7.1/10
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50 user 29 critic

Jesse James (1939)

After railroad agents forcibly evict the James family from their family farm, Jesse and Frank turn to banditry for revenge.

Directors:

Henry King, Irving Cummings (uncredited)

Writer:

Nunnally Johnson (original screen play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyrone Power ... Jesse James
Henry Fonda ... Frank James
Nancy Kelly ... Zerelda - aka Zee
Randolph Scott ... Will Wright
Henry Hull ... Maj. Rufus Cobb
Slim Summerville ... Jailer
J. Edward Bromberg ... Mr. Runyan
Brian Donlevy ... Barshee
John Carradine ... Bob Ford
Donald Meek ... Mc Coy
Johnny Russell ... Jesse James Jr. (as John Russell)
Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Samuels
Charles Tannen ... Charles Ford
Claire Du Brey ... Mrs. Bob Ford
Willard Robertson ... Clarke
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Storyline

The railroads are squeezing farmers off their land. When a railroad agent kills their mother, Frank and Jesse James take up robbing banks and trains. The public regard them as heroes. When Jesse retires his erstwhile friend Robert Ford shoots him in the back to get the reward. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Epic Story of the most Colourful Outlaw who ever lived See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 January 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Darryl F. Zanuck's Production of Jesse James See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Carradine and Donald Meek were also in Stagecoach (1939), the other hit western of 1939. See more »

Goofs

When Frank breaks Jesse out of jail, it's clear that the action is taking place at night. The note mentions 12 and the characters repeatedly say "tonight" "before this night is over", etc, but when Jesse and Frank emerge from the jail it is broad daylight. See more »

Quotes

Engineer: What you aimin' to do, pardner?
Jesse Woodson James: I ain't aimin' to do nuthin'. I'm doin' it. I'm holdin' up this train.
Engineer: The whole train?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: After the tragic war between the states, America turned to the winning of the West. The symbol of this era was the building of the trans-continental railroads.

The advance of the railroads was, in some cases, predatory and unscrupulous. Whole communities found themselves victimized by an ever-growing ogre - the Iron Horse.

It was this uncertain and lawless age that gave to the world, for good or ill, its most famous outlaws, the brothers Frank and Jesse James. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Lucille Ball (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh Susanna
(1846) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Played on harmonica offscreen by prisoner Jesse James in jail
Sung a cappella by Nancy Kelly and Tyrone Power with modified lyrics
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hey, Hollywood: James Was A Crook!
10 July 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This had a great cast with big-name stars like Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Randolph Scott, Nancy Kelly, Henry Hull and Brian Donlevey and a bunch more lesser-but-known names with shorter roles. It also had Technicolor, one of the few movies made with it in 1939.

Now the bad news.......regrettably, I can't say much positive for the story. It portrayed the James boys in a totally positive light....and Hollywood has done that ever since. Why these criminals are always shown to be the "good guys" is beyond me. This film glamorizes them and made their enemies - the railroad people - into vicious human beings. The latter was exaggerated so much it was preposterous. Well, that's the film world for you: evil is good; good is bad.

Hey Hollywood: here's a news flash - The James boys were criminals! Really - look it up!


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