The True Story of Jesse James
The True Story of Jesse James (1957)

Actually, this retelling of the life of outlaw Jesse James is only as true as its predecessor, the highly fanciful 1939 Tyrone Power-Henry Fonda starrer Jesse James. Generous chunks of stock footage from the earlier film are reused here,… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: February 1, 1957
DVD Release Date: March 6, 2007
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Critic Score: 86% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

Though hardly Nicholas Ray's sturdiest effort, this 1957 'Scope western began as one of his more ambitious conceptions, with an unorthodox narrative structure and deliberately theatrical sets.

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Variety Staff

On celluloid Jesse James has had more lives than a cat, and The True Story of Jesse James suggests it's time screenwriters let him roll over and play dead for real and reel.

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TV Guide

Ray's pacing builds some good excitement, and as a western alone the film works nicely. But there are deeper things going on, some not entirely and successfully worked out.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

Ray is one of the great natural filmmakers, a master of moral ambiguity and jittery mise-en-scene.

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Emanuel Levy

One of Nicholas Ray's weaker films, this mythical Western displays his thematic concern with protagonists that are outsiders but suffers from the performances of pretty boys Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter.

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Time Out

A fine Western, the only regret being Robert Wagner. Imagining Dean in the central role makes it one of the great might-have-beens.

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Obviously the pair have a hard act to follow, but they manage it perfectly well, with Hunter particularly good in the brotherly sidekick role.

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Flixster Audience Score: 36% Flixster User Reviews
jay nixon
Average western with a haircut performance by Robert Wagner and a rather bland one by Jeffrey Hunter. Even the usually excellent Hope Lange and Agnes Moorehead… More
Ken Stachnik
The performances and direction feel totally phoned in. The few nice moments it does have are outweighed by a really lack luster effort.
Stephen M
A remake of Henry King's "Jesse James" which introduces the Younger Brothers, ups Jesse's Robin Hood-like philanthropy and blames… More