American Outlaws

  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Silly western revisits Jesse James.
  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
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15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence

Lots of action violence, characters in peril, many killed.

Sex

Sexual references, including mild reference to prostitution.

Language

Some crude language

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, scene in bar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie features a great deal of western-style violence, with many injuries and deaths. There are several shoot-outs and major characters are killed, including a parent. The main characters are robbers who kill when they must to get away with the money. There is some strong cowboy language, including mild references to prostitutes. A scene takes place in a saloon, and a boy takes a drink.

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Kids say

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What's the story?

All Jesse James (Colin Farrell) wanted was to come back from the Civil War and farm his land. But he finds that the railroad men have been forcing residents fromt heir land to make room for a new railroad line. James and his brother Frank (Gabriel Macht) join with their cousins, the Younger brothers, Cole (Scott Caan), Bob (Will McCormack), and Jim (Gregory Smith), embark on a Robin Hood-style robbing spree -- robbing from the railroads to give to the people who have lost their land.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

AMERICAN OUTLAWS is a rock and roll western for the MTV era. It may be a little on the dumb and cheesy side, but it does not take itself or its characters too seriously and it has enough cute cowboys, shoot-outs, and romance to remind us how much we've missed seeing westerns. Once we abandon any pretense of historical accuracy, we can settle back and enjoy the story -- more of a fable -- about the infamous Jesse James and the James-Younger gang.

There are some good action scenes and solid production values. The script is unimpressive. What makes the movie work as well as it does is the performance of Irish actor Colin Farrell, whose critically acclaimed but little seen performance in Tigerland built up a lot of anticipation for his first starring role in a major American film. He more than lives up to that promise, giving Jesse James a charm and all-American open-heartedness that make it easy for us to accept him as the hero. And this movie really is about the outlaw as rock star. People seem positively honored to be robbed by them, and the man who is charged with capturing him says admiringly, "If I was to design the perfect outlaw band, this is the gang I'd create," and "I'd just as soon kill you, Jesse, but chasing you takes up too much of my time."

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie makes us root for the robbers. Would it be possible to tell this story from a different point of view? Families should do some research on the real Jesse James. Why is he such a fascinating and romantic figure, more than a century after his death?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 17, 2001
DVD release date:June 4, 2002
Cast:Ali Larter, Colin Farrell, Scott Caan
Director:Les Mayfield
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence and mild sexual references

This review of American Outlaws was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byyeslek April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Great Movie

It was really funny and I would recommend it to anyone from about 12 and up. The acting is great and good music too.

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