UC Berkeley Library

Native Americans in Films

A Feather in His Hare (1948)

Directed by Chuck Jones. Animated short. A myopic Mohican tries to catch Bugs. Bugs leads the Indian to the rabbit hole with hundreds of signs. Bugs gets tied to a stake and gets away, hitting the guy with snowballs (it's too cold to throw them in the winter). He parts the guy's hair with a tomahawk, and makes a clay jar to smack him with. "Who does dis character think he is anyway?" asks Bugs. The Indian replies: "Me? Me the last of the Mohicans." Pointing skyward, Bugs says: "Oh, da last of da Mohicans, eh? Well, look up, Geronimo." Up above are storks bringing baby Indians.

A Man Called Horse (1970)

Directed by Elliot Silverstein. Cast: Richard Harris, Dame Judith Anderson, Jean Gascon, Manu Tupou, Corinna Tsopei. An English aristocrat is taken prisoner by a tribe of American Sioux Indians and given to the chief's aging mother as a servant. Gradually, he embraces the tribe's way of life and falls in love with the chief's sister. The constant threat of ambush by a rival tribe and rigors of survival now fill the days of this man called "Horse." He is eventually given a chance to prove his worthiness and be accepted into the tribe.

A Thief of Time (TV, 2004)

Directed by Chris Eyre. Cast: Wes Studi, Adam Beach, Peter Fonda, Graham Greene, Sheila Tousey. Navajo tribal cops Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee delve into the netherworld of illegal archaeological excavations, purloined pots, and slain pot hunters, set against a backdrop of Navajo witches, spirits, and lore. 95 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Annie Get Your Gun (1950)

Directed by George Sidney. Cast: Betty Hutton, Howard Keel, Louis Calhern, J. Carrol Naish. Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. Based on the musical play produced on the stage by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, II. Based on the book by Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields. Frank Butler, handsome star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, bags clay pigeons and ladies' hearts. He's the best marksman in the world--until a backwoods hoyden challenges him. Her name? Annie Oakley.

Apaches (Apachen) (Germany, 1973)

Directed by Gottfried Kolditz. In the 1960's East German "Indianerfilms," were introduced. Based upon original documents director Gottfied Kolditz together with the leading actor Gojko Mitic wrote the script based on the Mexican War of 1846-1848, when small bands of American scouts were dispatched to Mexico to plot the conquest of targeted regions. Precious metals are discovered on the Mimbreno-Apache reservation so it is decided to annex this territory to the U.S., then expel and exterminate the Indians, but the young warrior Ulzana is out for revenge for his tribe... 90 min.

Apocalypto (2006)

Directed by Mel Gibson. Cast: Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Hernandez, Jonathan Brewer, Morris Birdyellowhead, Carlos Emilio Baez, Ramirez Amilcar, Israel Contreras, Israel Rios, Maria Isabel Diaz, Espiridion Acosta Cache, Mayra Serbulo, Iazua Larios, Lorena Hernandez, Itandehui Gutierrez, Sayuri Gutierrez. As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, the rulers insist the key to prosperity is to build more temples and offer human sacrifices. Jaguar Paw is a young man who is captured for sacrifice, but flees to avoid his fate.

At Play in the Fields of the Lord (Brincando nos Campos do Senhor) (USA | Brazil, 1991)

Directed by Hector Babenco. The tale of two men's experiences with a native Indian tribe in the Brazilian rain forest. One is an American mercenary hired to drive the Niaruna Indians off their land, who joins forces with them instead. The other is a missionary sent to convert the natives to Christianity. Based on the novel by Peter Matthiessen (Main Stack PS3563.A89 A79, and in Moffitt; XMAC.M443.A8 Grad Svcs) 186 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
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Barking Water (2009)

Directed by Sterlin Harjo. Cast: Richard Ray Whitman, Casey Camp-Horinek. Frankie is dying. Irene hasn't forgiven him. And they are racing against time to find their way home. Frankie needs help and Irene is the one he turns to. He must go home one last time. And, like so many times before, Irene is extending herself beyond her common sense. The two set out on a journey that becomes more than getting home; confronting the past, love, understanding, and self discovery. Barking Water is a tale of great love that looks at what brings us all together.

Battle at Elderbush Gulch (1914)

Directed by D.W. Griffith. The Battle at Elderbush Gulch begins with Mae Marsh and her little sister meeting Lillian Gish and her family on the stagecoach bound for the frontier settlement of Elderbush Gulch. The girls' arrival is welcomed with enthusiasm until the ranch foreman for their uncle, with whom they've come to live, refuses to let them keep their puppies in the house. Left outside, the pups run away and fall into the hands of two young Indians who, amazed at their good fortune, prepare to eat them.

Big Bear (Canada, TV, 1998)

Directed by Gil Cardinal. Cast: Gordon Tootoosis, Tantoo Cardinal, Lorne Cardinal, Kenneth Charlette, Patric James Bird, Michael Greyeyes, Ben Cardinal, Gail Maurice, Dianne Debassige, Simon Baker. With the government and settlers staking claim to the Cree Indian ancestral lands and hunting grounds the slowly starving Cree are forced from the land they call home. Torn between loyalty to their leader, Chief Big Bear, and bitterness at the broken promises of the white man, the Cree are desperate.

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