YEAR: 2000

ROLE:  J.C. Franklin

DIRECTOR:  Billy Bob Thornton

US PREMIERE:  Christmas Day 2000

 Plot Summary

Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy with screenplay by Ted Tally.

The year is 1949. A young Texan named John Grady finds himself without a home after his mother sells the ranch where he has spent his entire life. Lured south of the border by the romance of cowboy life and the promise of a fresh start, Cole and his pal embark on an adventure that will test their resilience, define their maturity, and change their lives forever.

Film Details

John Grady Cole ............... Matt Damon
Lacey Rawlins .............. Henry Thomas
Alejandra Rocha ........... Penelope Cruz
Jimmy Blevins .................. Lucas Black
Don Hector Rocha ......... Ruben Blades
Dona Alfonsa Rocha ..... Miriam Colon
Judge ................................. Bruce Dern
J. C. Franklin .................. Sam Shepard


Production Notes

The film was shot primarily in Texas and New Mexico from March 15 - June 24, 1999.

Cormac McCarthy's novel was celebrated not only for its expansive, evocative story of a young man's transformation but for its visceral, original use of language. McCarthy's writing style - spare, poetic, maintained in a raw, unpunctuated state - was as much a part of the ride as John Grady Cole and the horses. So when Ted Tally first approached his screen adaptation, he made it a priority to capture the essence of the novel's language and love of landscape, which became part-and-parcel of the story's epic themes.


A.O. Scott, NY Times:
"'All the Pretty Horses' looks like a real old-fashioned western and tries to revive sturdy horse-opera themes of love, friendship and righteous violence. But in spite of some thoughtful performances and a handsome sense of scale, the picture is, for the most part, as slick and superficial as a Marlboro advertisement on the back of a glossy magazine. ...

Rob Blackwelder, Spliced Wire:
"In directing 'All the Pretty Horses,' a romantic homage to the great American cowboy epic, Billy Bob Thornton adheres honorably to the code of the Western and emerges with a familiar and satisfying - if not entirely memorable - eulogy to a lifestyle that rode off into the sunset some time last century."

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone:
"Although the actors work hard, the haunted soul of the book resists capture onscreen... Thornton and Tally clearly ache to give the film a mythic resonance, but their movie sounds hollow where the book rang true."
"Reportedly having delivered a four-hour cut Thornton struggled for over a year to trim his epic Western and appease his distributor Miramax. The result clocking in at about two hours feels like the Cliff’s Notes version of McCormack’s book."

Jeff Vice, Deseret News:
espite the film's attractive, talented cast and some of the most gorgeous cinematography and scenery seen on film this year, there's at least a faint odor of disappointment about this somewhat superficial Western."

Betty Jo Tucker, Real Talk Reviews:
"In spite of its deadening pace, 'All the Pretty Horses' offers beautiful landscape shots of the Southwest. Cinematographer Barry Markovitz  captures the awesome nature of wide-open spaces and immense, colorful skies. In addition, his dream sequence photography, especially of wild horses running free, emerges as pure artistry."

Edward Guthmann, SF Chronicle:
"'All the Pretty Horses' is slow and languid, sometimes to the point of passivity, and is disappointing in the muddiness of certain plot points. It's a visual feast, though, and a chance to see Damon, an actor whose talents are frequently obscured by his looks and his celebrity, deliver his best work."

Film critic Emanuel Levy:
"Not a disaster as rumored to be, just a disappointing adaptation of a great novel. Thornton fails to dramatize in visually or dramatically satisfying ways the hero's odyssey from innocence to experience, from childish game to acting with honor."

Desson Howe, Washington Post:
"It's wonderfully edited, and cinematographer Barry Markowitz's images of those noble, wild, restless horses are exquisite. But like those seething, tethered creatures, this movie is too corralled to gallop across the open prairie of our fancy."

Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall:
"A big, stunningly gorgeous film based on Cormac McCarthy's beloved bestseller, this film was shamefully ignored by the Oscars. Even if there are problems with the story, it's still so beautifully made - editing, costumes, music, sound and especially Barry Markowitz's cinematography - that it deserved much more recognition."

Ron Wells, Film Threat:
"The result of what would appear to be a great deal of effort and some horribly misguided conviction is an extremely slow-moving train wreck."
"While it is clearly Damon, Thomas, and Black's show, Thornton doesn't skimp on the character actors, giving bit parts to Sam Shepard, Ruben Blades, Robert Patrick, and Bruce Dern, that while small in screen time are no less memorable."

Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle:
"'All the Pretty Horses' is a more-than-decent horse opera with some good performances and better-than-average dialogue and themes transferred directly from the novel by screenwriter Ted Tally."