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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on October 4, 2003
I've seen all the reviews -- "overrated", "terrible". I enjoy this movie, but I do so because I watch it knowing that it is a wildly dramatic, romantic, epic tragedy.
If you enjoyed Pearl Harbor, or Gone With The Wind, you'll probably enjoy Legends of the Fall. All of the actors are beautiful, the cinemetography is amazing, and with the exception of Julia Ormond (who plays Susannah as weak and insipid), the actors all turn in great, underrated performances.
Brad Pitt, a fine actor who continues to be punished by critics for his sheer beauty, did a great job with a script that could have easily been over-acted - few actors could portray the depth of emotions he does and still seem masculine. Aidan Quinn was wonderful, playing the pathos of the "second fiddle" character with dignity and strength. He captured the essence of his character in a scene when he confronts his brother (Pitt) with the irony of his life: "I followed all the rules...and everyone still loved you best."
Anthony Hopkins is, as always, a joy to watch, though the scenes after his stroke are a little over-done. His ability to balance the tragedy of this character's illness with his strength is a testament to his talent.
So don't expect something edgy or action-based. Legends of the Fall is a great film, if you're know what your're getting when you buy (or rent) it.
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on November 18, 2003
When people ask me about my favorite movies I give them a quick run down of my top ten: 1. The Godfather and The Godfather part II (tie), 3. The Shawshank Redemption, 4. One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest, 5. Schindler's List, 6. The Silence of the Lambs, 7. Amadeus, 8. The Princess Bride, 9. Legends of the Fall, 10. Goodfellas. I am always surprised when they laugh at the 9th movie on my list. I can't understand why people think this movie is a joke. Yes, it's melodramatic but it works beautifully. Let me also say that I am not the biggest fan of Brad Pitt. His acting pales in comparison to some of the other fine actors of his generation (ie. Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Sean Penn). That said, he is perfectly cast in this movie. His ruggedness and wildman image were established in 1992's A River Runs Through It and his role as Tristan in LOTF seems almost like an extension of his role in River. I've heard that Johnny Depp, an actor whose talents I find superior to Pitt's, was originally offered the role of Tristan. I'm glad he turned it down for no one other than Brad Pitt could have BEEN Tristan.
I've always appreciated great acting. To me, there is nothing more entertaining than watching a De Niro, Pacino or Nicholson work his magic. There is only one truly great actor in Legends of the Fall - Sir Anthony Hopkins. In my opinion, he should have won an Oscar for this supporting role. A lot of reviewers criticized the second half of his performance (after the stroke) as being a bit excessive. I thought it was necessary in this type of film.

It was because of Legends of the Fall that I took an interest in acting. Not because of Anthony Hopkins...i know I could never be half as good as he. LOTF taught me that it doesn't take great actors to make a great movie. I thought Aidan Quinn, a talented but by no means gifted actor, was brilliant in the film as the tortured victim of unrequited love. It's my opnion that Quinn delivered a top-notch performance in the film, second only to Hopkins. The scene in which Alfred (Quinn) redeems himself in his father's eyes is particularly endearing. Also, the casting of Julia Ormond as Susannah was a stroke of genius. She has such classic beauty and is wonderful at conveying emotions without speaking a word. I often wonder where the hell she disappeared to.
Finally, I cannot say enough about James Horner's breathtaking score. I first became a fan of Horner's when I saw this movie and I believe him to be the top composer in the film-scoring business (yes, even better than the great John Williams).
Don't listen to the critics. This movie is amazing. They just don't make 'em like this anymore.
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on April 20, 2003
'Legends of the Fall', is indeed a film title that brings a sense of fear and drudgery into the hearts of men across the globe who would inadvertently label this epic 'a chick flick'. Add this to the fact that the film stars none other than hollywood's finest - Brad Pitt - and one may assume that their preconception was accurate. However, what we are delivered is an epic tale that contradicts all previous misconceptions.
Legends of the Fall[LOTF], depicts the tale of 3 brothers, their father, an indian tribal family and a lady, set in the late 19th early 20th century. Indeed, this does not sound very interesting , but as the story unveils through an excellent and engrossing script, LOTF shines from many other hollywood incartions as a film, where thought has been applied, rather than millions of dollars on overused special effects.
The strong story is backed by some truely delightful performances form Hopkins and Pitt, and this coupled to the brilliance of Quinn and Osmond, produces a very believable tale, hypothetically of course. The cinematography employed in LOTF is nothing short of spectacular, and if watched properly on a large screen, envokes a sense of depth which is truely breathtaking at particular points. The score is strong as all epics should be and helps add depth, but may be overworked at points.
However, some parts of the story are less believeable than others, and im sure this will be resonant from other critics of the film. Examples include the war scene death ritual, and the journey scenes by brad pitt, and this adds a fictional aspect to a film that, at points, exhibits characterstics of a drama. This bipolar discontinuinity is sometime frustrating and almost non-sensical, but overall does not disrpute the course of LOFT.
In essence LOFT is a well crafted affair that will be rememebed either for its brilliance or for its length. It is not another mindless film where everything is corrected at the end and all characters exude with happiness, but rather an engrossing tale, which when rememebered will be thought of favourably.
Overall, definetaly a film to watch, especially if you have a night free and wish to be qietly surprised
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on November 26, 2001
This is a beautifully made movie. The photography, particularly the composition and landscape work is enjoyable even before the actors start to speak. The costumes and sets are first class, and the actors all acquit themselves well. Director Zwick made good choices with all the lead roles, choosing star names who turn in good performances. Hopkins' performance loses subtlety towards the end, and Brad Pitt is sometimes too expressionless, but Aidan Quinn never wavers, and Henry Thomas displays the quality of innocence which led to Spielberg casting him as the star of E.T. as a boy actor. James Horner's music is emotional and appropriate, however it is sometimes too prominent in the mix. With five major stars, the film gives them equal prominence, so it would have benefited from making the characters more sympathetic. However this is a personal thing (and of course taken from the novel rather than created by the film people and you might like the realistic portrayal of rounded characters, neither wholly good, nor wholly bad. The plot is a little predictable, but this is not unusual for subject matter of this type. Just sit back and enjoy the scenery and performances.
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on April 13, 2003
Everyone else is reviewing the movie itself, so I'll review the Superbit DVD. In the past, whenever I had a collecter's version (with plenty of extras) versus say a DTS version (without the extras) I would choose the extras. In movies such as Apollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan I chose the collectors versions. I found over time that I stop watching the extras and just watch the movies over and over. SO, Legends of the Fall offers a great collector's version at half the price of the superbit version. So, why get the superbit? WEll, this is a BIG movie. The crispness of the picture and sound are stunning. I have over 50 DVDs and this one is right at the top with sound quality and picture quality. The separation of the surround sound in the dts is fantastic. A door opening, a dog howling in the distance, the battle sequence, the wind, and James Horner's music will be as clean and true as you can imagine. The quality of John Toll's amazing cinematography is a visual jewel. From the definition in the color of the faces to the divine imagery of the natural setting, you won't be disappointed. This film is as beautifully photographed as any I have ever seen. Now, is it worth double the cost of the loaded collector's edition? I don't know, but I bought the Superbit version and I couldn't be more pleased. The Superbit offers none of the extras that are in the collector's edition, just a breathtaking version of a gorgeous film. I kept finding myself thinking.. wow that's beautiful. This is a very emotional, moving film that the super-definition of sound and picture enhances into quite an experience.
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on April 4, 2003
This movie definitely has a mythical (hence, Legends) quality to it. One of the sons, Tristan is linked to a bear in a mysterious way. The story has its share of tragedy, with a bittersweet ending. The scenery and music are beautiful and the actors portray their parts perfectly.
The movie quite clearly deals with a few of the ways we can "fall" as humans and the anguish that results both for us and the ones who love us. The story shows we can fall by choosing to desire that which isn't good for us, and we can fall by believing that we are cursed by God and without hope. It shows how destructive those choices and beliefs can be. For this author, redemption is found in the bond of family.
If it weren't for Isabel Two, I might say that the author was very negative toward women. The mother and Susannah are shown to be weak and Susannah is described as the unwitting demise of that all important family bond. She is like "water that flows into the crack in a rock and when it freezes, breaks the rock". I was disappointed that she seemed to not see the treasure she had in front of her and to rise up and conquer her misplaced desire. Still, the story was beautifully told and reminds us to be smarter than some of the characters!
The movie paced along very well. There is quite a bit of action as well as interesting dialogue. This is not a movie that drags. There is some sex and some violence, which might be uncomfortable. However these scenes are no more shocking than a lot of movies out there.
The bond of family was beautiful in this story, but they failed to bring in outsiders and make them family while maintaining that bond. This movie is well worth seeing if only for the complex interactions between the characters. Family is precious and this movie made me treasure mine even more.
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on December 10, 2002
From breathtaking scenery to shots of Brad Pitt as eye-candy for the ladies, LEGENDS OF THE FALL has something for everyone. Edward Zwick brings a powerful story of brotherly love and conflict to the screen, a story that stays as fresh and vigorous as the majestic northern Rockies.
The conflict that drives this story involves brothers Alfred and Tristan Ludlow (Aidan Quinn and Brad Pitt). Here are two brothers torn apart by their love for the same woman, and by Alfred's resentment that Tristan is his father's favorite son. Tristan--wild, self-destructive, guilt-ridden--must exorcise some demons of his own (and does). The film moves relentlessly toward a compelling climax, when the brothers come to one another's aid, when a father's love for his outcast son is renewed.
Anthony Hopkins is brilliant as family patriarch Colonel Ludlow. LEGENDS OF THE FALL is as tough, gritty, and determined as its scenic background--as tender and poignant as any family saga ever portrayed. Highly recommended.
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on November 12, 2002
If you don't like to cry at movies, don't see this one. If you don't normally cry in movies, and think that you can stay tough through anything, think again. I NEVER cry in movies, and I was nearly brought to tears about 6 times during this. Not that it was a bad movie. Not in the least.
This movie really makes you care about the characters. Three brothers, a father, and the woman that drove them apart. To me, the father was the most endearing, because even when faced with the most horrific challenges, he manages to overcome them. Tristan, the main character, and his brother Alfred, both run away from their problems, only to different places, and the youngest, Samuel, didn't live long enough to have any. The catalyst is the woman, Suzanna, who first becomes engaged to Samuel, and then finds out that love isn't everything she'd wished for. (I'd tell you more, but I don't want to ruin the story.) At the edges of this brilliant picture, are the people who truly run the farm, including the old indian master, the indian/white convict couple and their half-breed daughter, who at thirteen knows that she will marry the middle son, Tristan (significantly older than her).
To me, the whole movie moves forward with a self-desctrustive determinism, that no matter what happens, life continues, sometimes with even more devastating effects. The real tragedy of the movie is not what happens to Tristan, but what happens to those around him.
As for visual effect, the general impression of the movie doesn't change. The boys and the father remain dressed in very similar clothes throughout the movie, having lived on a ranch almost their entire life. We see the decades change from the 1910's to the 20's to the early 30's through Suzanna's clothes, the one female in the movie with the luxury of changing fashions.
The strength of this movie is in it's story, and the director has done a superb job in simply enhancing the tragedy with simple shots and simple styles, instead of loading up the visual side of it without letting the characters stand alone.
To me, the whole movie's attitude is summed up by two phrases, spoken by Colonel Ludlow towards the end of the movie to his middle son, Tristan.
"You're not damned, Tristan. I won't allow that."
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on October 26, 2002
This review refers to the Special Edition DVD(TriStar/Columbia)
Right from the start of this film, Director Edward Zwick and Cinematographer John Toll, take us on a magnificent journey through some of the most breathtaking vistas,shot mostly on the Stoney Indian Reserve near Calgary.Viewed throughout with James Horner's score is a beautiful experience right in your own living room.
Three brother's, their love for each other,their father, and for one woman is the main focus of the story. Tristan is the middle son, his father's favorite, he is as wild as the Montana country where they live in the early 1900's. It is he who we follow on a journey of darkness, enlightenment and finally self-discovery.It is an epic story,that follows the lives of the Ludlow family for many years, through WWI,passion, secrets,tragedies, and bonds.
The tale is narrated by Gordon Tootoosis, a Chief of the Cree nation, who was mentor to Tristan and taught him well the ways of becoming one with nature.
Starring in this Cinematic treat are Brad Pitt(Tristan), Aidan Quinn,Henry Thomas, Sir Anthony Hopkins(Col. Ludlow), and as the woman they all love Julia Ormand(Suzanne).All turning in superb performances.
The DVD is as much of a treat as the film itself. The film won an Academy Award for Best Cinematoghraphy in 1994 and it really shows on this edition. Colors are perfect,picture immaculate, and the sound(in 5.1 Dolby Digital)completes the total home theatre package.
It is in widescreen. There's a ton of special features, including the making of featurette, some great commentary by Zwick and Pitt, and more. The movie can be played in several languages or with subtitles.
If you've never seen it,this film has something for everyone, war, romance,western adventure,action,drama It will sweep you off your feet, and you will want to watch it again. If youve already seen it you will not be dissapointed with the transfer to this DVD
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on October 18, 2002
Family values, brotherly love, Legend of the Fall is an epic which depicts every side of both.
Watching this film, it is easy to believe that Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas are brothers and the sons of Anthony Hopkins. The love-hate relationship between Tristan, Alfred and Samuel is almost too realistic. The iron hand of a domineering father who only knows the army way leads to desparate struggles for independence and identity.
Tristin (Brad Pitt) is the middle son, favored by the father (Anthony Hopkins) because of, as well as inspite of, his wild nature. Alfred(Aidan Quinn) is the eldest son. He feels he should be most privilaged, and since he can't get honor and respect from his father, he struggles his entire life to acheive success and out do his brother. Samuel is the youngest son who is looked after by all the family. It is Samuel who brings the woman into the picture.
The struggles of life and death, love and hate weave their way in and out of the story.
Edward Zwick did an excellent job of blending the story with the talents of the actors.
Legend of the Fall is an emotional dramatic ride. The scenery of the remote wildernes is the perfect back drop to support the legend as it unfolds.
I would recommend this film to anyone who wants a good emotional drama with all the twists and turns of real life.
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