Cards on the table: I love Paul Newman. He can do no wrong.
Ok. Now that we have that settled. The rest of the film is pretty damned good, too. This is the first film we've drawn that I'd seen before this little experiment and one I definitely didn't mind watching again.The only thing slightly new about this watching is I watched it on BluRay (worth it) and it's the only thing today that was going to stop me from watching the entire third season of Veronica Mars in one sitting (but that's another thing altogether).
So, besides the fact that this is a masterful, gorgeous, Oscar-winning, witty, quietly hilarious, satirical take on the Western featuring two of the best and sexiest male actors to ever wink at the camera who then went on to use names from the film for an iconic film festival and a children's charity (Redford founded Sundance and Newman the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp if you've been under a rock), why might 1001 Movies include this one on the list? I think because the authors somehow had the premonition that we two girls might just throw a hissy fit if it weren't.
I do disagree with one point in the book: "The Burt Bacharach song interlude, 'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,' is the only dated element." I think the song is so dated it's fun and kitschy again. I might argue that, instead, "South American Getaway" (go to amazon and listen to the clip) is the only slightly dated part--the vocals just SCREAM late 60s/early 70s. But, that's not to say it doesn't work.