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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

R  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  19 October 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 130,319 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 396 user | 270 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

Robert Ford, who's idolized Jesse James since childhood, tries hard to join the reforming gang of the Missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 25 wins & 56 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Bollinger ...
Joel McNichol ...
Express Messenger
James Defelice ...
Baggagemaster (as James DeFelice)
J.C. Roberts ...
Darrell Orydzuk ...
Ukranian Train Passenger
Jonathan Erich Drachenberg ...
Young Train Passenger


The last months of Jesse James's life, from meeting Robert Ford, a 19-year-old who idolizes Jesse, to the day Ford shoots him. Jesse's a wanted man, living under a pseudonym, carrying out a train robbery, disappearing to Kentucky, and reappearing to plan a bank holdup with Robert and Robert's brother as his team. The rest of the gang is dead, arrested, or gone from Missouri. Whenever Jesse's around, there's tension: he's murderous, quixotic, depressed, and cautious. Ford wants to be somebody and wants the reward. On April 3, 1882, things come to a head: Jesse is 34, Robert 20. Ford becomes famous, reenacting the shooting on stage, facing down the label "coward," shot dead in 1892. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Beyond the myth lies America's greatest betrayal.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence and brief sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

19 October 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Assassination of Jesse James  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$147,812 (USA) (21 September 2007)


$3,904,982 (USA) (25 January 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Cinematographer Roger Deakins reckons that the arrival of the train in darkness is one of the high watermarks of his career. See more »


When Robert Ford is working in the general store, a bicycle leans against the wall. It's supposed a Highwheel, Ordinary, or Pennyfarthing bike. However, it's a contemporary model, intended for use by circus and parade riders, and only superficially similar to a period bike. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: He was growing into middle age, and was living then in a bungalow on Woodland Avenue. He installed himself in a rocking chair and smoked a cigar down in the evenings as his wife wiped her pink hands on an apron and reported happily on their two children. His children knew his legs, the sting of his mustache against their cheeks. They didn't know how their father made his living, or why they so often moved. They didn't even know their father's name. He was listed in the city ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film does not contain either an opening title nor intro credits. The film title is displayed first after the final fadeout. See more »


Oh, Susanna
Written by Stephen Foster
Sung by Unknown
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Great but hard to sell...
14 October 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you have watched the trailer and know this movie is two hours and forty minutes long you know what you are getting into and should not be disappointed. This movie delivers on every level of film making, be it cinematography, acting, or writing. Casey Affleck delivers a fantastic performance in how he portrays Robert Ford as the bright eyed fawning kid in a way so sincere it makes the audience uncomfortable even when it shouldn't. Brad Pitt underplays his part as Jesse James hitting all the right notes while never saying much. Exactly the way one would expect an outlaw to act when they have everything in the world to hide. I can't say the movie didn't FEEL two hours and forty minutes long but I never wanted it to end sooner than it did. I guess I just enjoyed the time I got to spend watching these characters for the full running time.

I loved this movie. Unfortunately, a long western without action is something seemingly impossible to sell to the public these days. It would be to the advantage of the studio to sell this like The English Patient was sold 10 years ago. Just make people feel like ignorant idiots if they don't like it! As much as it pains me to say it, I think most people don't care enough to bother seeing what makes this movie so great. The only other option to make this a success is to fool them into THINKING they love the movie. I'm really curious how many folks out there that like the movie agree with me here.

371 of 453 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Yet another movie rendered unwatchable - codad1946
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One of the most underrated movies ever. sheltiknong
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