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Ride with the Devil (1999)

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During the American Civil War, two friends join the Bushwhackers, a militant group loyal to the Confederacy.

Director:

Ang Lee

Writers:

Daniel Woodrell (novel), James Schamus (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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 nineteen, Jake is ill at ease with war. As his friends die one after another, he must decide where honor lies. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

5 November 1999 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Civil War See more »

Filming Locations:

Doniphan, Kansas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$64,159, 28 November 1999

Gross USA:

$630,779
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the group buries Jack Bull Chiles in the dugout, Sue Lee kisses him on the lips before he is covered with dirt. This is in the novel and the film. But in the novel, Jake also kisses him on the lips right after Sue Lee does, which Holt scoffs or chuckles at, earning him a rebuke from Jake. See more »

Goofs

A wooden country revival style "teddy bear" is seen in "Aunt Wilma's" parlor. The distinctive "teddy bear" was created in honor of Teddy Roosevelt, decades later, however toy wooden bears were common items even before the Civil War. The story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" was written in 1834, greatly increasing interest in toy bears. Stuffed bear toys started showing up in catalogs as early as 1894, long before Teddy Roosevelt was associated with them. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: On the western frontier of Missouri, the American Civil War was fought not by armies, but by neighbors. Informal gangs of local southern Bushwhackers fought a bloody and desperate guerrilla war against the occupying Union Army and pro-Union Jayhawkers.
Title Card: Allegiance to either side was dangerous. But it was more dangerous still to find oneself caught in the middle.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Miss McLeod's Reel
Traditional
Performed by John Whelan, Kelly Werts, Roger Landes, and Jeffrey Dover (as Jeff Dover)
Produced by Alex Steyermark
With thanks to Connie Dover
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powerful, accurate and genuinely moving
24 May 2000 | by Nikos-12See all my reviews

Taiwanese director Ang Lee, whose previous films include 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'The Ice Storm', turned to the American Civil War for his latest feature. Based on a novel by Daniel Woodrell, it follows the exploits of a group of Southern guerrillas, known as bushwhackers, as they fight their Northern equivalents, the jayhawkers in the backwater of Missouri.

As one might expect, there is plenty of visceral action, but the focus is on the tension that the war put on the young men who fought it - many of whom were fighting against their former neighbours and even family. Jake Roedel (Tobey Maguire) is such a man, or rather, boy, as he is only seventeen when the war reaches Missouri. He is the son of a German immigrant, but instead of following his countrymen and becoming a Unionist, he joins his lifelong friend Jack Bull Chiles (Skeet Ulrich) and rides with the bushwhackers. Despite a lack of acceptance because of his ancestry and an unwillingness to participate in the murder of unarmed Union men, he remains loyal to the cause. So does his friend Daniel Holt (Jeffrey Wright), a black slave freed by another bushwhacker and so fighting for the South.

Lee handles the subject with aplomb, never rushing the deep introspection that the plot demands in favour of action and this lends the film a sense of the reality of war - long periods of boredom and waiting interposed with occasional flashes of intensely terrifying fighting. The action is unglamorised and admirably candid, recognising that both sides committed a great number of atrocities.

The performances are superb, with Maguire and Wright both courageous and dignified. Up-and-coming Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers is particularly chilling as a cold-blooded killer, while Skeet Ulrich is enjoyably suave and arrogant. Lee never flinches from the reality of war, but his actors do an admirable job of showing the good that comes from it - the growth of friendship, the demonstration of courage and, on a wider scale, the emancipation of oppressed peoples. Ride With the Devil is a beautiful and deeply compassionate film that regularly shocks but always moves the audience.


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