Jesse James and his gang of outlaws ride again in this "extraordinary" (LA Herald-Examiner) western that pulsates with hard-driving action and electrifying drama. Four sets of acclaimed actor brothersDavid, Keith and Rober... more »t Carradine, James and Stacy Keach, Dennis and Randy Quaid, and Christopher and Nicholas Guesteach depict real-life siblings in emotionally charged portrayals of the Old West's legendary bandits.The notorious James-Younger gang is the most famous group of outlaws in the country, robbing banks, trains and stagecoaches with a sense of daring that makes them folk heroes throughout the land. But when the mighty Pinkerton detective agency swears to track them down, these criminals must face an awesome enemy that will stop at nothing to see them behind bars...or dead! Only through the strength of their loyalty and blood ties can the outlaws hope to survive the brutal pursuits, unexpected betrayals and blistering showdowns that mark the end of their dangerous ride.« less
Steve D. (Racepro) from LITHIA, FL Reviewed on 11/30/2011...
This One Is A Classic!! This Western was a movie before it's time, outfitted with an all-star cast, it set a new standard for how Westerns are made today!! The true Western Fan, was used to a B-Movie type format, where action and story content weren't balanced out to give the movie goer a full effect movie.
The Long Riders however, was one of the very first that fulfilled that balance, sling-shotting the Western into a new era.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Peter Q. (Petequig) Reviewed on 8/17/2009...
Love it...5 star. A great telling of an old Western tale. Pure genious in pairing the brothers/actors in real/reel life !
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Anne K. Reviewed on 11/2/2008...
This is one of my favorites. Killer cast and an exciting story based on true events. You don't have to like westerns to watch this movie. Never a dull moment. The old west is captured supurbly (is that a word?) Anyway.. Its one of the best movies of all time. Highly recommended.
6 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Steven Hellerstedt | 11/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
About once a generation a western appears that boldly announces it's telling history "as it really was" and generally reenergizes the genre. THE LONG RIDERS did that in 1980, although it got its history as wrong as did the earlier ones. Belle Starr is offered here as a notorious prostitute and lover of David Carridine's Cole Younger. Starr was never a prostitute, although she was an outlaw who gained posthumous notoriety when her exploits were exploited by an eastern writer. She didn't marry Sam Starr until Cole Younger was serving his second year in prison for his role in the Northfield robbery, so the film's mano-a-mano showdown scene between Younger and Sam Starr is pure hooey. On the other hand, Cole Younger DID receive 11 gunshot wounds during the botched bank robbery - a number, I guess, no movie would ever feel the need to exaggerate. None of this is meant to find fault with THE LONG RIDERS. If I want to learn history I'll read a book. Movies are meant to deliver the emotional impact of the story in a manner accessible to the widest number of people. Rather than telling it like it is, these corner turning filmmakers deconstruct myths and rebuild them in terms more acceptable to modern audiences. The Pinkerton agents are treated more gently than might be expected and the James Gang is portrayed as just about what they were before the publicists got to them - not a modern day bunch of Robin Hoods, but a group of tough men who found robbery amenable and profitable. THE LONG RIDERS is probably best remembered for its inspired casting of real brothers to portray the historical brothers who were members of Jesse James' criminal gang. Bearing fond memories of watching it twenty-five years ago, I was really looking forward to seeing it again two and a-half decades later. Imagine my disappointment. James Keach, who plays Jesse James, gives one of the most wooden performances I'd ever seen. A smile never crosses his lips, an identifiable emotion never appears on his face. History books tell us the real Jesse James was a devil-may-care, gregarious type, much like Butch Cassidy, while Frank James was the taciturn one. Beyond the action scenes and especially the final showdown in Northfield I feel THE LONG RIDERS is awfully slow moving and uninvolving.
An uneven guilty pleasure
Doug Vaughn | 05/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Adult Western, Well Done.
Doug Vaughn | 08/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Walter Hill's best film -- an unsung classic
Ryan Harvey | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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 there...community 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."The DVD has no extras except for a trailer, but the film is so wonderful and so rewards repeat viewings that you should grab a copy of it right away. Believe me, you'll be stunned by this piece of film art."I ain't aiming to do nothing...I'm doing it!""
Hill almost elevates cinema violence into an art form...
Roberto Frangie | Leon, Gto. Mexico | 11/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As Sam Peckinpah's 'The Getaway,' Walter Hill's 'The Long Riders' almost elevates cinema violence into an art form...
Visually, 'The Long Riders' contains much that is stunning, even mesmerizing: the green Missouri scenic landscapes; the train robbery sequence; the stagecoach heist; the crossing of a wild river; but there is no question that it is the scene of the gang's disastrous foray into Northfield, Minnesota - that highlight this film... These specific episodes give 'The Long Riders' its rhythm, power, spectacle, and excitement...
With his slow motion 'terror shootout,' Hill seems to impress his viewers by showing them an inventive montage of high-level gory violence... But Hill's most wonderful sequences are those that were the most reserved: the wonderful moment when Frank is cutting the hardest wood with a forest ax and his brother Jesse, walking with his fiancée, attempting to settle down and raise a family...
Hill may have a reputation for being a tough guy, but his best screen moments (in "Hard Times", "The Warriors", "Streets of Fire") are the ones in which he allows his romantic tendencies to slip through, when he gives his characters the dignity that means so much to them... Hill tries to debunk the American myth that Western gunfighters were "heroes," and to show these embittered guys for the 'rough men that they really were.'
Hill's real intention is to present us with a gang of four families of brothers, and get us to accept them on their own terms, in their own brutal world... The men of 'The Long Riders' are at their most dastardly at the beginning of the film when Ed Miller (Dennis Quaid) indiscriminately shoots an innocent clerk, but for the rest of the film - one by one - Hill reveals their better, more 'human' sides... We further get to appreciate them as we compare them to the awful men around them; next to the Pinkertons killing a simple-minded 15 year old boy, they come out best, the 'good guys.'
To Hill, good and bad aren't on opposite sides of the coin; they share the edge...