Colonel William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins – The Silence of the Lambs, Howards End) has three sons, but his middle son Tristan (Brad Pitt – Kalifornia, True Romance) is his favourite. Tristan is an outdoors type who is wild and takes many risks. Colonel Ludlow's wife, Isabel (Christina Pickles – The Wedding Singer, Romeo + Juliet) leaves the family home in Montana one winter and never returns. The youngest son, Samuel (Henry Thomas – ET the Extra Terrestrial, Gangs of New York), returns from Harvard in 1913 engaged to a young woman named Susannah Fincannon (Julia Ormond – Sabrina, First Knight). Samuel tells his father of rumours of war in Europe. Colonel Ludlow does not want to hear any talk of war in his house, as he was a veteran of the Indian Wars in the United States; but Samuel insists on going up to Canada to enlist. The eldest son, Alfred (Aidan Quinn – Desperately Seeking Susan, Benny & Joon), announces that he is joining Samuel. Susannah begs Tristan not to let Samuel go and Tristan promises her that he will look after Samuel. Alfred sees Tristan and Susannah in an embrace and is furious with his brother. From the time of World War I on, one tragedy after another befalls the Ludlow family which tests their resilience and the bonds of a family.
Legends of the Fall is an epic story of three brothers and the young woman who altered their lives. Though the overwhelming amount of tragedy that happens to one family becomes tiring after a while, over all this is a good film. The great score (James Horner – Titanic, The Perfect Storm), beautiful scenery, good acting, and interesting script all are excellently meshed together by talented director Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai, Courage Under Fire). Zwick has a great talent for directing epic movies without them becoming too much or too melodramatic. He inserts just the right amount of tragedy and heartbreak into his films which allows you to be so caught up in the story that you are spellbound. Legends of the Fall won the Oscar for Best Cinematography for John Toll (Elizabethtown, The Thin Red Line) in 1995 and it is well deserved. The shots of the landscape are so beautiful and clear that you can almost feel every breeze of wind, snow storm or drop of rain that occurs in the film. The script has a little bit of everything in that it involves a love story, a war story, and a story of family relations. It is definitely the type of film that you can watch time and time again without becoming bored with it.
-Production design featurette
-Isolated score highlights
-Previews of The Best of World War II Movies, Classic Westerns, Seven Years in Tibet, and A River Runs Through It.