‘Legends of the Fall’ Turns 25: Why It’s Still One of the Best Movies About Masculinity

Legends of the Fall was a film before its time. Released 25 years ago, but set in the early 1900s, the classic drama depicts the tumultuous lives of the Ludlow family. Colonel William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) is the patriarch; his sons are uptight Alfred (Aidan Quinn), untamed Tristan (Brad Pitt), and naïve Samuel (Henry Thomas), all of whom at one point or another fall for Samuel’s passionate fiancée Susannah (Julia Ormond). One of the film’s central themes is masculinity (though when it was made, that term wasn’t part of the zeitgeist like it is now). Each of the Ludlows struggles to define what makes a good man, and for the most part, they all get it right, albeit in distinct ways. On the film’s quarter-century anniversary, we’re unpacking why Legends of the Fall is still one of the best movies about masculinity. (Warning: minor spoilers ahead!)

Cover Photo: TriStar Pictures

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