The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid Reviews

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November 5, 2016
I love 70s revisionist western and I love the work of writer/director Phillip Kaufman, but I was a bit disappointed in this film. It's one I'd never seen before and had always heard great things about, but it was certainly not of the caliber of "The Wild Bunch" or even "Bad Company." With a naturalistic storytelling style of the last days of the James/Younger gang on their unsuccessful bank robbery in Northfield, MN, I think it's the slow pacing lost me. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood, or maybe the characters didn't grab me enough, but this is still a solid western that features a strong cast (Cliff Robertson, Robert Duvall, Luke Askew Philip KaufmanR.G. Armstrong, Elisha Cook Jr., Matt Clark, Royal Dano) and is worth watching for fans of the genre, but I was kind of expecting a classic.
February 6, 2015
Written and directed by Philip Kaufman, (Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), The Right Stuff (1983) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)), this one came shortly after Kaufman's debut Fearless Frank (1967) got released in late 1969. It caught the attention of Cliff Robertson, who got Kaufman a deal at Universal to do this low budget western, which is very down and dirty. It tells the exploits of the James-Younger Gang in the mid 1870's, Cole Younger (Robertson) and Jesse James (Robert Duvall) have been granted amnesty in Missouri, so they head north to Minnesota, where Younger has plans to rob "the biggest bank west of the Mississippi". Younger has it all planned out, but Jesse and his brother Frank (John Pearce), have doubts as to whether the plan will work, but Younger assures them it will, it seems like a doddle. However, when they arrive at the bank in Northfield, Minnesota, they didn't count the locals getting wise and Pinkerton agents ambushing them. Everything that can go wrong, does go wrong here. It's a world away from the sunny westerns of old, this one is dirty, muddy and has rain in it, like Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) did. Kaufman mainly filmed it with handheld cameras, which was rare for a film like this, but it sealed the deal, and it was a small success, and put Kaufman on the map as a director to watch.
October 21, 2012
A curious western from the early 70s that - by comparison - plays conspicuously-bland in comparison to spaghetti westerns from only a few years prior. Effective scenes of Hollywood-esque gun play are completely undermined by a whimsical musical score only seconds later, leading the viewer to wonder exactly what type of movie director Kaufman (or perhaps the producers) were searching for. A real mixed bag, overall. Decent drive-in movie fare - with good performances from Robert Duvall and Cliff Robertson - but little else.
½ November 5, 2011
Philip Kaufman directs in an almost documentary style the story of Jesse James's attempted robbery of the biggest bang west of the Mississippi. There's a lot of things wrong with this movie. It's boring, a bit unfocused, and has some pretty bad acting from many of the supporting characters. But it wasn't a complete waste of time, mostly because of the direction from Kaufman. Far from his best film, though, as that would easily by The Right Stuff.
June 21, 2011
I'm a Minnesota Girl & I've never heard of this Movie.Where can it be found?
March 6, 2011
Never heard of this movie until I discovered it on Netflix and to my surprise, a very decent Western. Robert Duvall shines in his role as Jesse James, but he is not the focal point of this film. Duvall in a supporting role works well, as the film builds his anticipated return while we await his reaction to the chaos his gang creates. I really enjoyed the climax of this movie and many scenes still could hold up to today's audience.
½ September 30, 2010
Offbeat to the point where the style is a little uneasy for a western, but at the same time it is a gritty portrayal of life and crimes way out west. Particularly good are some of the character representations, especially from Robert Duvall.
March 5, 2010
Quite bad western but I wanted the MN history now that I'm here for good. Early Robert Duvall was interesting.
½ December 31, 2009
(*** 1/2): Thumbs Up

I really liked the cast (Duvall especially) and the direction of this film.
Super Reviewer
June 26, 2009
Robertson is a thinker and a dreamer, and Duval is a psychopath, who wants to keep on the Civil War to keep on killing; the film is unique for those two performances and the uncommented on psychedelic visions, which make science-enthusiast Cole Younger an unreligious prophet besides a decent man
April 4, 2009
A different take on the legendary James-Younger gang, which claims to be historically accurate. Younger is definitely the star of the gang in this portrayal with Jesse James being portrayed somewhat as an over the top fool. Okay, but not one of the best of the genre.
January 20, 2009
Not being a huge fan of psychadelic westerns in the vein of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and the "Life and Times of Roy Bean" this movie was nothing short of annoying. Duvall overacts his way through everything and the director is wedded to showing banal closeups of everyone but the horses. There are much better films that address the death of the old west and the beginnings of the modern age, like "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" and the best of them all, "The Wild Bunch". This film is mostly poor imitation.
½ January 10, 2009
Somehow not as good as the sum of its parts. Has a lot of good moments, not the least of which is the slightly metaphysical ending. Dana Elcar and Donald Moffet momentarily steal the show as typically stubborn Minnesotan businessmen.
½ September 15, 2008
Cliff Robertson steals this flick, very authentic western, lovely music, underrated
½ May 21, 2008
silly dukes of hazard county narration, sentimental banjos, and the end of the wild wild west. Cole Younger is the thinking man's outlaw, while Duvall's Jesse James hams it up with tongue out and latent homosexuality. The shots of Pinkerton squinting it out in a box car are almost as good as as the steam whistle organ played by a dead german shoot-out in the animated rain. Good? Probably.
May 19, 2008
I enjoyed this movie. It was great little black comedy. Robert Duvall was brilliant as Jesse James.
½ May 15, 2008
reaaly liked that movie for one thing they did not try to make us believed that jesse james was a good guy in fact in this movie he's really a bad guy yeah very good acting and castin the directior is really good to
½ March 9, 2008
I would classify this movie as a wonderment
½ March 8, 2008
A tad dated. Don't like the doc feel they force on the film, but I feel that the portrayle of Cole Younger, Jesse James, and gang is fairly accurate...just a bunch of hicks looking to steal a yankee buck.
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