Ride with the Devil

November 5th, 1999


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Still of Tobey Maguire, Jewel Kilcher and Jeffrey Wright in Ride with the DevilOn the set of Ride With The Devil

Jake Roedel and Jack Bull Chiles are friends in Missouri when the Civil War starts. Women and Blacks have few rights...

Release Year: 1999

Rating: 6.7/10 (7,518 voted)

Critic's Score: 69/100

Director: Ang Lee

Stars: Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, Jewel Kilcher

Jake Roedel and Jack Bull Chiles are friends in Missouri when the Civil War starts. Women and Blacks have few rights. Jack Bull's dad is killed by Union soldiers, so the young men join the Bushwhackers, irregulars loyal to the South. One is a Black man, Daniel Holt, beholden to the man who bought his freedom. They skirmish then spend long hours hiding. Sue Lee, a young widow, brings them food. She and Jack Bull become lovers, and when he's grievously wounded, Jake escorts her south to a safe farm. The Bushwhackers, led by men set on revenge, make a raid into Kansas. At 19, Jake is ill at ease with war. As his friends die one after another, he must decide where honor lies.

Writers: Daniel Woodrell, James Schamus

Tobey Maguire - Jake Roedel
Jeremy W. Auman - Guard
Scott Sener - Guard (as Scott C. Sener)
Skeet Ulrich - Jack Bull Chiles
Glenn Q. Pierce - Minister
Kathleen Warfel - Mrs. Chiles
David Darlow - Asa Chiles
Zan McLeod - Wedding Musician - Guitar
John Whelan - Wedding Musician - Accordion
Roger Landes - Wedding Musician - Mandolin
Jeffrey Dover - Wedding Musician - Drums
Tyler Johnson - Wedding Musician - Drums
Kelly Werts - Wedding Musician - Fiddle
Michael W. Nash - Horton Lee, Sr.
John Judd - Otto Roedel

Release Date: 5 November 1999

Filming Locations: Doniphan, Kansas, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $35,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: £100,722 (UK) (7 November 1999) (140 Screens)

Gross: $630,779 (USA) (23 January 2000)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | (director's cut)

Did You Know?

The scenes of the Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, Kansas were filmed in Pattonsburg, Missouri. Pattonsburg was flooded out during the great flood of 1993 and the town was relocated leaving many empty buildings and homes available.

Revealing mistakes: When Jake complains of losing the upper-half of his pinky finger, the brace holding down the top joints of the actor's finger is briefly shown as the camera pulls in on his hand.

[Camping out, Jack Bull Chiles and Jake Roedel discuss Jake's finger, which was shot off in a skirmish]
Jack Bull: My father's under the dirt to stay. Like that's gone to stay, too.
Jake: My finger?
Jack Bull: Mmm-hmm.
Jake: Well, so it is. And it makes me notable by the loss.
Jack Bull: You sound pleased... as if that finger'd been pesterin' you for rings.
Jake: No. It was a fine finger and I'd rather have it still, but... it was took from me and it's been et by chickens for sure. And I say, what is the good side to this amputation? And there is one.

User Review

Probably only a non-American could make this movie

Rating: 9/10

I've watched this movie twice now on DVD, and both times it didn't fail to impress me with its unique impartial attitude. It seems more like a depiction of reality than most other Hollywood fare, especially on a topic that is still hotly discussed. Even though it sticks closely with the southern viewpoint, it doesn't fail to question it, and in the end the only sentence passed is that the war is lost, not matter what, and cruelty is a common denominator.

What really makes this movie outstanding is the refusal to over-dramatize. Nowadays truly good movies (in a nutshell) are few and far apart, with mainstream fare being enjoyable (if you don't have high expectations), but terribly commercially spirited. I think this movie comes off as a truly good movie (without being a masterpiece), because it sticks to itself, and gives the viewer a chance to watch and analyze it, instead of wanting to bombard him with effect and emotion to blot out his intelligence. This movie is cool, observant, and generally light-handed in its judgement, which is GOOD.

The story has its flaws, especially Jewel's Character comes off doubtfully, but then again the situation at the time was so chaotic, that for a young widow it might have been only logical to somehow get back into a normal life, even by liberally taking each next guy. Still she doesn't come off as weak, in fact I think she's one of the stronger characters, she's always in control of the relationships, with the men just tagging. And I take it very gratefully that she's not a weeping widow. I believe in the 19th century death of a loved one was something a lot more normal than now. You could die so easily of even minor illnesses and injuries, so the prospect of of someone dying, while surely causing grief, didn't traumatise people like it does now. People didn't seem to build shrines about their lost ones like they do now, and I like that attitude.

My recommendation is for intelligent people to watch this movie, if they are in the mood for something different than the usual hollywood fare. Don't watch if if you want non-stop action or heart-renting emotion.