Released the same year as Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971), this Sam Peckinpah film touched off innumerable debates about violence in the movies. But the difference between Kubrick and Peckinpah is the difference between impersonal sadism and an individual morality strongly expressed; though doubtlessly reactionary, Straw Dogs has the heat of personal commitment and the authority of deep (if bitter) contemplation. It is also moviemaking of a very high order. Dustin Hoffman’s performance, as the weak mathematician goaded into violence, is still his best. With Susan George, Peter Vaughan, and (unbilled) David Warner.
1 hour 58 min • 1971