I Shot Jesse James (1949) - Rotten Tomatoes

I Shot Jesse James1949

I Shot Jesse James (1949)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

I Shot Jesse James Photos

Movie Info

Stylish western in which Bob Ford, the killer of legendary outlaw Jesse James, who winds up re-enacting the killing as part of a stage show! First film from writer/director Samuel Fuller.


John Ireland
as Bob Ford
Preston S. Foster
as John Kelley
Barbara Britton
as Cynthy Waters
Reed Hadley
as Jesse James
Barbara Woodell
as Mrs. Zee James
Tom Tyler
as Frank James
Tommy Noonan
as Charles Ford
Byron Foulger
as Room Clerk
Eddie Dunn
as Bartender
Robin Short
as Troubadour
Phillip Pine
as Man in Saloon
Gene Collins
as Young Man Who Tries to Kill Bob Ford
Margia Dean
as Saloon Singer
Chuck Roberson
as Reed Hadley's Double
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News & Interviews for I Shot Jesse James

Critic Reviews for I Shot Jesse James

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (4)

While Preston Foster and Barbara Britton carry star roles, it's John Ireland, as the notorious Bob Ford, who dominates the story.

March 5, 2009 | Full Review…

A commonplace movie.

December 12, 2007 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

As such, more a psychological drama (emphasised by the use of close-up) than a Western, and a highly original film.

August 25, 2007 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Fuller goes deeper into his protagonist's tortured psyche, uncovering a sublimated sense of love that only finds expression as climax to his death rattle.

August 22, 2007 | Full Review…


July 26, 2010 | Full Review…

Fuller uses effective close-ups in this stylish western, giving a fresh psychological twist to familiar narrative ground.

January 12, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for I Shot Jesse James

As the legendary Samuel Fuller's debut film, "I Shot Jesse James" is a western with Fuller's trademark close-up shots and psychological aspects as well as the use of newspaper pages displaying various events. The film is filled with complete characters, especially John Ireland as Bob Ford who practically steals the film! While It's no secretary who and how Jesse James was killed, the film focuses on the aftermath and ensuing destruction of Bob Ford. There are many different linked characters and subplots but this is about one man's destiny after he betrays his best friend and partner for his own ambitions. I loved the pacing of the film and Fuller's touch, while not on full display, are already seeping in and what eventually garnered the critical acclaim he later would receive. If you're a fan of Fuller, westerns, or even dramas this is a great work done by the gifted Samuel Fuller when he first set out directing and shouldn't be missed!

Chris Browning
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

Sam Fuller has a soft-ish side, who knew? Also the bathtub scene, almost as homo-erotic as Spartacus (almost).

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer


I Shot Jesse James deals more with the historically questionable exploits (i.e. the love story) of Robert Ford after killing Jesse James (who didn't come off that scary or legendary) than the lead up to the event itself. The brief relationship (in this movie at least) between James and Ford is one of the most homoerotic things I've seen in 40s cinema. The post-James murder seems like it could've been any drama but just happened to have Robert Ford as one of the main characters. Samuel Fuller's direction is the main draw with this one because if you've seen The Assassination of Jesse James any other telling of the story is pretty much ruined for you. I Shot Jesse James isn't a great movie but reasonably groundbreaking for a 40s western.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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