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American Experience - Jesse James
American Experience - Jesse James
Actors: Michael Murphy, Phil Stewart, Fred Chiaventone, T.J. Stiles, Christopher Phillips
Director: Mark Zwonitzer
Genres: Westerns, Music Video & Concerts, Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
NR     2006     1hr 0min

The story of Jesse James remains one of America?s most cherished myths? and one of its most wrong-headed. Jesse James, so the legend goes, was a Western outlaw, though, in fact, he never went west; America?s own Robin Hoo...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Murphy, Phil Stewart, Fred Chiaventone, T.J. Stiles, Christopher Phillips
Director: Mark Zwonitzer
Creators: Mark Zwonitzer, Jamila Wignot, Katy Mostoller, Mark Samels, Dave Pearce, Henry Hampton, Rocky Collins
Genres: Westerns, Music Video & Concerts, Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Westerns, Genesis, Classic Rock, Television, Biography, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 11/14/2006
Original Release Date: 02/06/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 02/06/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Jesse James...The Good...The Bad...And The Ugly.
PALADIN | 02/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Having caught this on PBS, I was immediately motivated to purchase the DVD to include in my historical library. I have seen a longer documentary effort last year: "Jesse James; Outlaw-Legend-Terrorist", but found it too dependant upon sensationalism to get it`s point across.

Here, American Experience does it`s usual quality effort; Historians comment as Period Photos and Newspaper Headlines illustrate a concise, yet insightful sketch of one of the most famed--and fictionalized-- figures in American history.

Jesse James was a product of His Time, with the flawed attitudes and perspectives of his Generation armed to the teeth and given license to rampage and kill during the Civil War. That he continued and made personal his war with society AFTER the war ended is what has made an heroic legend out of a thief and murderer. The point is amply made that The James Gang were NOT a band of Robin Hoods, but a band of hoods out robbin`. The heroic mythos that sprang up was a pure invention rather than reflective of any real intention on the outlaw`s part.

Much has been written, filmed, and theorized about Jesse James.
Much of it flawed and false.

Where this documentary succeeds whilst others fail is in presenting the facts and also addressing James` monumental egotism and his inability to STOP being "Jesse James" even as the metaphorical rope was closing about his throat.

With the recent release of the film "The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford" ; I would recommend this documentary for anyone wanting a solid documentary as a research tie-in. This would have made an excellent 'extra' for that film. The focus on James` dark psyche is an aspect all-too-often overlooked by those who seek to either lionize the man or villify him.

Jesse James seems to be either A Hero or A Villain to most, and the facts here cover both bases.

No one as complex as James can be dispensed with a simple one-word summation.

So, whether your interest in Jesse James is one of Historical Biography or Psychological examination; you will find much to appreciate here.

The Bold Outlaw and The Curse Of Idolatry are well illustrated.

"