7.0/10
3,919
54 user 30 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 Tremendous Dramatic Thrills Of the Midwest's Lawless Era will burst from our screen... See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in and around Pineville, MO, this was Tyrone Power's first location shoot. See more »

Goofs

After they get Jesse out of jail, in the head-on shot of Frank and Jesse riding while being chased by the posse, road dust from the camera truck is visible ahead of them. See more »

Quotes

Bob Ford: [masked and holding a gun on train passengers] If you don't know what this is, folks, it's a hold-up!
[a woman screams]
Bob Ford: Stay in your seats, keep your hands in sight, and the gent who just threwed his pocketbook in the spittoon will kindly take it out and wipe it clean before we get to him.
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 »

Alternate Versions

All UK versions were cut by 13 secs by the BBFC to remove footage of horse-falls including the controversial scene of a horse fatally falling from a cliff. See more »

Connections

Featured in The True Story of Jesse James (1957) 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 »

User Reviews

Why criticize the movie for not being faithful to the truth?
16 November 2004 | by Django6924See all my reviews

It is no less realistic in its own way than The Wild Bunch, which was as highly stylized and artificial as a ballet. The filmmakers simply wanted to create an American Robin Hood, which they did very successfully. Power is not weak in

the title role at all, but his role as written lacks the complexity some

commentators are insisting upon. Fonda is excellent playing the role that he played over and over the next decade or so. The family scenes are to me very touching. What nobody mentioned is the wonderful locale--actually shot in the Ozarks rather than Simi Valley or the Fox ranch. Having been raised in

Independence, Mo and growing up on the James boys legends, this is a major

plus over other versions, and I think the movie is a triumph. Those who don't find fault with it because it isn't made according to today's standards of

film-making style should enjoy it thoroughly. That said, my own favorite James movie is The Long Riders, especially thanks to the incomparable Carradines.

Following closely is The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, an even loonier

distortion of history, but eminently satisfying!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,444
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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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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