The Long Riders

Walter Hill’s The Long Riders is a film that I rewatch over and over again. The story of Jesse James and the gang he rode with which included his brother Frank and two other sets of brothers – the Youngers and the Millers.

This film is famous for casting four sets of real life brothers. The Keach brothers, the Carridine brothers, the Guest brothers and the Quaid brothers. And I’d say that collectively, none of them have done anything better.

The film features some great shootouts, some cracking action but also humanises the outlaws and shows them spending time on romance and family.

The photography is great – the editing (this IS a Walter Hill film) is fabulous and the soundtrack is a standout.

If anything, the film isn’t a long enough ride. And in today’s modern day and age, this would make an outstanding series for Netflicks. A kind of real life Deadwood, where we could learn more about the characters and examine their journey in fuller detail.

On a side note, this was the favourite film of the Irish band The Pogues – they saw themselves as an outlaw gang, and often played music from the soundtrack.

The trailer is below…

So, 17 films to go…

Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script consultant, script writer for hire and filmmaker for hire for over 20 years.