- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- The biggest one is whether or not Alfred loved Susannah. Or did he just see her as a trophy wife?
- Alfred's claims of having "followed all the rules" and status as the good son, despite his association with the O'Bannions. The first time he met them, it was clear they had some sort of "arrangement" with the Sheriff and they weren't exactly secretive about their involvement in bootlegging.
- Does Susannah really love Tristan himself? Or is she only attracted to the wild and passionate nature of their relationship?
- Critical Dissonance: Rotten Tomatoes has the critics score at the So Okay, It's Average score of 58%. The audience score is much higher at 87%
- Estrogen Brigade: With Brad Pitt playing a character who manages to be both a Hunk and a Pretty Boy, with plenty of shirtless scenes and Mangst, you'll find a lot of people who tuned in for him. At the time, the movie got rather a lot of hype about his hair.
- Harsher in Hindsight: When Susannah meets Isabel II, she cheerfully says "we'll be sisters" - since she intends to marry Samuel. They do end up as sisters in law - when Susannah is married to Alfred and unhappy, while Isabel II is married to Tristan - the one Susannah really loves.
- He Really Can Act: A lot of critics noted that this was the role that cemented Brad Pitt's leading man status.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Julia Ormond playing Brad Pitt's lover is very amusing if you've seen her in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where she plays his daughter.
- This film wasn't the last time Brad Pitt would have a Native American background and scalp Germans in a world war.
- Jerkass Woobie: Poor Alfred, who is eternally The Un-Favourite. Not to mention the poor guy also has to lose his baby brother, and eventually his wife - all while being looked down on by his family.
- Just Here for Godzilla: Some watched just for the cinematography by John Toll, who won an Oscar for it. The sweeping Scenery Porn does its best to make the story feel epic.
- Memetic Mutation: Many gifs have been made of Tristan's introduction, where he smiles and tips his hat to Susannah.
- Narm: Siskel & Ebert referred to the Colonel suffering a stroke as "giggle-inducing overacting".
- Nausea Fuel: After Samuel dies in the war, Tristan cuts out his heart to send back to the family to bury. We even get a scene of him wrapping it, his hands extremely bloody and dirty.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Isabel II barely has any lines once she grows up. Her sole purpose is to provide Tristan with children and die horribly so he can swear vengeance.
- Unintentionally Sympathetic: Susannah's ultimate fate is meant to be Laser-Guided Karma. But a combination of Tristan being a massive Designated Hero and Julia Ormond making her quite The Woobie leaves people sympathising with her more than the film intends them to.
- The Woobie: Susannah loses everyone she cares about and ends up in an unhappy marriage. Take note of how happy she is when she first arrives on the ranch. Then remember that she kills herself when she has no reason to live.
YMMV / Legends of the Fall