Sight and Sound - 12/01/1973
"...A remarkable depth....The film always looks good..."
Based on the true story of the last failed bank robbery by the James and Younger brothers, this film is notable for showing the unraveling heist from the outlaws' viewpoint. THE GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID was shot in a meticulous semidocumentary style that brings to life the glorious last ride of the infamous band of outlaws, featuring outstanding lead performances from Robert Duvall and Cliff Robertson. Late in the summer of 1876, Jesse James (Duvall) and Cole Younger (Robertson) were given amnesty by their home state of Missouri; after a long and prosperous career as robbers, the dynamic duo were, ironically, proclaimed state heroes. Faced with the possibility of a quiet and peaceful future, the notorious ruffians had no choice but to plan one final heist at the biggest bank west of the Mississippi, in Northfield, Minnesota. The heist was a grand scheme planned with great intellectual prowess by Younger, the introverted and soft-spoken leader of the group, who was often overshadowed by the flashy and daredevil killer, Jesse James. Together the two men executed what they thought would be a foolproof plan--until the citizens of Northfield proved them wrong.
Filmed on location in Minnesota and Jacksonville, Oregon.
The film includes the song "Hodie Christus--Natus Est," performed by the St. Olaf's Choir.