Ride with the Devil

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

The War Between the States, known as the Civil War, often put neighbor against neighbor and split families. The state of Missouri favored the Southern cause, while neighboring Kansas supported the Northern position. Union army irregulars from Kansas, called Jayhawkers, raided Missouri farms and Missouri irregulars, called Bushwhackers, would retaliate. Jake Roedel (Tobey Maguire), although his German father supports the North, joins his friends with the Southern Bushwhackers. His close friend, Jack Chiles (Skeet Ulrich) lost his father to Jayhawker raids. While wintering with a sympathetic family, Jack falls for their widowed daughter, Sue Lee (Jewel). But when Jack dies from a wound, Jake and a former slave, Daniel Holt (Jeffery Wright), takes Sue Lee away from the battle area. When he returns wounded, Jake learns that Sue Lee had a child with Jack. But Jake may have to bear the burden of the new family. This panoramic sweep of the Civil war captures many unique aspects of the men in the battles, but the slow pace makes the film seem longer than the war.

The Southern soldiers are usually polite and well-mannered. And women are respected as non-soldiers. One scene even shows a skirmish halted long enough for women and children to leave an embattled farmhouse. But brutal scenes of battle are also shown, such as a Southern raid on a Kansas city where citizens are executed in the street. Wounds and their treatment are often graphic such as Jacks arm being amputated or water squirting out of a bullet wound in a mans cheek. A unique aspect of the story shows a freed black slave fighting for the South beside his former master. The term nigger is used in historical context along with many mild crudities. Several obscenities and Gods name used in vain three times further mar the dialogue. Marriage is considered important to legitimize children, even if enforced by a shotgun. Sex is implied twice with Sue Lee and near breast nudity occurs briefly as she breast feeds. Although historically presented, the graphic violence and objectionable language make RIDE WITH THE DEVIL an unlikely trip.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
USA Films and Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (21) times - Mild 16, moderate 5

Obscene Language: Several (6) times - S-word

Profanity: Few (3) times - Regular (GD)

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (graphic shooting wounds, finger shot off, bloody hole in cheek, arm amputated, executions, gun threats)

Sex: Implied few times (umarried couple dressing, married couple in bed)

Nudity: None; Near Nudity - Few times (woman breast feeding baby)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (woman flirts with man, sensual kissing, man asks friends for privacy with girl, woman asks if man virgin)

Drugs: Alcoholic drinks, cigarettes

Other: Term nigger used in historical context, women respected, man complains city built school before church, former slave fights for South, man says name came from Bible story of Daniel, wedding important to legitimize children

Running Time: 138 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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