Legends of the Fall (1994) - Rotten Tomatoes

Legends of the Fall1994

Legends of the Fall (1994)



Critic Consensus: Featuring a swoon-worthy star turn by Brad Pitt, Legends of the Fall's painterly photography and epic sweep often compensate for its lack of narrative momentum and glut of melodramatic twists.

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Movie Info

The sweeping, melodramatic saga of three brothers, their powerful father, and a beautiful woman, the popular period drama Legends of the Fall presents a romanticized view of rugged masculinity against lush Montana scenery. Based on a novel by Jim Harrison, the film covers decades in the lives of Alfred (Aidan Quinn), Tristan (Brad Pitt), and Samuel (Henry Thomas) Ludlow, the sons of retired military man William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins). Raised by the unorthodox Ludlow after the departure of their mother, the boys grow up close, sharing an appreciation of the land and a pioneering spirit. The family becomes divided, however, when young Sam enlists in World War I over his father's objections, and his brothers follow suit to protect him. Despite these efforts, Sam dies in battle, leaving Alfred and Tristan to return home and deal with the lingering torment. Further complicating matters is the presence of Sam's beautiful fiancée, Susannah (Julia Ormond). After Sam's death, she attracts the romantic attention of both the responsible Alfred and the brooding Tristan, a conflict that threatens to drive the brothers apart. Aspiring to epic status, the film utilizes period detail and attractive landscapes as a backdrop for tragic, doomed romance. While some critics complained that the film resembled a romance novel writ, veering at times into the overwrought, audiences embraced the combination of emotion and grand historical scale, making the film a box-office success. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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Brad Pitt
as Tristan Ludlow
Anthony Hopkins
as Col. William Ludlow
Aidan Quinn
as Alfred Ludlow
Julia Ormond
as Susannah Finncannon
Henry Thomas
as Samuel Ludlow
Karina Lombard
as Isabel Two
Robert Wisden
as John T. O'Banion
John Novak
as James O'Banion
Kenneth Welsh
as Sheriff Tynert
Bill Dow
as Longley
Sam Sarkar
as Rodriguez
Keegan MacIntosh
as Boy Tristan
Eric Johnson
as Teen Tristan
Randall Slavin
as Teen Alfred
Doug Hughes
as Teen Samuel
Sekwan Auger
as Young Isabel Two
David A. Kaye
as Samuel Decker
David Kaye
as Samuel Decker
Christine Harder
as Isabel Three
Charles Andre
as Federal Officer
Bart the Bear
as the bear
Aaron Goettel
as Corporal's Friend
Bill Croft
as Bartender
Ray Godshall Jr.
as Businessman
Marc Levy
as Butler
Ken Kirzinger
as O'Banion Thug
Winnie Hung
as Chinese Woman
Rob Hrdlicka
as Canadian Soldier
Channing Knull
as Canadian Soldier
John D. Cameron
as Proprietor
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Critic Reviews for Legends of the Fall

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (20)

In general, director Edward Zwick does a commendable job of keeping things apace, while... John Toll's scrumptiously pristine cinematography and James Horner's piercingly full score.

January 23, 2019 | Full Review…

At first, the picture plays like East of Eden with a bonus brother; it gets sillier as it goes.

April 2, 2014 | Full Review…

The actors fit their roles exceptionally well, but Zwick rarely allows them the kinds of crucial, intimate moments that establish how the characters feel about each other.

April 2, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Just when it starts to seem as if Legends might just turn into a pretty good movie, along comes some tired, soap-opera plot device.

April 2, 2014 | Rating: 3/5

Check your cynicism at the door, and just revel in its enormity.

April 2, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

There's a vast psychodrama being played out on the Ludlow ranch, battles between generations, philosophies, races and sexes. And the landscapes, photographed by John Toll, majestically backdrop all the personal and cultural furies.

April 2, 2014 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Legends of the Fall


Not a legendary tale, but pretty absorbing family drama. Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt shine in their role and so do the supporting actors. However, I gotta admit that I didn't like Julia Ormond and Karina Lombard

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer


A movie that I feel is both good and bad at the same time. While it is a powerful story, the script is so overly corny that it is ruined. The acting is so-so, Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins gave the only decent performances.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

"Legends of the Fall" is an epic set in the early 1900s about a close-knit family that randomly comes together and breaks apart. Tristan (Brad Pitt), Alfred (Aidan Quinn), and Samuel (Henry Thomas) have always been real close. One thing that all three brothers have in common is that they all go into war together and see how tough it is to experience such a struggle, even though their father, Colonel William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) doesn't like the idea. Another thing they have in common is that they all love Susannah (Julia Ormond). All of the characters in "Legends of the Fall" have their own separate personalities that can clash or come together at the drop of a hat. I could explain each of them, but that would give the movie away. Throughout the film, the different characters provide commentary about different events such as reading letters that are written, or telling personal thoughts. "Legends of the Fall" won the 1994 Oscar for best cinematography in a motion picture, and it's true, this film does have spectacular scenery and landscapes, but that's the least that "Legends of the Fall" has to offer. There are both good times and bad times in "Legends of the Fall." Overall, it's a fairly depressing movie, but that's just because it's a realistic film about how jealousy and bad times such as war ruled the world back in the early 1900's, and probably even more these days. As I mentioned earlier, all of the main cast put out their absolute best effort in "Legends of the Fall." As always, I was the utmost impressed by Anthony Hopkins's performance. Brad Pitt, who was the main star in this film, puts out what is his best effort ever, in my opinion. I can tell when a movie is one of my favorites of all time by how much I want to see it after I see it for the first time, and especially by how often I watch it after seeing it several times. "Legends of the Fall" is one of those movies that never has and never will get old to me. No matter what kind of movie you like, even if you're not crazy about epics or dramas, give "Legends of the Fall" a chance. It just might become one of your favorite motion picture legends. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2001. Indeed, Pitt's best, one of Hopkins's best, and one of my favorites.

Jason Owens
Jason Owens

Super Reviewer

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