematography, capturing the vastness of Bolivia while also giving it the appropriate western feel. Note: Though it is a continuation of the story left off in the brilliant Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the tone of Blackthorn is significantly different. That, and its' use of its' own flashbacks, should prevent anyone from thinking that it's a direct sequel, though it is essentially true to the earlier films' story.

- fb704730572, Friday, December 30, 2011

3 stars

Man, now that's one heck of a poster! It's all dark and pale, with Sam shepard holding a shotgun right in front of his serious face, with a title like "Blackthorn" bursting out from under the picture! Then, just as you're about to jump up and pump your fists in the air in the name of glorious manhood, you suddenly realize "Oh wait, this is another movie about Butch Cassidy...zzZZ-Top". Well, manly men, stop all of your dreaming about every girl being crazy about a sharp dressed man, because although this is certainly not "Hobo with a Shotgun Hits the Dusty Trails", as you would assume from the poster, it's still pretty entertaining, or at least in comparison of a certain other film. Okay, now, I have respect for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", but really, how could you turn a film about about "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", into a snooze-fest? Well, before Guy Ritchie gets a hold of that title, this is as close as we're gonna get when it comes to fully portraying the charisma in everyone's favorite train robber... by showing him in his old age? Okay, so it's not quite as riveting as "Wyatt Earp", (Yes, I said it) but it's still faster than "Butch and Sundance"... but then again, that's not saying much. Okay, with me calling this faster than "Butch and Sundance", I kept tap dancing around the fact that although this film isn't nearly as tedious as "Butch and Sundance", it's still pretty slow. Okay, it's really dull; maybe not tedious, but still too dull to keep you consistently engaged. It doesn't help that there comes a deal of points that feel rather monotonous and uninspired. Really, from development, to even the pretty weak soundtrack, so much of this film does feel rather unispired, but it does really pickup, but only towards the end, and that is too little, too late. I said earlier that this is about as close as we're gonna get with fully portraying the charisma in Cassidy, but really, I think I was a bit off, because from a writing standpoint, this doesn't so much feel like a fascinating "what-if" tale about a surviving Butch Cassidy, as much as it feels like your usual dime-a-dozen western storyline. Still, although the writing and directing isn't all there, Shepard is, enough so that most every loose end in the Butch Cassidy character left by the writers and director is tied up by him, and him alone. Still, although our filmmakers don't quite do as good of a job at setting the right tone in our character as our lead performer, there are a good deal of important things in the tone that they do a fine job at executing. Now, we've seen portrayals of the roaring early 1900s as lively, very modernized places, as well as portrayals of the old west as, well, dirt, but what a lot of people don't realize is that even as late as the 1920s, all you would have needed to do was step in the right direction before you found a world where these two radically different environments were one in the same. The production designers totally get that, giving this film such a western feel, but pulling back enough to fit in elements of the new world in a smooth and believable fashion. The cinematography also has a hand in setting that tone, as it has that grain and grit that you would find in any of Joe Schmo's westerns, but also has some glimpses of subtle, yet noticeable life and light to keep this environment feeling rather contemporary to its time. Still, if that's not enough to convince you of the time change, then allow me to say that the writers at least did something unique, and that would be those flashback sequences, which give us a chance to compare the two worlds and really see the major differences, giving us a sense of what Butch Cassidy might have gone through as the new world barreled in. Still, the real purpose those flashback sequences are to, well, force a sense that this is Butch Cassidy, and although they are rather entertaining and unique in terms of storytelling for a film like this, they still don't do much to establish our lead. Of course, that's where Shepard comes in, standing out from his cast of colorful fellow talents (Of course, just to be honest Stephen Rea is the best performance), by really embodying the slick charm and brood of Butch Cassidy in a layered and believable way, which is still way more than you can say about the filmmakers. The lack of inspiration behind the film definately dilutes Shepard's hard work, but he still really brings Cassidy back to life on the whole, providing the strong presence needed to become as compelling of a character as the certainly-late-by-now legend of a charismatic outlaw was. When it's all said and done, dullness is only one of the many reflections of the lack of inspiration that went into making this film nothing above an average western, but life and layers in both the production and acting set what tones they can well enough to leave "Blackthorn" to stand a still improvable, yet generally interesting study on the possible life Mr. Robert LeRoy Parker could have lead. 2.5/5 - Fair

- crossbladezero, Friday, November 11, 2011