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By 1870, there has been 10 years of cruel war between settlers and Cochise's Apaches. Ex-soldier Tom Jeffords saves the life of an Apache boy and starts to wonder if Indians are human, after all; soon, he determines to use this chance to make himself an ambassador. Against all odds, his solitary mission into Cochise's stronghold opens a dialogue. Opportunely, the president sends General Howard with orders to conclude peace. But even with Jeffords's luck, the deep grievance and hatred on both sides make tragic failure all too likely. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
When General Oliver is beginning to pick himself off the ground after the Apache attack on the military wagon train, the first shot shows the ground to be mostly desert sand, with very little vegetation. But when the scene jumps to a long shot of the General getting up the ground around him is almost entirely covered with green vegetation, showing scarcely any sand at all. See more »
This is the story of a land, of the people who lived on it in the year 1870, and of a man whose name was Cochise. He was an Indian - leader of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. I was involved in the story and what I have to tell happened exactly as you'll see it - the only change will be that when the Apaches speak, they will speak in our language. What took place is part of the history of Arizona and it began for me here where you see me riding.
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Although the story is entertaining and the performances of James Stewart, Jeff Chandler and Debra Paget outstanding, what makes Broken Arrow a landmark film is its portrayal of the Apache Indians as something more than savage killers. Indians in the movies were always seen as brutal and inhuman. Here they are seen as people who want what the "white men" wanted: to live in freedom with their families on their own land and to live their lives in their own way.
Jeff Chandler is terrific as Apache leader Cochise, who he would play twice more in other films. There is a moving scene when they return from battle and he recites the names of those killed with a pained look in his eyes. Cochise and Stewart's character have a relationship which grows from mutual respect to a true friendship as they try to work out peace between the whites and indians. Stewart is looked on as a traitor by his friends and things are complicated further by his relationship with the young Apache girl played by Debra Paget.
I cannot think of another western in which indians have been portrayed as real people with emotions who hurt, who love. When this film was released 50 years ago, blacks, asians and American Indians were still being portrayed using the worst kinds of racial stereotypes.
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