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Robert Redford’s best movie had to change title because of Paul Newman

One of the best Westerns ever made originally had a different title. But actor Paul Newman's involvement with the film made everything turn on its head.

paul newman as cold hand luke

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid as we know it today could’ve been a lot different, actor Robert Redford revealed in an interview. Considered one of the best Westerns of all time, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid follow the two titular characters (played by Paul Newman and Redford respectively) as they daringly escape to Bolivia while on the run for a string of train robberies.

As well as winning multiple Academy Awards, the George Roy Hill-directed film was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress back in 2003, on the grounds that is considered “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” But how did one of the best movies of our time come to be?

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Robert Redford broke down the origins of the adventure movie’s name.

Speaking to the outlet, Redford also revealed that his role as the infamous Sundance Kid wasn’t actually what the director had in mind for him, initially.

“When I first met [director] George Roy Hill in a bar on Third Avenue in New York, I told him that I much more related to the outlaw character, the Sundance Kid, which was not the role he wanted me for,” he said.

“But George got excited and thought, ‘Hmm, I’m going to make this work.’ It was months and months of battle with the studio. The studio wanted a name as big as Paul Newman’s, and I was quite a ways down on the stardom ladder. And I’d never met Paul but he insisted that the studio support George. And because it was Paul Newman, they agreed.”

“The only thing they did was change the title,” he added. “It was called The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy — but they wanted Butch’s name first because that’s the part Paul was playing.”

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Although it was purely strategic decision, we have to admit — The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy don’t have the same kind of ring to it.

For more Western classics, you should check out our listicles detailing the best Clint Eastwood movies, and the 6 best Taylor Sheridan  TV series and movies. Of all Taylor Sheridan’s projects, his most iconic is the Western drama series Yellowstone, so be sure to check out our guides on the Yellowstone timeline, Yellowstone cast, and all the Yellowstone series ranked.

Or, if none of that curbs your appetite, look ahead with our guide to all the new movies coming this year.