I Shot Jesse James - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

I Shot Jesse James Reviews

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August 16, 2016
Sam Fuller's first film is a notch above the average western thanks to Fuller's odd touches.
September 20, 2015
Better than usual forties western, where the main character is an anti-hero.
October 14, 2014
Saw this to compare it to The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford. Definitely an inspiration for that movie, especially at the beginning. Probably the best scene is the musician singing the folk song to Ford. The romantic elements didn't work to me, and it's too bad the film decides to mostly focus on this aspect of Ford's story.
May 3, 2013
Samuel Fuller's debut isn't as strong as his other films, but there are some moments of nuance and brilliance and nuance among the basic tropes of the times. The bar scene in which Ford asks the musician to play the song that tears into him, the infamous bathtub scene, and the reenactment of the famous shooting on stage are all amazing scenes. However, the movie seems to lose steam throughout and the second half is just a basic western love triangle. The acting is solid and the story is okay, but ultimately the smaller parts of the movie work better than a whole package.
July 13, 2012
dark western? i love it
Super Reviewer
December 12, 2011
As the legendary Samuel Fuller's debut film, "I Shot Jesse James" is a western with Fuller's trademark close-up shots and psychological aspects as well as the use of newspaper pages displaying various events. The film is filled with complete characters, especially John Ireland as Bob Ford who practically steals the film! While It's no secretary who and how Jesse James was killed, the film focuses on the aftermath and ensuing destruction of Bob Ford. There are many different linked characters and subplots but this is about one man's destiny after he betrays his best friend and partner for his own ambitions. I loved the pacing of the film and Fuller's touch, while not on full display, are already seeping in and what eventually garnered the critical acclaim he later would receive. If you're a fan of Fuller, westerns, or even dramas this is a great work done by the gifted Samuel Fuller when he first set out directing and shouldn't be missed!
October 1, 2011
A film ahead of its time, one that challenges Hollywood westerns both thematically and visually in a way that would become big with revisionist films nearly twenty years later. Sam Fuller was interesting visionary because he both admired and resisted commercial moviemaking. His films seem distant from the system yet they utilize so much of it. Though it isn't as powerful a telling of the Bob Ford story as Andrew Dominik's 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)', Fuller's version is nearly as violent in isolating Ford as a greedy opportunist while secretly (and painfully) revealing to its audience the sad truth behind the story- that behind the mythos and the towering legend, Ford was a human being, and one irreversible action, even if it was cold-blooded murder, ruined his life and probably haunted him through his final breath. Ford is played here powerfully by John Ireland; he gives the character a cold and careless immediacy yet has a softness behind the eyes. He is a boy, really, and the performance, like Casey Affleck's in Dominik's film, helps to show that we don't really grow up, we just learn to pretend.
May 22, 2011
Not historical, poorly acted. Pass on this one.
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2011
Sam Fuller has a soft-ish side, who knew?
Also the bathtub scene, almost as homo-erotic as Spartacus (almost).
April 13, 2011
This was pretty good. Sam Fuller's first feature, but it sets the groundwork of better things to come. Typically to the point, the story revolves around Bob Ford's struggle post his Jessse James shooting. Difficult to pin point where your sympathies lie, but bennefits from this.
½ March 30, 2011
My Sam Fuller Festival continues. The story of the man who shot the outlaw told rather stolidly. Interesting but not all that intriguing. Fuller's first film is fun but not fantastic.
½ December 29, 2010
Dec 2010 (with Kia) - This is is Fuller's debut and it is amazing just as that. There is definitely an artificial feeling with the movie in the beginning. But it gets much better when we see ourselves deeper into the character of Bob Ford. We see how Jesse James' ghost follows him and how he cannot get away. I loved it at the end when in the duel like scene, we are reminded again that he shot Jesse James from behind. It was also fascinating to learn how much of the story has really happened.
April 27, 2010
Samuel Fuller's first film features John Ireland playing the kind of two-faced killer he later became known for. Strangely enough, Jesse James doesn't have much of a presence in this and when Frank James comes to avenge his brother, nothing happens. Instead Fuller (who wrote the script) plays up the love triangle between Ireland, Preston Foster and the fetching Barbra Britton who looks all the world like Nichole Kidman in some scenes. But the film, like the Brad Pitt retelling of the story falls flat and gets bogged down by its own storytelling.
January 29, 2010
This is a tough film to watch after viewing Andrew Dominik's masterpiece, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford. And while it essentially laughs in the face of historical accuracy... Samuel Fuller's debut is a compelling one, spearheaded by a terrific performance from John Ireland.
½ January 26, 2010
Very "Out of the norm" western for this time period, not so much though if you're a Sam Fuller fan, because this story about Bob Ford is full of cinematographic touches that distances itself quite far from the B westerns of the time period. John Ireland plays Bob Ford quite well, who does a job almost too well, dammit, whyja have to kill Jesse James fer? And soon he's ostracised. Not too sure how much of it's true, but it does make me want to look it up and read about it, which is what a good movie is supposed to do..
November 29, 2009
This is a story that utilizes the form of the western perfectly. It's true that the acting, dialogue, and camera work are a bit clunky but the moral and psychological dilemma of the hero/anti-hero is the arch that keeps the tension building. The film raises questions that transcend the setting or any historical accuracy. Sam Fuller is looking to make the audience squirm a bit and that's what's so refreshing about storytelling of this quality. I was inspired by this one.
½ November 26, 2009
Loved this Movie. The scene with the traveling minstrel is fantastic. Great movie.

I don't remember if it was Shakespeare or Aristotle, but one of them once said, "No one loves the man who he fears."
½ November 7, 2009
First Fuller film plays very well first half is kinda slow. Not like a traditional western without heroes or villians, just people.
Super Reviewer
½ October 7, 2009
I Shot Jesse James deals more with the historically questionable exploits (i.e. the love story) of Robert Ford after killing Jesse James (who didn't come off that scary or legendary) than the lead up to the event itself. The brief relationship (in this movie at least) between James and Ford is one of the most homoerotic things I've seen in 40s cinema. The post-James murder seems like it could've been any drama but just happened to have Robert Ford as one of the main characters. Samuel Fuller's direction is the main draw with this one because if you've seen The Assassination of Jesse James any other telling of the story is pretty much ruined for you. I Shot Jesse James isn't a great movie but reasonably groundbreaking for a 40s western.
September 20, 2009
This isn't Fuller at his best but it certainly has some great moments.
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