#39- Legends of the Fall – 1994

Directed by: Edward Zwick

Story by: Jim Harrison

Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, Henry Thomas & Bart the bear

The Plot

Legends of the Fall follows the tale of the Ludlow family. The film follows Colonel Ludlow as he moves his three sons to the remote country side of Montana after his involvement in wars, he seeks to free himself and his family of this life.

We follow the Ludlows through World War I, Love, loss, revenge and murder. In a sprawling tale that covers the Ludlow family dynamic, the treatment of Native Americans and women of the time period.

The youngest brother Samuel brings Susannah home who he intends to marry, to meet his family. Through the brothers enlisting in world war I, returning from war and their problems at home. We follow Tristan on his journey through his childhood til his later days in life.

My thoughts *Spoilers *

This movie is unbelievable. Right from the opening shot til the closing image I am 100% in, invested and ready to watch all the way. There’s such a great story being told and it’s like reading a great novel and watching it all unfold right before your eyes is such an experience.

I’ve always been a big fan of this movie and especially with Brad Pitt’s characterisation of Tristan Ludlow. He’s such a fascinating character I love watching what he does and what he’s going to do next because there’s a wild and unpredictable side to him through the entire film. From running alcohol during prohibition, slaughtering so many during World War one to going to Africa and hunting he’s the wild card of the movie and its fantastic to see. His connection with the bear too is also a brilliant idea used that I really enjoyed.

From the beautiful cinematography and vast mountains and forests with the Ludlow cabin nestled in between it all is so visually stunning. I’m convinced this is the movie that made me want to live in a wood cabin surrounded by family and nature, sounds perfect.

The family dynamic in this film is fascinating to watch. When Samuel brings Susannah home to meet her family it’s clear to see that brothers Tristan and Alfred are enamered with her. From Samuel dying so violently in WWI, to Tristan Scalping a platoon of soldiers he found to be responsible. When the brothers return from war and the marriage of Tristan and Susannah, Tristan becoming removed emotionally and eventually leaving to go around the world. Susannah marries Alfred during this time and they appear happy in their lives. Tristan inevitably returns and more chaos and death ensue upon his arrival. Legends of the Fall is one of those films I go back to over and over again and enjoy it more and discover more each viewing.

Any one who is a fan of epic tales such as Last Samurai and Defiance, two other Zwick films then Legends of the Fall is a must see.