The Unknown Prequel to One of Paul Newman’s Best Films – Hollywood’s Trendsetter


Today, the term ”prequel” is widely used in the film industry, but you may not know the movie that popularized this narrative maneuver… with the permission of The Godfather Part II.

If there’s one thing we’ve become accustomed to in recent years, it’s that sequels aren’t the only way to expand a franchise, whether it’s movies, games, or books. Remakes, reboots, spin-offs… and, of course, prequels.

Some examples? The famous Star Wars trilogy (Episodes I, II, and III), Peter Jackson’s prequel trilogy of The Hobbit, or even Red Dead Redemption 2 in the world of video games.

There are different theories about the origin of the term ”prequel”. It is said that it was invented by J.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and also the American writer Anthony Boucher.

In the world of cinema, perhaps the first prequel we remember is The Godfather Part II, as one of its two plots told us the origins of Vito Corleone, father of Michael, and protagonist of the first film, played by Marlon Brando.

However, there is another film released in the 1970s that popularized prequels in Hollywood, especially because it’s based on a legendary western film by Paul Newman.

The origin story of Butch Cassidy that didn’t turn out so well

Any movie lover remembers one of Paul Newman’s best works, released in 1969, and it is also part of the best westerns in the history of cinema.

We’re talking about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which became a legendary classic of the genre. It even gave rise to the popular song by David Bustamante.

What you may not know is that this masterpiece had a sequel. Or, rather, a prequel, set years before the events of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Los primeros golpes de Butch Cassidy y Sundance

However, neither Paul Newman nor Robert Redford participated in this prequel, entitled Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, which was translated in Spain as Los primeros golpes de Butch Cassidy y Sundance.

It was released in 1979, ten years after the first, directed by Richard Lester (director of Superman III). Tom Berenger played a young Cassidy, while Wiliam Katt embodied Sundance.

It wasn’t the first prequel in the history of cinema, but it is remembered for its popularity in the 1970s. However, the absence of Newman and Redford was a big blow.

Neowestern: ¡viva la hibridación de géneros!

While not a bad film, Los primeros golpes de Butch Cassidy y Sundance fell far short of the original. Currently, it has an average of 5.7/10 on IMDB and 5.2 out of 10 on FilmAffinity.

Did you know about this prequel to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? It is quite unknown to the general public, but the lovers of western cinema certainly know of its existence. Whether or not it is the first prequel of its kind in cinema, the fact is that it popularized a trend that is very widespread today.

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