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Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid’s Classic Song Had A Whole Lot Of Haters

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During a Q&A for “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid” at the 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival, songwriter supreme Burt Bacharach remembered the film’s unforgettable use of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” causing quite a stir with Redford and a sizable chunk of 20th Century Fox’s executives. According to Bachrach, “I heard […] after the picture was made and done, Robert Redford said, ‘What the hell is that song doing in this film?'”

The song –- written by Bachrach and lyricist Hal David, and sung by B.J. Thomas –- accompanies a scene where Newman’s Cassidy whisks Sundance’s girl Etta Place (Katharine Ross) off on a bicycle, and tries to seduce her by performing a series of tricks on the vehicle. It’s a loopy moment that syncs up with the Hippie-fied “free love” movement, and gives Newman the opportunity to perform his own bike stunts for the amusement of his fans. It’s also a sequence that likely inspired a slew of corny music videos in the 1980s, but it fits in the context of Hill’s movie (and Ross has never looked more luminous onscreen, thanks in part to the scene being shot by her then boyfriend Conrad Hall).

Despite plenty of high-level pushback, Hill stood by the song, as did studio chief Richard D. Zanuck.



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