Ride with the Devil (film)

Ride with the Devil (film)

Infobox Film
name = Ride with the Devil

caption = Promotional poster
director = Ang Lee
producer = James Schamus
writer = Daniel Woodrell (novel)
James Schamus (screenplay)
starring = Tobey Maguire
Skeet Ulrich
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
Simon Baker
music = Mychael Danna
cinematography = Frederick Elmes
editing = Tim Squyres
distributor = Universal Pictures
USA Films
Good Machine
released = November 24, 1999
runtime = 138 min.
country = United States
language = English
budget = $38,000,000
gross = $635,096
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0134154

"Ride with the Devil" is a 1999 American Civil War drama directed by Ang Lee. The film starred Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, Jeffrey Wright, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Ryan Richards and folk/pop singer Jewel. It is based on the novel "Woe to Live On", by Daniel Woodrell and the screenplay was written by James Schamus.


Jake Roedel (Tobey Maguire) and Jack Bull Chiles (Skeet Ulrich) are friends in Missouri when the Civil War starts. Jack Bull's father is killed by Kansas Union jayhawkers. The two boys join the Missouri irregulars known as "bushwhackers" or "border ruffians" – informal units loyal to Missouri, not willing to fight someone else's war in Virginia. They meet George Clyde (Simon Baker) and former slave Daniel Holt (Jeffrey Wright), whom Clyde granted his freedom. They battle using guerrilla tactics and hide out during the winter months.

Jack and Sue Lee (Jewel), widowed daughter-in-law to the man that is hiding them, become lovers. When Jack dies following a skirmish, Jake escorts Sue Lee south to a safe farm. Following the deaths of a number of female relatives and wives of the guerrillas in the collapse of a warehouse where they were being held hostage by Union forces, the bushwhackers, led by William Quantrill, make a raid into Lawrence, Kansas. In the midst of the raid a quarrel arises between Jake and fellow bushwacker Pitt Mackeson (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers).

Jake eventually marries Sue. For the remaining part of the film Jake must watch his back for fear of his life. At the end of the film the two meet again. Pitt tells of their mutual friends who were hanged in Dover, Kansas, and in a roundabout way Pitt tells of his intentions to meet a similar fate in his nearby hometown, because he intends to go into town and have a drink. Afterwards Jake and Sue Roedel leave for California while Daniel Holt leaves for Texas to save his family.


* Tobey Maguire as Jake Roedel
* Skeet Ulrich as Jack Bull Chiles
* Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Pitt Mackeson
* Simon Baker as George Clyde
* Thomas Guiry as Riley Crawford
* Mark Ruffalo as Alf Bowden
* Jewel as Sue Lee Shelley
* Margo Martindale as Wilma Brown
* Zach Grenier as Mr. Evans
* Tom Wilkinson as Orton Brown
* Jeffrey Wright as Daniel Holt
* James Urbaniak as Poker Player

Production and reception

The scenes of the Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, Kansas were filmed in Pattonsburg, Missouri. Pattonsburg was flooded out during the Great Flood of 1993 and the town was relocated leaving many empty buildings and homes available.

The film was intended to be a summer blockbuster, costing over US$35 million to produce (a large sum for most Westerns). However, despite majority positive reviews by film critics it received negative press after screenings because of the portrayal of a Black Confederate guerrilla by Jeffrey Wright in a role based on Free Black John Noland who rode with Confederate raider Quantrill.

The film was released on around 140 screens in the U.K. for a limited run and made barely over £100,000. It was then released without any promotion on eight U.S. screens for a limited run of only three days (January 20-22, 2000) fetching only $64,000.

The scheduled home video release of the movie was delayed four months so the distributor could alter the cover art and remove Jeffrey Wright's image from the front video and DVD and as of 2003 had yet to turn a profit.

External links

* [http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2510225689/ Theatrical trailer] at IMDb
* [http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi75759897/ Video trailer] at IMDb

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