Date of Award

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Tasha Oren

Committee Members

Tasha Oren, Joe Austin, Peter Paik, Tami Williams, Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece


Film, Fromm, Individuation, Jung, Peckinpah, Road Movies


Sam Peckinpah is best known for his films The Wild Bunch (1969) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), and quite a bit of the existing scholarly work on Peckinpah focuses on these two films; what’s more, much of the work that does exist on his other films tends to be subjective and celebratory. The aim of this project is to critically and soberly examine Peckinpah’s relatively minor works and from particular perspectives. Specifically, this dissertation focuses on one of the major thematic threads that runs through all of the director’s films, both major and minor: how ordinary people individuate themselves through their opposition to power and capital. For Peckinpah, power takes many forms. God (and religion, generally) is an integral character in The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970), for example, and violent mobs, the police, and corrupt businessmen and politicians serve as antagonists in some of the other films examined here. Peckinpah’s protagonists all battle these forces, to varying degrees of success, and in turn attempt to affirm their own identities through this rejection. In addition to the film scholars used in this project, Erich Fromm, Carl Jung, and David Harvey are a few of the thinkers employed in my analysis of these films, primarily Peckinpah’s road movies and non-Westerns.