"I wasn't trying to make an epic. I was trying to tell a simple story about bad men in changing times. 'The Wild Bunch' is simply about what happens when killers go to Mexico. The strange thing is that you feel a great sense of loss when these killers reach the end of the line."
"I detest machines. The problem started when they discovered the wheel. You're not going to tell me the camera is a machine; it is the most marvellous piece of divinity ever created."
"The end of a picture is always the end of a life."
"I created 'The Westerner' because of anger - anger at never-miss sheriffs, always-right marshalls, whitewashed gunfighters ... anger at TV's quick-draw tin gods who stand behind a tin star or ten cents' worth of righteous anger and justify their skill and slaughter with a self-conscious grin or a minute's worth of bad philosophy."
"The point of the film ['The Wild Bunch'] is to take this facade of movie violence and open it up, get people involved in it so they are starting to go in the Hollywood, television, predictable reaction syndrome and then twist it so that it's not fun anymore, just a wave of sickness in the gut ... It's ugly, brutalizing and bloody fucking awful. It's not fun and games and cowboys and Indians. It's a terrible, ugly thing. And yet there's a certain response that you get from it, an excitement because we're all violent people."
"The whole underside of our society has always been violence and still is. Churches, laws - everybody seems to think that man is a noble savage. But he's only an animal. A meat-eating, talking animal. Recognize it. He also has grace and love and beauty. But don't say to me we're not violent."
"The western is a universal frame within which it's possible to comment on today."
"A writer has his pencil and paper and goes hungry only for time to use them. A director must start with this driving need to make his picture."
"Don't let anyone kid you, it's bloody murder learning how to direct."
"Despair is the only unforgivable sin, and it is always reaching for us."
"I regard everything with irony, including the face I see in the mirror when I wake up in the morning."