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16th May 2024

One of the very best Western movies of the 21st century is on TV tonight

Stephen Porzio

Starring three now Oscar winners, we’d also argue it is one of the greatest films of the 21st century.

Our TV movie pick for tonight (Thursday, 16 May) is the incredible Western movie with the brilliantly unwieldy title The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Released in 2007, the film sees Oscar-winner Brad Pitt play the infamous outlaw Jesse James as he plans his next big heist and launches pre-emptive strikes against those looking to collect the reward the law has placed on his head.

As this is happening, James’ gang’s newest recruits, Robert (Oscar-winner Casey Affleck) and Charley Ford (Oscar-winner Sam Rockwell), grow increasingly jealous of their leader.

Written and directed by Andrew Dominik (Blonde, Chopper, Killing Them Softly), the Western was a box-office bomb upon release, but almost immediately attracted a cult following.

This is down to its haunting story about fame and infamy, its flawless performances, its moody cinematography from Roger Deakins (1917, Blade Runner 2049) that perfectly evokes its time period and its beautifully mournful score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – with Cave even making a memorable cameo in the movie.

In the over 15 years that have passed since it came out, The Assassination of Jesse James’ reputation has improved even further to the point that it is now widely considered a masterpiece, as well as one of the best Westerns – or films, period – of the 21st century.

The movie is airing on TV tonight on the channel Quest at 10pm. It is also available to rent on Apple TV, Google Play, Microsoft, Rakuten TV and the Sky Store.

Here are the other movies on TV tonight

Blue Bayou – Film4 – 9pm

Written by, directed by and starring Justin Chon, this well-received drama sees him play a Korean adoptee who discovers decades later, while he’s with the love of his life (Alicia Vikander), that he could be deported from America.

Quartet – BBC Four – 9pm

In this well-liked British comedy-drama, a once-popular opera diva (Maggie Smith) creates a stir with her arrival at Beecham House – a home for retired performers.

You, Me and Dupree – Comedy Central – 9pm

This critically panned comedy about two newlyweds (Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon) who find their lives upended by an old friend (Owen Wilson) was surprisingly made by the Russo Brothers, who would go on to direct Avengers: Endgame.

War – Sky Max – 9pm

A sadly not very good Jason Statham/Jet Li action flick.

Commandos – Legend – 9pm

A ’60s Italian war flick starring Lee Van Cleef (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly).

Death Wish V: The Face of Death – ITV4 – 10.05pm

The Shed – Legend Xtra – 10.55pm

This 2019 American horror focuses on two teens who endure nonstop torment from bullies at school.

That changes, however, when one of them discovers a bloodthirsty creature residing in a shed.

Stake Land – Legend – 11pm

This solid indie horror takes place in a world of vampires and follows an expert vampire hunter and his young protégé as they travel toward sanctuary.

The Ring – Film4 – 11.20pm

Starring Naomi Watts, this is the excellent US remake of the Japanese horror about a cursed videotape.

The Amityville Horror – Sky Sci-Fi – 12.05am

The classic haunted house movie from the ’70s.

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