The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, is now available on the HBO Go and HBO Now streaming services. Directed by Andrew Dominik and based upon a 1983 novel of the same name, the film is a meditative work on fame and friendship, set in the last year of the outlaw’s life. Pitt played James (1847-1882), and Affleck was Ford (1862-1892). HBO Go is the online video-on-demand service available to HBO TV subscribers, with HBO Now a stand-alone streaming service that does not require an HBO TV subscription.

JJ movie still

This coming September 21st will mark the 10th anniversary of the release of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. To this writer, it is a film that rewards repeated viewings and with its strong ensemble acting, hauntingly melancholic cinematography, and moody score, it reaches beyond the Western genre. The film has grown in both critical and audience support during the past decade, and a recent revival movement, led by the website Jesse James Revival, saw a series of screenings in hopes that the film is placed into the programs of repertory movie houses. Here is one trailer for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford:

This site has written a number of posts about the film and recommended links for that analysis could begin with Jesse James in Melancholy LightExtra Scenes from TAOJJand Film Poetry. The following scene is one highlight from the film of the complicated relationship that emerges between Jesse James and Robert Ford:

The final release version of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was 2 hours & 40 minutes, but there was in fact one 4-hour edit. Brad Pitt stated in an interview that the 4-hour version allowed even more character development. This writer believes that there is an audience for such an expanded edit of this powerful film. Will Warner Bros., the distributor, release that version on the 10th anniversary of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford? Many hope they do.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)


    1. Thanks, Dan, for the visit & comments. It will be interesting to see if the “mythic” 4-hour version ever surfaces…my money is on that being as watchable as well!

      1. Wow! That’s an incredible article. Thanks for the share! It astounds me that it wasn’t as big of a success among the critics. This definitely reaffirms my assumption that Brad Pitt might just be a creative genius, especially because he welcomes collaboration with the best talents out there. Did you hear Dominick had a 4.5 hour directors cut that was never released? Supposedly the ending after the assassination was expanded another hour and a half to go in depth into the Ford brothers’ subsequent suffering. I’m hoping it gets released in an anniversary edition.

      2. Ah, just noticed you talk about it at the end as well. Great minds think alike! It’s only a matter of time before that version gets released.

  1. Thanks for the follow-up comments, Alex. I agree that the groundswell of support for the 4+ hour version is there…and that it would be well-timed to be available for the 10th anniversary of the film this coming September.

    I think the extra footage would also likely include scenes pre-assassination. For example, there is a small bit in the second official trailer where Jesse James asks Bob Ford what he’s afraid of…to which Ford replies, “being forgotten”. That scene didn’t make the currently-released version.


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