The Return of Frank James

The Return of Frank James

The Return of Frank James movie cover
Directed by Fritz Lang
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Kenneth Macgowan
Written by Sam Hellman
Starring Henry Fonda
Gene Tierney
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography George Barnes
Edited by Walter A. Thompson
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • August 16, 1940 (1940-08-16)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Return of Frank James is a 1940 western film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney. It is a sequel to Henry King's 1939 film Jesse James. Written by Sam Hellman, the film loosely follows the life of Frank James following the death of his outlaw brother, Jesse James at the hands of the Ford brothers. The film is universally considered historically inaccurate, but was a commercial success and is notable as being the first motion picture for the actress Gene Tierney, who plays a reporter for the newspaper The Denver Star.


After the death of his outlaw brother, Jesse (played in the earlier film by Tyrone Power), Frank James (Henry Fonda) seeks revenge on his killers, Bob and Charlie Ford (John Carradine and Charles Tannen).


The Academy Film Archive preserved The Return of Frank James in 2000.[1]



  1. "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.

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