This is simply a wonderful 2 disc set.
This is the first movie I ever worked on when employed by United Artists and what a true learning experience it was. I have so many wonderful memories and so many good friends I met on the set of the movie and we have stayed friends ever since...some even went on to be in a few of my productions.
Kris Kristofferson is James Averill, a man born to wealth who prefers the life with the poor out in the wilds of Wyoming. He loves Ella Watson, played by Isabelle Huppert and wants to marry her, but never gets around to actually asking her. Christopher Walken is Nate Champion a hired gun who kills immigrants that steal cattle to eat.
The cattlemen decide to kill all the immigrants who are invading the land in and around Johnson County. This is based on the factual battle in 1890 in Johnson County Wyoming. Director Michael Cimino was WAYYYYYY ahead of his time with this western that bombed at the box office and sank the company. This is a beautiful film with stunning photography by Vilmos Zsigmond.
Don't listen to all the badmouthing of this film, it is simply stunning and way ahead of it's time. As a matter of fact it is one of the most violent westerns since Sam Peckinpah brought us the Wild Bunch. Brutal, fun, sad and moving, this film has it all and Criterion brings us the 3 hr. 46 min. version in all it's glory. This set also has interviews with Kristofferson and David Mansfield who acts in the film and wrote to beautiful music score.
If you're so inclined I highly recommend this film. One of the best ever. Thanks to Criterion for putting out this gorgeous version. The rest of the cast includes John Hurt, Sam Waterston, Joseph Cotton, Mickey Rourke, Jeff Bridges and Brad Dourif.