The Long Riders R CC

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(283) IMDb 7.1/10
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The most notorious American bandits of the 19th century were very probably the Jesse James/Cole Younger gang. In this unique look at their lives and world, director Walter Hill cast all real-life brothers as the brothers-in-arms. The film concentrates "on familiar rituals--the funeral, the hoe-down, the robbery (a stunning tour de force in slow motion)--Hill pas tribute to such directors as Ford, Hawks, and Ray, emphasizes the mythic aspects of the Western and focuses on the subject of kinship and the land..."(Time Out). As the brothers rob and carouse through the West, pursued by bumbling lawmen, the feel to the viewer is as if he/she were actually there in the unpredictable, unconventional, raw America of the 1870s. Music by Ry Cooder.

David Carradine, Keith Carradine
1 hour 40 minutes

The Long Riders

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Product Details

Genres Western
Director Walter Hill
Starring David Carradine, Keith Carradine
Supporting actors Robert Carradine, James Keach, Stacy Keach, Dennis Quaid, Randy Quaid, Kevin Brophy, Harry Carey Jr., Christopher Guest, Nicholas Guest, Shelby Leverington, Felice Orlandi, Pamela Reed, James Remar, Fran Ryan, Savannah Smith Boucher, Amy Stryker, James Whitmore Jr., John Bottoms
Studio MGM
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Out of focus film.
Good plot and action throughout the movie.
Chris M. Fossel
Couldn't get into this movie, too slow.
Linda Ann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Doug Vaughn HALL OF FAME on May 8, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I don't know why I am such a sucker for this film. It is too long, uneven, very slow in parts and certainly doesn't provide a happy ending. But it is one of the most honest yet entertaining westerns I have ever seen. The qimmick of using the Keach brothers as Frank and Jesse James and the Carradine brothers as the three members of the Younger family (plus throwing in the Quaid brothers for good measure)works wonderfully well. Always picturesque, frequently violent and bloody, this film evokes the unstable time just after the Civil War when the James and Younger gang were at their height. A terrific contrast is drawn between the James men, who are depicted as dedicated homebodies when not at "work", and the Youngers who are depicted as boisterous hell-raisers. Pamela Reed as Belle Starr is a standout in an already excellent cast. When Cole Younger and her husband square off for a knife fight she just smiles and declares "You boys sure do keep me entertained." The same could be said for this film. It is by far the best Jesse James film ever made, and with its sound track by Rye Cooder, a pleasant experience to revisit every year or so.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Claude Avary on March 21, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Just as the 80s were beginning and the Western was about to take a sad, decade long sleep, Walter Hill, fresh from his unexpected success with the gang film "The Warriors," turned out this unique and utterly remarkable Western about the James-Younger gang. Using real-life brothers to play the outlaw kin (two Keaches, three Carradines, two Quaids, two Guests), Hill crafts an intense character study that plays like a collaboration between Western great John Ford ("Stagecoach") and Japanese master Akira Kurosawa ("Yojimbo", a film Walter Hill later remade as "Last Man Standing").
"The Long Riders" is close to plotless, but it paints a fascinating picture of the gang and the family and community ties that keep them together (the Ford influence right was his great theme) while delving into the nuances of each character (this is where the fraternal casting really helps out). And Hill acheives all this depth in only 100 minutes! The action sequences are the best in a Western since Sam Peckinpah; the Northfield robbery is particularly striking and brutal.
Aside from Hill and all the great actors, cinematography Ric Waite and composer Ry Cooder deserve special mention for the film's success. Waite creates an authentic "period" look with his deep, glowing photography; the DVD transfer captures this perfectly for the first time. Cooder's score is completely against the grain for the time: small, intimate, and filled with forgotten folk tunes that help paint a picture of a united, family-built community. It is almost a companion piece for David Mansfield's equally intimate score for "Heaven's Gate," released the same year as "The Long Riders.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This appears to be a pretty accurate account of the James-Younger Gang, focusing on their Northfield, Minnesota bank robbery.
The James and the Youngers are protrayed as outlaws who were influenced by thier civil war service in and around Missouri. They had killed and stolen in service to their cause and then kept it up after the war ended. But they are not shown in a particularly heroic light.
Instead, they are shown as clannish desperadoes who are supported by the locals. David Carradine in particular does a good job as Cole Younger. The movie does a good job showing the peer pressure put on them after the Pinkerton people get their brother killed. It also shows the Ford brothers selling out Jesse James' life to the Pinkertons.
It does leave out the part in Northfield where the citizenry supposedly went into a hardware store and began grabbing rifles off the shelves with which to repel the invaders.
This movie gets gorey and gritty in spots, has cathouse scenes, and is not a "cowboy" movie to show to young kids.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Don G. Schley on February 15, 2008
Format: DVD
"The Long Riders" is one of the best Westerns ever made. It concerns one specific facet of the West treated now in only three other films, all of which concern the post-Civil War careers of the Missouri riders: those men and boys who threw in their hands with Bloody Bill Anderson, William Quantrill, Archie Clements and other guerrilla leaders in response to the horrific depredations of the murderers and rapists from Kansas styling themselves "Jayhawkers" and "Redleggers" (the union militia from Kansas, known for their red gaiters). The other three films are "The Outlaw Josey Wales", "Ride with the Devil", and most recently, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford".

Each of these films takes its measure of literary license, but each succeeds in recreating the historical reality of that era for modern viewers. "The Outlaw Josey Wales" is truest to the Western genre, while the other three all compete for historical accuracy in their own ways. "The Long Riders" is probably the best in its depiction of these men as continuing the Civil War in their own way, employing military-style tactics learned from their Missouri guerrilla leaders to rob trains and banks, and always wearing their distinctive, long grey dusters, which gave them the name "The Long Riders" (a name continued by Bill Doolin, Bill Dalton and the rest of the Oklahoma Long Riders).

The casting of the Keach, Carradine, and Quaid brothers as the James, Younger, and Miller (Ed and Clell) boys is a great touch, and Ry Cooder's arrangement of the music sets the period atmospherics perfectly (so much so that even "The Assassination of Jesse James" has to include a bit of "The Unreconstructed Rebel" with its defiant addendum from the Missouri riders: "I don't want no pardon, for anything I done.").
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