7.5/10
167,542
471 user 278 critic

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

Trailer
2:21 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Andrew Dominik

Writers:

Andrew Dominik (screenplay), Ron Hansen (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
1,392 ( 700)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 26 wins & 68 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brad Pitt ... Jesse James
Mary-Louise Parker ... Zee James
Brooklynn Proulx ... Mary James
Dustin Bollinger ... Tim James
Casey Affleck ... Robert Ford
Sam Rockwell ... Charley Ford
Jeremy Renner ... Wood Hite
Sam Shepard ... Frank James
Garret Dillahunt ... Ed Miller
Paul Schneider ... Dick Liddil
Joel McNichol ... Express Messenger
James Defelice James Defelice ... Baggagemaster (as James DeFelice)
J.C. Roberts J.C. Roberts ... Engineer
Darrell Orydzuk Darrell Orydzuk ... Ukranian Train Passenger
Jonathan Erich Drachenberg Jonathan Erich Drachenberg ... Young Train Passenger
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Storyline

Taking place in Missouri in the early 1880s, the film dramatizes the last seven months in the life of famed outlaw Jesse James, beginning with the Blue Cut train robbery of 1881 and culminating in his assassination at the hands of Robert Ford the following April. In the time between these two fateful events, the young and jealous Ford befriends the increasingly mistrustful outlaw, even as he plots his demise. Written by Cole Matthews

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The town of Creede, Colorado was recreated in Alberta at a cost of $1 million. See more »

Goofs

Jesse James uses the term "gunslinger" but this term didn't come into use until at least the 1920's. Terms for outlaw gunmen appropriate for the time would have been gunman, pistoleer, shootist, or even gunfighter. See more »

Quotes

[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 ...
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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 »


Soundtracks

The Ballad of Jesse James
Traditional
Arranged by Nick Cave
Performed by Nick Cave
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User Reviews

 
A hauntingly beautiful film
16 October 2007 | by rick-j-walshSee all my reviews

Andrew Dominik's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, is a deliberately paced, stunningly visualized, and emotionally charged exploration of the early development of mass media celebrity in America. The film riveted my attention for two hours and 40 minutes, and has remained on my mind for several days after my viewing. Although centered on one of the iconic legends of the Old West, it is far beyond an updated reincarnation of the Western. It is an epic allegory about the development of the American cult of celebrity and the effects of this obsession on the individuals caught in its web.

Visually, the film soars beyond anything that has hit the screen since Conrad Hall's final masterpiece with Road to Perdition. Roger Deakins, the cinematography genius behind The Shawshank Redemption, Kundun, and all the Cohen brothers" films since The Hudsucker Proxy, surpasses his best work. He pulls out all the stops here—intricately orchestrated changes in focus, richly textured colors, dazzling use of light sources, careful manipulations of time, powerfully significant fade-ins and fade-outs, and shots through rain, snow, and rippled old glass—to communicate the story. Deakins' contribution stands out in the railroad train robbery sequence at the beginning of the film. Clearly defined, flickering light sources and deep black shadows create a dazzling, nightmarish vision that haunts the rest of the film. This sequence alone is worth the price of admission.

The richly textured, historically precise visual aspects of the film bring to mind Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven and Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller. However, instead of the understated, "realistic" performances featured in those films, The Assassination of Jesse James…showcases powerful, yet still realistic performances by an outstanding ensemble cast.

Sam Rockwell, as the not-too-bright but well-meaning Charley Ford, and Mary-Louise Parker, as Jesse's loving wife, stand out. Yet the film belongs to the two titular leads, both of whom deliver the performances of their careers and create characters filled with disturbing contradictions. Brad Pitt's Jesse James is alternately pitiable and terrifying—an affectionate, loving father, an old-before-his-time sage, an adventurous daredevil, an unrepentant bad boy, and a vicious sociopath. Casey Affleck's Robin Ford is a complex, repellent, and tragic character who challenges the audience's complicity in the undercurrents of the film.

All in all, this is a great film—not for those seeking the simple pleasures of instant gratification. But definitely worth the attention of those who still believe that movies are an art form.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA | Canada | UK

Language:

English | Danish

Release Date:

19 October 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Assassination of Jesse James See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$147,812, 23 September 2007

Gross USA:

$3,909,149

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,001,776
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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