Legends of the Fall

After the fall from innocence, the legend begins
After the fall from innocence, the legend begins
D: Edward Zwick
Tristar/Bedford Falls (Edward Zwick, Bill Wittliff & Marshall Herskovitz)
US 1994
133 mins


W: Susan Shilliday & Bill Wittliff [based on the novel by Jim Harrison]
DP: John Toll
Ed: Steven Rosenblum
Mus: James Horner
PD: Lilly Kilvert
Cos: Deborah L. Scott

Brad Pitt (Tristan Ludlow), Anthony Hopkins (Col. William Ludlow), Aidan Quinn (Alfred Ludlow), Julia Ormond (Susannah Finncannon), Henry Thomas (Samuel Ludlow), Karina Lombard (Isabel Two), Tantoo Cardinal (Pet), Gordon Tootoosis (One Stab), Paul Desmond (Decker)

Legends Of The Fall is a peculiar blend of western, drama, war, adventure and soap opera, which, for the most part, works quite well, but is occasionally hindered by the odd ropey line of dialogue, one or two hammy performances and a handful of cheesy moments.
Based on the novel by Jim Harrison, it stars Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn & Henry Thomas as the Ludlow brothers, raised by their war general father (Hopkins) on a picturesque Montana ranch. Division splits the family when Samuel, the youngest brother, brings his bride-to-be home to make the older brothers acquaintance before they all head off to fight on the fields of France in the First World War.
Tristan, raised on Native American folklore, returns from battle an untamed spirit, whilst his conservative brother Alfred runs for political office. Not only are the brothers fighting for the love of a woman, but also over illegal bootlegging activity which Tristan gets involved with.
Though the film does switch genres on a number of occasions and feels about 20 minutes too long, its period detail and sweeping Montana panoramas make it aesthetically beautiful to behold, whilst James Horner's tender and stirring music has power alone to tug on the heart strings. Far from perfect, but this film does have some personal meaning which I attribute to it, and it was the first film I watched in the cinemas three times.

Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall
Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall