The Long Riders

1980, Movie, R, 99 mins

Review

LONG RIDERS, THE
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THE LONG RIDERS is a superb, nitty-gritty retelling of the story of the James-Younger gang, the most notorious American bandits of the 19th century. In a unique bit of casting, the Younger, James, Miller, and Ford brothers are played by the brothers Carradine, Keach, Quaid, and Guest. The film opens with the band led by Jesse James (James Keach) and Cole Younger (David Carradine) robbing a bank. In episodic fashion, it then follows the various gang members as they go their separate ways, reuniting later for a disastrous attempt to rob a bank in Northfield, Minnesota. THE LONG RIDERS is one of the last great westerns made in America, directed tautly by Walter Hill from an excellent, well-researched script. The cinematography by Ric Waite is magnificent, the period is beautifully captured, and Ry Cooder's outstanding score nicely incorporates folk music of the era. The whole feeling of this film is one of antiquity, an atmosphere marvelously created by Hill and enhanced by a superb cast. James Keach realistically plays Jesse James; Stacy Keach is perfect as the puzzled, puritanical, but loyal Frank; David Carradine is excellent as the confident, bold Cole Younger; Keith and Robert Carradine are very good as the other Younger brothers; and Nicholas and Christopher Guest epitomize the treacherous Ford siblings. Though THE LONG RIDERS does not spare the violence, this is a must for any adult western fan. leave a comment

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