Ride With the Devil (1999)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A well-acted, eccentric Civil War film, Ang Lee's Ride With the Devil is often more visually striking than it is emotionally engaging.


Movie Info

The American Civil War is about to break out and best friends Jake Roedel and Jack Bull Chiles find themselves thrust into battle when Union marauders destroy Jack's family plantation. They join the Bushwackers, a skilled unit of guerilla-style fighters, and fight side-by-side until some of the members begin to distrust Jake and his Union sympathizing father. Jake becomes isolated from the gang and strikes up a friendship with Holt, a former black slave, as his seperation from Jack takes one … More

Rating: R (for graphic war violence)
Genre: Drama , Action & Adventure , Romance
Directed By:
Written By: James Schamus
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 18, 2000
Runtime:
Universal Studios - Official Site

Cast


as Jake Roedel

as Jack Bull Chiles

as Sue Lee Shelley

as Pitt Mackeson

as Black John

as Sue Lee Shelley

as Daniel Holt

as Orton Brown

as George Clyde

as Riley Crawford

as Cave Wyatt

as Turner Rawls

as Horton Lee Sr.

as Otto Roedel

as George

as Mr. Evans

as Quantrill

as Alf Bowden

as Babe Hudspeth

as Mrs. Clark

as Clark Girl

as Wilma Brown

as Mrs. Chiles

as Asa Chiles

as Grace Shelley Chiles

as Reverend Wright

as Storekeeper

as Storekeeper's Wife

as Mr. Evans

as Mrs. Evans

as Mary Evans

as Quantrill's Lieutena...

as Federal Captain

as Federal Lieutenant

as Federal Recruits Cap...

as Southern Gentleman

as Southern Gentleman

as Mrs. Riggs

as Pleading Woman

as Dulinski

as Elderly Woman

as Old Man

as Young Boy

as Lawrence Raider

as Lawrence Raider

as Lawrence Raider

as Encampment Singer

as Encampment Musician

as Encampment Musician

as Encampment Musician

as Poker Player

as Poker Player

as Federal at Farm

as Federal at Farm

as Guitar Player

as Accordian Player

as Mandolin Player

as Fiddler

as Encampment Musician

as George Clyde
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Ride With the Devil

All Critics (77) | Top Critics (19)

Lee appears to have been torn between making a character study and an action movie, so both elements get short shrift.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

The intriguing (if not always successful) result is an oddly contemplative picture about a horribly bellicose time.

Full Review… | March 22, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Visually arresting but dramatically flat.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

A film that would inspire useful discussion in a history class, but for ordinary moviegoers, it's slow and forbidding.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Oddly distant and uninvolving for such a blazing subject.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Like too many other young men in too many other wars, Maguire's Jake Roedel sees too much, and grows up too fast.

Full Review… | July 19, 2014
The Moving Picture Show

Audience Reviews for Ride With the Devil

A beautiful character study with jolts of great action, Tobey Maguire's best performance and a great supporting cast.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Very interesting film which focuses on the American civil war but the Southern Confederate side as opposed to the more regular viewed Northern Union side. Its all based on fact (a book also) and the real leadership of 'Quantrill's' fighters in 1861, loosely depicting events of that time. Its also quite unusual as its directed by Ang Lee who's films have been admittedly diverse in range but you wouldn't expect this kind of theme from him.

The cast in this film is what impressed me the most really, Maguire, Ulrich, Wright and Rhys-Meyers stand out from the crowd but all perform well plus they all look great in their costumes, think of a cross between 'Interview with the Vampire' and 'Colonel Sanders' :) with their long flowing hair and thin sharp facial hair. I liked how the guerrilla's were dressed with their dandy outfits and feathered hats also, unsure if that's how they really looked but its different and visually striking.

Location work looks great, filmed in Missouri with plenty of beautiful woodlands and some authentic sets as you would expect in a major western. Not allot of action in the film, only the real event of the Lawrence Massacre is all you get which is decent but not a classic historic movie moment. For a war film (of sorts) its more about the relationship between friends amidst the battles really, not overly epic and emotional as you might expect which isn't a bad thing but with a long run time some may get turned off.

phubbs1
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Every great director has one or two misfires. The Civil War drama "Ride With the Devil" is Ang Lee's, and it's a doozy. The photography is gorgeous at times; it captures the panoramic majesty of the American countryside. But everything else falls flat. The story is dull, the casting is spectacularly off, the actors were coached unbelievably badly, the editing is flaccid, the music is pedestrian, and the costumes and hair are downright laughable. Lee gives almost all the young male characters very long hair, making them look like girls. It's quite silly.

Lee took a lot of risks with this film. He did not want to make a standard Western. This courage is admirable, but his judgment goes wrong at almost every turn.

Chief among the disasters is the casting of Tobey Maguire in the lead role. I've never been a big fan of Maguire. His range is among the smallest of any big-name actor in American cinema today. All he seems capable of portraying is gentle, doe-eyed boys. His voice is so soft and high that you wonder if he ever experienced puberty. I like the idea of trying to build a Western around a girl-like male character. On paper it sounds interesting and innovative. But Lee was not able to make it work at all.

His direction of almost all the actors was disastrous, and there are many of them -- far too many. Skeet Ulrich and Simon Baker are almost as bad as Maguire. Jonathan Rhys Meyers parades around like he's doing an imitation of Mick Jagger circa 1968. Jewel, making her acting debut, is bizarrely anachronistic, reeking more of 1990 than 1860. Only Jeffrey Wright, playing the one black character, knows what he's doing.

Lee seems to have wanted to make a real effort to reach out to younger audiences. But filling his cast with Brat Pack youngsters isn't the way to go about that. He demonstrates here a real difficulty directing younger actors.

The film Lee made before this was "The Ice Storm." After it was "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." What a stunning contrast there is between those two near-masterpieces and this goofy, boring dud.

Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

Ride With the Devil Quotes

– Submitted by Chad E (3 years ago)

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