Blu-ray: The Long Riders

STUDIO: Kino Lorber | DIRECTOR: Walter Hill | CAST: Stacy Keach James Keach, Robert Carradine, Keith Carradine, David Carradine, Randy Quaid, Dennis Quaid, Nicholas Guest, Christopher Guest
9/26/17 | PRICE: DVD $13.99,  Blu-ray $23.51
featurettes, interviews, commentary, more
R | 100 min. | Western | 1.85:1 widescreen | DTS 5.1 Surround | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

Kino Lorber’s new edition of The Long Riders represents one of the finest Blu-ray editions of a Walter Hill (48 Hrs.) film that we’ve ever seen (yes, even more so than Shout Factory’s Streets of Fire from earlier this year). At the very least, it’s a helluva lot better than MGM/Fox’s 2011 Blu-ray of the 1980 film…!

The Long Riders is probably best remembered for its novelty casting of four sets of real-life brothers in the roles of the sibling members of the James-Younger outlaw gang. They are Stacy and James Keach (Waiting for Forever) as Frank and Jesse James; Robert, Keith and David Carradine (Dark Fields) as Bob, Jim and Cole Younger; and Randy and Dennis Quaid (Pandorum) as Clell and Ed Miller.

But there are many who seriously groove on Ric Waite’s gorgeous location cinematography, Ry Cooder’s twangy score and, of coursework, Hill’s stunningly mounted action set pieces. And these are the elements that scream out for a first-rate Blu-ray adaptation.

Arriving with a new 4K restoration, the sound and vision of the new Blu-ray definitely deliver. Yes, there are minor scratches and spots that appear here and there, but they taper off as the film moves into its second reel. The grain texture is also much more consistent that MGM’s earlier release, ditto for the audio quality. So sonically, this time around, I really dug the gang’s ill-fated attempted robbery in Northfield, Minnesota, the film’s action highlight. The thunder in the horses’ galloping hooves, the report when six-shooters were discharged and the whirring sizzle as bullets flied into their outlaw targets—yeah, it sounded great.

The disc’s package of supplements is outstanding, with Hill, Cooder, producer Tim Zinneman and a bunch of cast members sitting down for new interviews. There’s also a solid hour-long 2013 making-of doc from Robert Fischer and a engaging audio commentary by a trio of film historians. The coolest bit of info concerns Heaven’s Gate, MGM’s zillion-dollar disaster which was being produced at the same time as the studio’s modestly budgeted (and far superior) Long Riders. Hill and company went a bit over budget on their film and MGM coughed up a more money, but not nearly as much as they did for Heaven’s Gate, which ultimately sunk the studio.


Buy or Rent The Long Riders
on DVD | Blu-ray 

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.