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The Long Riders (1980)

The origins, exploits and the ultimate fate of the Jesse James gang is told in a sympathetic portrayal of the bank robbers made up of brothers who begin their legendary bank raids because of revenge.

Director:

Walter Hill

Writers:

Bill Bryden, Steven Smith (as Steven Phillip Smith) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
3,655 ( 2,237)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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The gangs of Jesse James and Cole Younger join forces for a bungled robbery of the bank in Northfield, Minnesota.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Carradine ... Cole Younger
Keith Carradine ... Jim Younger
Robert Carradine ... Bob Younger
James Keach ... Jesse James
Stacy Keach ... Frank James
Dennis Quaid ... Ed Miller
Randy Quaid ... Clell Miller
Kevin Brophy Kevin Brophy ... John Younger
Harry Carey Jr. ... George Arthur
Christopher Guest ... Charlie Ford
Nicholas Guest ... Bob Ford
Shelby Leverington ... Annie Ralston
Felice Orlandi ... Mr. Reddick
Pamela Reed ... Belle Starr
James Remar ... Sam Starr
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Storyline

After the American Civil War, outlaw Jesse James forms a gang comprised of himself, his brother Frank James, Cole Younger and his two brothers, Jim Younger and Bob Younger as well as Ed Miller and his brother Clell Miller. The gang is led by Jesse James and Cole Younger. The gang starts by robbing small banks and stagecoaches in the Midwest and in their home state of Missouri. Later, the gang targets bigger prizes, such as larger banks and trains. This criminal activity attracts the attention of the railroad company owners who hire the Pinkerton Detective Agency to capture the gang. When the gang kills a few Pinkerton detectives, a war of sorts starts between the Pinkerton Agency and the James-Younger gang. Sometimes caught in the middle of it are innocent civilians. In 1876, the gang is running out of banks to rob in Missouri and decides to raid a supposedly fat bank, far up North, in the state of Minnesota. But the Pinkerton Detective Agency is setting up a trap there. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"All the world likes an outlaw. For some damn reason they remember 'em." - Jesse James


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Swedish

Release Date:

16 May 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bandit Kings See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,351,112, 18 May 1980

Gross USA:

$15,795,189

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,795,189
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first Walter Hill film that Ry Cooder did the soundtrack for. See more »

Goofs

During the Northfield raid, when the steam engine came up the street, the tracks from the flat wheels and the heavy weight could be clearly seen in the dirt of the street, but on the next scene as the riders were coming up the street, there were no tracks visible. See more »

Quotes

Belle Starr: Coleman Younger! Seems like you folks are havin' a real nice party in there.
Cole Younger: I expect so, with free food and drink and all.
Belle Starr: How come I wasn't invited?
Cole Younger: 'Cause you're a whore, Belle.
Belle Starr: I might be; but at least I ain't a cheap one.
See more »

Alternate Versions

When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure an 'X' rating. Cuts were made in 1986 when the film was granted an '18' certificate for home video, and most of these cuts were waived with the exception of 4 seconds when released on DVD in 2001 and again on Blu-Ray in 2013. See more »

Connections

Featured in I Shot Jesse James with Nicholas Guest (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

The Girl I Left Behind Me
(uncredited)
Traditional
Performed by Keith Carradine (vocal) and Robert Carradine (Jew's harp)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hill almost elevates cinema violence into an art form...
8 April 2004 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

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…


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