Moviedrome Mondays: The Long Riders (1980)

Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing action director Walter Hill’s 1980 western The Long Riders, readers will have to rely on Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 15, 1993 (read here). While it may not be my number one favorite film dealing (whether on the surface or in the center) with infamous outlaw Jesse James and his gang (that honor goes to 2007’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), I nevertheless adore The Long Riders on a whole. The selling points here are the bloody shootouts (a homage to Sam Peckinpah), Ry Cooder’s music score and most fittingly, a cast of real-life actor brothers. The ones in this case would be The Keaches (James and Stacy), The Carradines (David, Keith and Robert), The Quaids (Dennis and Randy) and The Guests (Christopher and Nicolas). Along with his 2004 pilot episode of Deadwood, The Long Riders ranks as two of director Walter Hill’s great westerns. I also admire 1993’s Geronimo: An American Legend, 1995’s Wild Bill and his 2006 two-part television miniseries Broken Trail. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Walter Hill films (read here).


Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

11 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: The Long Riders (1980)

  1. I watched this movie once a while ago and I’m afraid I didn’t care for it. I thought it was mediocre and forgettable. I just didn’t think it was at all good. It was cool having all those actor brothers. A few years later they could’ve had the Baldwins too.

    I don’t think Walter Hill is that good of a director. I haven’t seen all of his films but the only films of his I’ve seen that I thought were any good were The Warriors and 48 Hrs.
    I thought all the other films of his I saw were forgettable. His films are very well made and well directed so I think it’s the screenplays that are lacking. Although I haven’t seen Street Fighter and that looks like it could possibly be good.

    I’m not even that big a fan of The Warriors and 48 Hrs. There are great things about The Warriors but there’s things that annoy me about it too. Such as why didn’t the Warriors just steal a car and drive back?

  2. I really enjoyed The Long Riders at the cinema, and later bought the film on VHS. I liked the way they used real brothers in the cast, and the ‘Peckinpah’ style action sequences too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. I liked Long Riders too. Walter Hill, employs just enough…I wouldn’t call it guerilla filmmaking techniques…low budget, techniques that give his films that sheen of realism. Using the brother actors was a stroke of genius. I’ve always felt that Long Riders was underrated. I think the same about Walter Hill.

  4. I hear ya Steve πŸ™‚ Notice in the blog entry that even though I love The Long Riders, I would not say that it is my number one favorite film to deal with Jesse James and his gang. The idea of casting real-life actor brothers as real-life brothers was truly inspired as you imply πŸ™‚

    As you probably know, I am a bigger fan of Walter Hill than you are – judging by everything from Hard Times and ending with Southern Comfort. Though his 2004 pilot episode of Deadwood was his best film since Southern Comfort – even though everybody differs on whether an hour-long episode of a television series should count as a feature film.

    Hill did not direct Street Fighter though – the title is actually “Streets of Fire” πŸ™‚ Do not feel bad though – there was a time when I kept confusing Takeshi Kitano’s Boiling Point with a 1993 Wesley Snipes action-thriller πŸ™‚ Silly ain’t I? πŸ™‚

    I personally thing that one needs to suspend disbelief in watching something like The Warriors, but you do bring up a valid point about the gang not stealing a car. As for 48 Hrs, I admire it more than I adore it. Though Hill’s trademarks are all over it, at the same time, it feels like co-star Eddie Murphy more often than not, keeps coming close in upstaging his director.

    Btw, I still need to watch those other Italian crime films you told me about. I have not forgotten about them, nor the review I promised to write on Almost Human – I have just been preoccupied lately with a lot of stuff, but do not worry, when things calm down, I will post my review πŸ™‚

  5. Same here Pete πŸ™‚ Speaking of which, did you know that it’s director Walter Hill also wrote the script for Sam Peckinpah’s 1972 film The Getaway? πŸ™‚ Interesting isn’t it? πŸ™‚ Anyway, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

  6. In many ways, Walter Hill reminds me of Don Siegel in that his films (for a lack of better word) always have this compact feel to it. In other words, they are all tightly paced. The Long Riders is undoubtedly underrated as you say and yes, the same can be said about Walter Hill as well πŸ™‚ Speaking of which, did you know that he penned the script to Sam Peckinpah’s 1972 action/crime-thriller The Getaway? Interesting isn’t it? πŸ™‚ Anyway, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

  7. As a fan of westerns and Walter Hill I liked The Long Riders. I still have my DVD and watch it at least once a year. I can understand how the slow pace might not appeal to some people, but it doesn’t bother me. I like the music, I like the look of the film, and it was nice of Hill to nod to John Ford by giving Harry Carey Jr. a cameo role. Yes, I definitely want to watch this one again.

  8. I did not that, John, about Walter Hill writing the script to The Getaway. The Getaway is filmed in El Paso, TX–at least a lot of it was. I was born in El Paso.

  9. I’ve watched The Long Riders a few times. It’s definitely an interesting Western for it’s casting alone. Of course, it’s not a documentary, though it does loosely follow historical incidents. I guess there will never be a definitive Western on the James boys – or Wyatt Earp, but it well done entertainment. I haven’t slotted this into my Western Classics just yet. But that might change.

  10. I totally agree with you Paul S πŸ™‚ I too noticed the Harry Carey Jr. cameo as well πŸ™‚ Anyway, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

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