The true story of the legendary American outlaws. From 1866 to 1882, Missouri's Frank and Jesse James led a gang that robbed banks, held up trains and became the most famous outlaws in American history. After 15 years of... more » thievery, the legendary outlaws are trying to settle down. This is the last years of the brothers' lives, revealing Frank (Johnny Cash) as a book-loving and family-oriented man and brother Jesse (Kris Kristofferson) as a money-hungry womanizer.« less
"As much as you might want to renew your affection for Johny Cash in the wake of Walk the Line, steer clear of this movie. It will bring you up right quick on the limitations of Cash, Kristofferson and country music. Kristofferson can act but Cash is essentially playing himself as the family man with a guilt-ridden past. Sadly it's Cash that has to carry the movie.
The James gang was a nasty brutal bunch of murderers, and beyond one killing motivated by revenge, you really don't get the brutality. It's all the myth of Jesse James. He's a good ol' boy that just didn't like losing the Civil War. He's also dead shortly after the halfway mark of the movie.
The rest of the movie is about Frank James (Johny Cash) standing trial (he's acquitted - but Willie Nelson gets to testify on his behalf) and wondering if he should go after the man that killed his brother. Another actor (like Clint Eastwood) would have given a nuanced performance of the tensions between wanting revenge and knowing that the dead pretty much had it coming. Cash is just Cash.
Buy only if you are a diehard fan of Cash (he only sings on the credits) or really really curious, but be prepared to be disappointed."
Three and a half stars
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James is a good mix of historical facts with a lot of legend. It might be the most accurate movie version, but it's not entirely factual and makes good use of folklore. Legends about Frank and Jesse not having the same father, their Indian wives, and an affair Jesse supposedly had are all worked into the movie. My only complaint is that a scene involving Jesse taking too many drugs for a bullet wound just ends. The movie could have been a little better, but it's pretty good and the performances deserve 5 stars."
The legend never dies
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Footnotes from the lives and legends of Frank and Jesse James that are often left out of other James movies are featured in this one. It's a charming TV movie that seems to be as close to the truth as legends can ever be. In other words, it takes a slightly more realistic approach to the legend, but still comes across like a whopping yarn your Southern grampa would tell you. I liked that. Don't expect too much action, but get ready to be charmed. Have a beer, settle back, and enjoy."
Ladies Love Outlaws
Carol Bardelli and Jerry Bardelli | Silver Springs, NV USA | 05/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first recorded this on BETA tape and I wore it out over the years. I later bought a VHS copy, so you know I loved it. I'd take into account I'm a diehard fan of Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Outlaw Country. I found the acting well executed (this is a cast of country music artists, only June Carter Cash had studied acting, yet they performed superbly.) Johnny Cash plays Frank James very convincingly and Kris Kristofferson is a sexy, sulky Jesse James. Notable is a small cameo by David Allan Coe who steals the scene and June Carter Cash's memorable portrayal of Zelda James, the James' mother. If you're a fan of the highwaymen or country music you'll likely enjoy this movie. Outlaws playing outlaws, how can you find fault? Look for Willie Nelson as General Joe Shelby and a cameo by Ed Bruce. Country outlaw Waylon Jennings is the only Highwayman absent in this gem of a western."
Tim Lieder | 02/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recently I saw this movie while working on a class project. It was a report on Jesse James. Movies like American Outlaws are not even close to the real story. Last Days Of Frank And Jesse James and Long Riders were the two DVDs I watched that were closest to the facts. There are some changes. Long Riders has some moments of action that are there to make the movie entertaining. This one has Frank watching historical events that took place, but Frank didn't see them. In American Outlaws they have Jesse's mother die in Jesse's arms, but in real life he died before she did and the whole movie is wrong. At least this one tried to tell the true story is 90% right."