Ever since I heard the amazing score of this film, composed by James Horner (Titanic), I really wanted to know which film belonged to the music. It was Legends of the Fall and I wasn’t disappointed!
The story is set in the gorgeous wilderness of the USA in the early 1900’s where a father, his sons and a few Indians live. This film shows how the band of three brothers is affected by love, war and time and how this affects the three generations of the family Ludlow.
After colonel William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) recides from the army, he starts living in the wilderness with his wife and three sons. When his wife leaves him, for unknown reasons, the Indian One Stab (Gordon Tootoosis) helps William with raising his sons. One Stab gets a special band with the second son, Tristan (Brad Pitt), who is the wildest of the three. When all the sons are grown up, Samuel (Henry Thomas) returns home with his fiancé Susannah (Julia Ormond) which causes some stares and flirtation from mainly the oldest brother Alfred (Aidan Quinn). It doesn’t take long before Alfred realises he is in love with his brother’s fiancé. But his jealousy grows when he sees the growing passion between Susannah and Tristan. Not long after Susannah and Samuel arrives, the family gets the news about the war in Europe, World War I. Those war scenes actually look great! That one fatal moment is made very dramatic, it couldn’t have been more sad!
The three brothers do what’s right and go to war, leaving Susannah behind at their father’s place. But the night before they leave something happened what causes friction between Tristan and Alfred which ultimately ensures that they do not see each other for years. When Tristan sees Susannah again, a lot has changed, both are trying to leave the past behind and continue their lives. But because of everything that has happened Tristan leaves his home again to discover the world and try to find himself back. I think it’s a decade later when he returns home and sees how much everyone has changed: his father, his Indian friends and Susannah. Nobody is completely happy, maybe for a moment or so, but when they realize what they’ve lost during all these years it’s hard for them to leave that behind.
At the end of the film you realise the story is told by the Indian One Stab, who said something beautiful about Tristan: “He was a rock they broke themselves against however much he tried to protect them”.
It is for you to see what actually happened to the three brothers, the Indian friends and Susannah. It’s full of romance but it’s also heartbreaking at some times. The score by James Horner puts even more emphasis on the dramatic aspect.