The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford2007

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)



Critic Consensus: On the strength of its two lead performances Assassination is an expertly crafted period piece, and an insightful look at one of the enduring figures of American lore.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Photos

Movie Info

In 1881 a younger member of the notorious James gang becomes so inextricably drawn to and frightened of his mentor that his own delusions of grandeur force him to consider doing the unthinkable.

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Brad Pitt
as Jesse James
Casey Affleck
as Robert Ford
Brooklynn Proulx
as Mary James
Sam Rockwell
as Charley Ford
Jeremy Renner
as Wood Hite
Sam Shepard
as Frank James
Paul Schneider
as Dick Liddil
Joel McNichol
as Express Manager
James DeFelice
as Baggagemaster
J.C. Roberts
as Engineer
James Carville
as Governor Crittenden
Nick Cave
as Bowery Saloon Singer
Darrell Orydzuk
as Ukranian Train Passenger
Zooey Deschanel
as Dorothy Evans
Jonathan Erich Drachenberg
as Young Train Passenger
Jonathon Young
as Jonathan Leonard
Torben S. Hansen
as Danish Train Passenger
Alison Elliott
as Martha Bolton
Kailin See
as Sarah Hite
Tom Aldredge
as Major George Hite
Jesse Frechette
as Albert Ford
Pat Healy
as Wilbur Ford
Michael Parks
as Henry Craig
Ted Levine
as Sheriff Timberlake
Stephanie Wahlstrom
as Store Customer
Ian Ferrier
as Photographer
Michael Rogers
as Onlooker at Jesse's Death
Calvin Bliid
as Small Boy at Jesse's Death
Sarah Lind
as Bob's Girlfriend
Matthew Walker
as Bowery Saloonkeeper
Michael Copeman
as Edward O'Kelly
Laryssa Yanchak
as Ella Mae Waterson
Hugh Ross
as Narrator
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News & Interviews for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Critic Reviews for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

All Critics (176) | Top Critics (63)

Writer-director Andrew Dominik takes his time with the story, but his languorous pacing allows tension to build -- and permits the actors, Affleck in particular, to add nuance and depth to characters who'll seem familiar only at first glance.

October 18, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is the story...of the moment in America when myth was murdered by mere celebrity and we were left, perhaps forever, with only the latter's meager consolations.

September 18, 2008 | Full Review…

Jesse James is that rarest of birds -- an art film with mass appeal.

May 1, 2008 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

When Ford finally pulls the trigger, it's a relief as the flick's final ten minutes spin into actually interesting terrain

February 22, 2008 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

Moseying along for 160 minutes, this revisionist western by writer-director Andrew Dominik makes a wan attempt to present the Jesse James legend as the dawn of celebrity culture in America.

January 4, 2008 | Full Review…

For all its intended depth and psychological realism, which at its best carries reminders of the work of Terrence Malick, there's a fake myth-making quality to it that, because of its inordinate length, could be mistaken for grandeur.

November 30, 2007 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Meticulously made, with some beautiful images, but far too long and far too languidly paced.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


It's long, it's slow, and I loved it. The cinematography practically speaks for itself, telling a story that we all know from the villain's perspective and bringing the psychology of the event and the characters to life.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


This is quite a fascinating take on such a revered legend and the final months of his life. Less of a violent shoot 'em up, and more of a somber, introspective portrait, this film is a fascinating study of friendship, betrayal, hero worship, and surprising reactions to a perceived act of greatness. There are some undeniable undertones of homosexuality throughout the film, but rather than be expressed through physical love, they are expressed through tortured, creepy obsessions that can't come to any conclusion but a dark and tragic one. Before I provide further praise, a few criticisms. I'm okay with long films with rather slow pacing, but I felt the middle should have been tightened up more, and have the final half hour drawn out more. As for the final scene, I'd rather have seen it than heard narration. The rest of the narration was hit or miss for me. I liked the music, but I wish it were more varied. More screen time for Zooey Deschanel would also have been nice, as would have been a few more (no more than 3) small scenes of violence, or one big set piece of it. As much as I enjoyed the direction (despite the above issues), the cinematography by Roger Deakins is the real star of the show here. Some of the shots and compositions on display are so beautiful I can't really do them justice. The cast is great, even if some of the actors have little screen time. Despite screen time amounts, all performers are excellent, especially Pitt and Affleck. Renner and Rockwell are closely tied behind them for the best acting. About Pitt and Affleck: it's a toss-up for who's more impressive. Pitt, on one hand has to portray someone younger than his actual age, pull it off, and also downplay his ego and status as an A-lister. It works to his favor. Affleck on the other hand, much like the character, has to step out of the role of "the young one" and come into his own. Ford is a tough role because it would be so easy to over do it. His Oscar nomination is proof he succeeded. This was my first exposure to director Andrew Dominik, and he has impressed me. At first it seemed like this was a Terrence Malick film, and I mean that as a compliment, but also as a way of saying what you should expect should you decide to see this (and you should). This is a great film, but definitely not for all audiences. It's a scholar's dream too, as there is plenty of stuff to pore over, analyze, and discuss. If you've come this far in my review, then you'll probably know if this is one for you.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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