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Legends of the Fall

2 Ratings: 3.5
A movie directed by Edward Zwick

Director Edward Zwick's epic romance, set against the backdrop of WWI and the wide sky and rugged terrain of Montana, stars Anthony Hopkins as William Ludlow, an idealistic retired colonel who disapproves of the war and the army's indecent treatment … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Director: Edward Zwick
Release Date: 1994
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Legends of the Fall

Legends of the Fall – rivalry and lust

  • Jan 3, 2002
  • by
Pros: Hopkins & Pitt with a little Ormond on the side

Cons: some parts drag but overall fairly good

The Bottom Line: Why not I ask

The Oracle says: Julia Ormond has a Bacon number of 2.
Julia Ormond was in Nostradamus (1994/I) with Amanda Plummer
Amanda Plummer was in Elizabeth Jane (1998) with Kevin Bacon ***

~~~~The plot~~~~
Surrounded by those he loves, ex-cavalry officer Colonel Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins), has retired to relative seclusion in the Montana wilderness. With three exuberant sons, he and his wife carve a peaceful life, but she soon finds that the wilderness is not her cup of tea. As was her custom, she leaves for the winter to go to the ‘big city’, but this time she does not return, leaving Ludlow to raise the boys on his own.

A loving, but diverse, group of boys headed by the eldest, Alfred (Aidan Quinn), the baby Samuel (Henry Thomas) and the middle and most loved, Tristan (Brad Pitt). Alfred is the most logical of the three, has a good sense for business and politics, Samuel molds himself after his older brothers, although he has limited views on political matters which generally get him in trouble. Tristan is the wanderlust of the group, a rancher at heart, a lover, the cement that holds the family together.

Samuel goes off to the city to live with Mother, goes to college, and returns eventually with the love of his life, Susannah (Julia Ormond). The poor girl, being dumped into the middle of the wilderness, into this tribe of men with no woman to ground them. She soon becomes part of a triangle with disastrous results. All four men stumble over themselves trying to woo the girl, but her heart is with Samuel, until the outbreak of WWI pulls him in a different direction.

Always headstrong, Samuel demands his right to fight for his country, much to Ludlow’s dismay. Agreeing to let him go, as long as his brothers accompany him, Ludlow bids goodbye to his trio of boys as they head off to war. Alfred is wounded, Samuel is killed, Tristan is devastated, Ludlow is alone.

Alfred returns to the fold, soon to find that he cannot live with the pall of Samuels’ death over his head, nor can he remain around Susannah. He has fallen deeply in love with her, but she remains pure in her feelings for the departed Samuel. Of course, we know deep down she is lusting after Tristan, but she will not follow through with those feelings. Alfred goes off to the city, becomes successful, but never overcomes his love for the family he knew.

We finally see Ludlow, a broken and old man, faced with loneliness on the homestead he built for his children who have scattered afar. Susannah remains the anchor throughout the movie, pulling brothers together and pushing them apart as they rival for her love and attention. Tristan must eventually return as the prodigal son, to the homeland that pulls at the very core of his being.

~~~~Actors and so forth~~~~
I feel the same way about Brad Pitt that I do about Tom Cruise. There are just some movies that are made for these fellows, and Legends, etc. is such a movie for Pitt. He appears at ease on horseback and at ease with the character that he is portraying. As he becomes more involved in the part, you can feel the transition from playful son to loving brother to heartbroken man. This was very reminiscent of his part in A River Runs Through It, where his character was of the same ilk.

Anthony Hopkins is an actor above reproach. The very idea that he takes backstage to this trio of boys shows the comfort he feels in his ability to convey his part without overshadowing the other characters in the movie. Not only is he a great dramatic actor, but also a keen comic wit.

Adian Quinn was a bit prissy, as needed, to offset the heathen of Pitt. Of the three, I think I liked him the best, just for that reason. And Julia Ormond. Ah, a tasty treat for the eyes indeed and the type of woman that causes families to break apart and worlds collide.

Cinematography was breathtaking with sweeping vistas of the surrounding countryside and the pathos of war. This is a story of the inner workings of the family, the rivalry between siblings, love and lust, dreams and desires, and hate. A story of breaking apart and joining together a family divided.

Academy Award Nominations: Best Sound – Paul Massey, David Campbell, Christopher David, Douglas Ganton; Best Art Direction – Lilly Kilvery, Dorree Cooper; Best Cinematography – John Toll. Winner: Best Cinematography.

Directed by Edward Swick, writer Susan Shilliday & Bill Wittliff based on a novella by Jim Harrison. Released by Tristar, 133 minutes.


***Compliments of : Department of Computer Science
School of Engineering, University of Virginia


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