PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KIDR, 1973, MGM/UA Home Video, $19.95.

In 1972, when Sam Peckinpah first signed on with MGM to tell the story of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, he was fresh from the financial success of "The Getaway" and in a stronger position in Hollywood than at any other time in his career. Rudy Wurlitzer wrote the script for the film -- Kris Kristofferson is Billy and James Coburn plays Pat Garrett -- but Peckinpah rewrote it so that the story would be told in flashback, using Garrett's death as a framing device. (Bob Dylan also plays a supporting role, a sort of Shakespearean Fool named Alias, and wrote the film's score.) As Peckinpah conceived it, Garrett was the film's main character; the director identified with the choices he faced -- about honor and loyalty and selling out -- and drew parallels to his own fights with the studio and with Hollywood in general. Peckinpah lost his battles over the picture and when it was released, scenes that were essential to his vision of the story were lost and the structure was rearranged. The full extent of the desecration wasn't evident until last year, when Peckinpah's cut was finally screened around the country. (It's now just being made available on video.) The film is truly a lost masterpiece, resonant, lulling and elegiac. It was Peckinpah's last great movie; no other film last year came close to matching its power or its mastery of the medium. -- Hal Hinson

BAD INFLUENCE R, 1990, 99 minutes, RCA/Columbia Home Video, $89.95.

Art imitates life, or was it all a publicity stunt? Needle-nosed poseur Rob Lowe finds his niche as a spooky playboy pitted against a financial analyst in this warmed-over, fast-lane suspense thriller. Costar James Spader, the impotent voyeur of "sex, lies, and videotape," finds himself on the other side of the hand-held camera in this lesser, Los Angeles-set variation on "Apartment Zero." David Koepp, who wrote the scripts for both films, reuses the other thriller's premise sans homoerotica. Michael (Spader) is an ambitious mid-level executive who is feeling pressured by his fiancee, Muffy, and a corporate nemesis when he falls under the spell of the self-assured Alex (Lowe), an enigmatic stranger who takes his side in a bar fight. Before you can say "Less Than Zero," Alex introduces the yuppie naif to the thrills of underground nightclubs, nose candy, drunken driving, easy women in black and convenience store robberies. By the time Michael realizes he's struck a bargain with El Diablo, there's a dead chippy in his bedroom and blood all over his nine-iron. Like his counterpart in "Apartment Zero," the terrified Alex regains his soul only by turning his mentor's own methods against him. It's a surprisingly humorous effort by director Curtis Hanson of the Hitchcock-spoofy "The Bedroom Window." But in light of Lowe's real-life video escapades, there's something unsavory about watching him writhe in a three-way sack thing with the camera rolling. Besides, we barely recognize him without his black modesty boxes. -- Rita Kempley

NUNS ON THE RUN

PG-13, 1990, CBS/Fox, 94 minutes, $89.98.

As cross-dressed comedies go, "Nuns on the Run" is a celibate "Some Like It Hot." Set in a cloistered Catholic girls' college, it is an irreverent assortment of Hail Mary gags -- as in let's get the fat guy stuck in the window, and Hail Mary, maybe somebody'll laugh. Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane play petty crooks who disguise themselves as Sister Euphemia and Sister Inviolata to elude their ruthless gangland boss, the British bobbies and a rival tong of Chinese money-launderers. Sister Inviolata (Coltrane), who is supposed to be a gas simply because he's a hog in a wimple, becomes a gym teacher and gets all flustered while ogling the buff students in the showers. Sister Euphemia attracts the college's flirty Father Seamus as well as a nearsighted waitress (Camille Coduri, borrowing Marilyn Monroe's myopic shtick from "How to Marry a Millionaire"). Talk about your twisted sisters. -- Rita Kempley

COUPE DE VILLE

PG-13, 1990, 98 minutes, MCA/Universal.

"Coupe de Ville" floats along like a classic Caddy, spruce but not pretentious, nostalgic but not schmaltzy, impractical as a teenager's dreams. Based on the memories of writer Mike Binder, it is a comically sentimental journey taken by three estranged brothers whose young egos are as easily bruised as the chrome bumpers of yesteryear. Daniel Stern, Patrick Dempsey and Arye Gross are the refreshingly ordinary Binder brothers reunited when their father asks them to drive a '54 Cadillac from Michigan to Florida for their mother's 50th birthday. Stern, the eldest, is an Air Force sergeant inclined to lord it over Dempsey, a new college graduate, and Gross, a rebel in boarding school. A bit slow to get rolling, the comedy picks up quirks and momentum as they cruise south, and their differences in age, taste and temperament turn the convertible into an upholstered hell on wheels. Though directed by Joe Roth of "Young Guns" and "Major League," the movie has the emotional colors of one of Barry Levinson's Baltimore stories, surprisingly pensive and character-driven. The genuinely likable leads are aided by veterans Alan Arkin and Joseph Bologna as their crusty father and high-rolling uncle, who at once love but can't stand each other. Realizing that he doesn't want that for his sons, Arkin devises this cross-country reunion. It's a prickly but evocative comedy that puts an arm around you, a look at brotherly love while whistling along America's blue highways. -- Rita Kempley