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Legends Of The Fall (1995, Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins)

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This vast and handsome movie – it won an Oscar for John Toll’s cinematography – is like one of those fat family sagas the older Hollywood directors made in the ’50s. Anthony Hopkins is the patriarch, an army man retiring to the Montana Rockies (for which Alberta in Canada stood in as location).

His three sons are constitutionally at odds. The youngest, Samuel (Henry Thomas), brings a fiancée (Julia Ormond) to the ranch and she sets the hearts of both steady Alfred (Aidan Quinn) and close-to-the-earth tearaway Tristan (Brad Pitt) fluttering. World War I resolves this issue in part but sets up others which resound down the years.

A graduate of thirtysomething, director Edward Zwick had previously made Glory, another period saga starring Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington. If the movie is not Hopkins’ finest hour, it certainly sealed the legend of Brad Pitt, who goes the extra mile to be enticingly repellent and is loved shamelessly by the camera the scuzzier and more driven he gets. The best acting, in the traditional sense, is in the unfortunately abbreviated performance of Henry Thomas as the good son.

production details
USA | 133 minutes | 1995

Director: Edward Zwick
Writers: Susan Shilliday, Bill Wittliff, from the novella by Jim Harrison

cast
Brad Pitt as Tristan Ludlow
Anthony Hopkins as Col. William Ludlow
Henry Thomas as Samuel Ludlow
Julia Ormond as Susannah Fincannon Ludlow
John Novak as James O’Banion
Christina Pickles as Isabel Ludlow
Aidan Quinn as Alfred Ludlow
Kenneth Welsh as Sheriff Tynert
Eric Johnson as Teen Tristan
Karina Lombard as Isabel Two Decker Ludlow
Gordon Tootoosis as One Stab
Robert Wisden as John T. O’Banion
David Kaye as Samuel Decker
Tantoo Cardinal as Pet
Paul Desmond as Decker
Bill Dow as Longley
Sam Sarkar as Rodriguez
Nigel Bennett as Asgaard
Keegan MacIntosh as Boy Tristan
Randall Slavin as Teen Alfred
Doug Hughes as Teen Samuel
Sekwan Auger as Young Isabel Two
Christine Harder as Isabel Three
Charles Andre as Federal Officer
Weston McMillan as Noel