The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Released 2007


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Movie Summary

Andrew Dominik
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a Western dramatic film directed by Andrew Dominik adapted from a novel of the same name by Ron Hansen that centers on the friendship that eventually led to the outlaw Jesse James's (Brad Pitt) death. For years, the illegal work of James and his gang, including his brother Frank (Sam Shephard) and his cousins, had become the thing of criminal legend. Young Robert Ford (Casey Affleck), a relatively insecure and discomforting man out to prove himself, joins the James gang with his brother Charley (Sam Rockwell) in the hopes of becoming closer to his idol. Even while he works to protect Jesse from being captured for a bounty, he slowly becomes increasing embittered and angry when the idea of his hero begins to shatter in knowing the real man. In a twist, the man who once adored James's life ultimately is the bringer of his death.


Metacritic Score

  • 90

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    One of the best Westerns of the 1970s, which represents the highest possible praise. It's a magnificent throwback to a time when filmmakers found all sorts of ways to refashion Hol...

  • 50

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    Mr. Pitt is himself a supernova luminary, of course, and part of the attraction of this film is how his celebrity feeds into that of his character, adding shadings to what is, fina...

  • 50

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    A film whose reach exceeds its grasp. Hugely ambitious and not without moments of success, this indulgent 2 hour and 40 minute epic ends up as unwieldy as its elongated title. It's...

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Military & War, Crime, Historical