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Ride With the Devil [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Actors: Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, Jewel Kilcher, Jeremy W. Auman, Scott Sener
  • Directors: Ang Lee
  • Writers: James Schamus, Daniel Woodrell
  • Producers: Anne Carey, David Linde, James Schamus, Robert F. Colesberry, Ted Hope
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: 18 July 2000
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0783241909
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 222,042 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Great period pictures make you feel as if you've stepped into another era, heard its language, breathed its spirit, and come away with a fresh perspective on that time as well as your own. Ride with the Devil is one of those special films--why wasn't it more widely embraced by reviewers and filmgoers? Did it rely too much on our patience for slow accumulation of unforced rhythms and meanings (as opposed to The Patriot, which "moved" audiences with cattle-prod simplicity and manipulation)? Ride with the Devil--smart, handsome, tenderly awed by how individual lives get ambushed by history--is ripe for rediscovery.

The Civil War of battlefields and plantation houses is nowhere to be seen here. Instead we see the war as an improvised and largely blundering but very bloody feud among neighbours in the border state of Missouri. In this bucolic war zone--more than a little reminiscent of the Balkans in the late 1990s--the Taiwanese-born director Ang Lee (The Ice Storm) traces the destinies of several young Southern bushwhackers (guerrilla fighters) as they experience violence, the seasons, and different kinds of love. Skeet Ulrich draws the aristocratic glamour role (and top billing), but he's overshadowed by Tobey Maguire as a first-generation American, the magnificent Jeffrey Wright (a shameful oversight at Oscar time) as a freed slave fighting beside his former master, and singer Jewel in a very natural acting debut as the young widow who graces all their lives. The title The Birth of a Nation was already taken, but by the end of this movie you feel it would have applied here. --Richard T. Jameson,

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 66 people found the following review helpful By adanield on 20 July 2004
Format: DVD
Possibly. But even if some people disagree, there is no denying that it is a fabulous movie. It moves along with a grace and ease that many films of this genre cannot manage. While it is Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ullrich who share the top billing, starring as two teenage boys who become Bushwhackers (Guerilla soldiers who fight for the southern cause along the Kansas and Missouri border during the American Civil War) after Ullrich's father is killed and his house burnt down by Northern Jayhawkers, this is really Maguire and Jeffery Wright's film. Maguire's character is of German descent, a thing out of the ordinary amongst the White Anglo-saxon Protestant southerners, and as such is viewed with suspicion (and in one case downright hostility) by many of the men he is fighting alongside, something that his German Father warned him would happen. He also harbours his own prejudices however, especially against a freed Negro (Wright) who is fighting with them, but as the film moves on Maguire begins to look at events through a different perspective. The acting by all the leads is exceptional, but it is Maguire and Wright who must take most of the plaudits. They are both outsiders, thrown together fighting for a cause, that by all natural laws they should be fighting against. Their changing relationship, from suspicion on Maguire's part to acceptance and then finally to deep friendship is the core of the movie. Ullrich, Jewel (who plays a young widowed southern women romanced first by Ullrich and then Maguire) Jonathon Rhys-Meyers (as a psychotic Jayhawker) and Jim Caviezel (as a southern commander) all turn in first rate performances, but it is Maguire and Wright who really drive the movie along. It is an intelligent, thought provoking, moving, amusing, uplifting and sad movie.Read more ›
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Nov 2004
Format: DVD
If you want a war film of the black hawk down genre, then give this a miss. It's message will probably pass you by just as it surely did with the negative reviewer below. Highlighting the amputation scene as "the best bit" says it all. Its a protrayal of civil war played out at it lowest level, with neighbour fighting against neighbour and how that ultimatly affects peoples perceptions, loyalties and relationships. Excellent acting and a truly plausible scenario sensitivley portrayed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim Kidner TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 April 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ride With the Devil is an intelligent film that follows more the way a great novel would, rather than a shoot'em'up blockbuster. That means total attention to detail, realistic dialogue and characterisation that makes one understand these people who are on the run for their lives.

We've all known that Ang Lee could direct, for most that would start with his 'Sense & Sensibility', which shocked an awful lot of people, for a Taiwanese to turn in such a great film, his first film In English and about that elitist of film genres - the English period drama. For some of us others, who've tried to check out his earlier stuff, there's his excellent 'The Wedding Banquet'. I've yet to find a region 2 copy of his 'Eat Drink, Man Woman', though, unfortunately.

After 'Ride With...' many many more found his favour with 'The Ice Storm' and then legions more with 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'.

Anyways, 'Ride With the Devil' will always find more favour with the Sunday evening older population than the popcorn brigade as the film goes at its own pace, not ours. It's not hard to keep up with the measured pace but does require some concentration. For those that do can be rewarded with a textured story of depth, that is also beautifully filmed and well acted. There are no special effects, CGI or tricks of any kind. A rousing score by Mychael Danna adds musical dynamism.

Old fashioned?, well, yes, but this is history and that in the hands of Ang Lee does not mean boring. An underrated film.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By patrick 1916 on 14 Dec 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Outsanding movie that will linger on in the mind long after the final scenes. Vivid brutal portrayal of Civil war and how it steels men souls and compels them to do terrible things in the name of cause. Maguire is excellent, he portrays a farmers son who along with some friends conduct a clandestine war on behalf of the Confederacy. In the course of the movie he loses close friends, becomes disillusioned with war and violence and in the process becomes a man. Some of the imagery is breath taking, the acting excellent, surley one of the greatest Civil war movies ever made and a beautiful love story to boot. No idle sentimenet just a cracking movie that continues to delight on more viewings. Movies dont get much better than this.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cannucklehead Film Addict on 13 April 2010
Format: Blu-ray
A fantastic film in all respects, but most especially considering the language. The script, based on the amazing novel by Daniel Woodrell ("Woe to Live On"), tries to reproduce some of the speech patterns and rhythms of the real nineteenth century. When you add to this authentic clothing and weapons, a rattling good yarn (it ends with the atrocities committed by Quantrill's Raiders at Lawrence, Kansas), and some excellent acting, this is a must-see film. Lee manages to capture what looks, sounds and feels like an authentic slice of nineteenth century life. Especially good are the scenes where the raiders read out some letters captured from the Yankees. Expecting intelligence, instead they get a look at the humanity of their opponents. Or the scene with Jake and his friend talking about how they will identify Jake's body should he die ("That there is nubbin-fingered Jake"), and the scene where Jake gets married, partly against his will, and the scene where Jeffery Wright, a slave, explains why he is fighting alongside Jake and the others.

As to the reviewer who says there are no sub-titles, please note that his comments apply to the old Universal DVD. The new Criterion blu-ray not only is a director's cut (148 minutes as opposed to 138 minutes theatrical version), it also includes English sub-titles.

The only thing I would say is, the film is quite realistically violent. It isn't dwelt upon, and there are no slo-mo leaps or bullet hits, but it is violent. One final word, the the reviewer who compared it unfavourably to "Black Hawk Down": this is not a war movie, it's a movie about war. Big difference. Remember too, it takes place in the 1860s. "The past is another country; they do things differently there."
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