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This film, RIDE WITH THE DEVIL, is one of the truly great American films, and the only one that even begins to get close to the feeling of the border wars, the bushwacking, the betrayals, and the split families. In Missouri, the Civil War was hell on earth, breaking every family apart at least once.
Dec 17, 1999 · "Ride With the Devil" is the first Civil War film I can recall that is not told with the benefit of hindsight. It's about characters who don't know the North will win--and sometimes don't much seem to care. It's said that all politics are local; this movie argues that some wars are local, too. In Missouri, the only slave-holding state that sided with the Union, it tells the story of a small ...
Ride with the Devil manages to succeed more in principle than it does in the moment. Full Review | Original Score: C- Paula Nechak Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Audience Reviews for Ride With the Devil. May 20, 2013. Pretty good, but really longer than it needs to be. Honestly too, the ending is very misleading, building up to a confrontation that ends up ...
- history, drama
- Historical Background
- Plot Summary
- Historical Accuracy
The American Civil War (1861-1865) had started several years early in Kansas Territory. Slavery was an extremely divisive issue in the United States, therefore the Missouri Compromise had been adopted in 1820 to prevent conflict. New states above the southern boundary of Missouri (excluding Missouri) would join the Union as a free state, while states located below Missouri automatically became slave states. However, the compromise was broken when Kansas Territory was opened to settlement in 1854. Since the residents were permitted to vote whether to join the Union as a slave or free state, this would disturb the delicate balance between the two sides, so abolitionists and pro-slavery advocates fought to ensure that Kansas tilted the balance in their favor. Zealots on both sides used the threat of violence to intimidate settlers with opposing viewpoints into leaving, so armed confrontations were common. Although the pro-slavery advocates had the initial advantage because Kansas borde...
The son of a prosperous family and his best friend, a German-American, join a band of bushwhackers after Jayhawkers burn his home and kill his father. Unable to find the guerrillas, the Union soldiers loot and tear up Missouri towns to terrorize sympathizers. It is a vicious war and anyone suspected of loyalty to the wrong side is killed and their homes destroyed. A number of female relatives of bushwhackers are arrested for aiding the rebels, but several die on August 14, 1863, when the building where they are being held collapses. The guerrillas vow revenge, and Quantrill gathers all of the bands for a raid on Lawrence, the home of Jayhawkers and abolitionists. The operation is viewed as suicide but the guerrilas feel that their days are numbered anyway. The bushwhackers attack Lawrence and ride out several hours later, leaving the town in flames as the desperate women try to save some of their possessions. Shocked by the wanton destruction, some of the guerrillas can no longer pa...
Superb period detail makes up for an unnecessarily melodramatic romance. The guerrillas are mainly teenagers and men barely into adulthood with long, greasy hair, who wear colorful homespun shirts with big pockets, just like the actual bushwhackers. Shootouts are chaotic and deadly, while medical treatment is rough, painful and not always successful. At one point, the band is surrounded in a farmhouse because they did not post sentries, and the barely repressed terror mixed with a powerful desire to survive is visible on their faces. Each guerrilla carries at least three or four Colt repeating revolvers, and changes guns quickly during fights. The Union cavalry have decent horses and Colt revolvers, which the real Union cavalry dearly wished they had, instead of the single-shot carbines and sabers they were forced to use. Sabers were deadly at close range but most Union cavalrymen were shot out of their saddles long before they were close enough to use them. The portrayal of the sac...
The movie’s greatest weakness is that it is well-intentioned. The effort to show that men on both sides were not that different is a laudable but misplaced sentiment. Aside from a few scenes of wanton killing and destruction, the film largely ignores the constant looting and harassment of their families that drove these men to choose the hard life of a guerrilla. Although the story acknowledges the blatant racism that would have been prevalent at the time, the time-honored tradition of having one character start out as an overt racist but eventually recognize that the black character is a human being by the end of the film is also present. It is an entertaining movie that moves along quickly and is genuinely charming at times. While the story does not skimp on the brutality, it is much less generous with the background. There is a brief mention of Jim Lane leading raiding parties into Missouri but Bleeding Kansas is never referred to, even though it would have put the Jayhawker raid...
Jul 15, 2021 · Ride with the Devil is an American Civil War film, set in Missouri, that shows the escalating of the guerrilla war between the irregulars. It emotionally climaxes with an interpretation of the Lawrence Massacre. The warfare sequences throughout Ride with the Devil are impressively handled, with long gun battles, and movement on horses.
- Good Machine, Universal Pictures
- Ang Lee
Ride with the Devil follows four people who are fighting for truth and justice amidst the turmoil of the American Civil War. Director Ang Lee takes us to a no man's land on the Missouri/Kansas border where a staunch loyalist, an immigrant's son, a freed slave, and a young widow form an unlikely friendship as they learn how to survive in an uncertain time.
- Good Machine, Universal Pictures
- Ang Lee