IMDb > Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson
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Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.1/10   2,698 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Arthur Kopit (play)
Alan Rudolph (screen story and screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 June 1976 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A cynical Buffalo Bill hires Sitting Bull to exploit him and add his credibility to the distorted view of history presented in his Wild West Show. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
another Altman de-mythological exploration mixed with show-biz satire, but it's very underrated with a great Newman performance See more (33 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Paul Newman ... The Star (William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody)

Joel Grey ... The Producer (Nate Salisbury)

Kevin McCarthy ... The Publicist (Maj. John Burke)

Harvey Keitel ... The Relative (Ed Goodman)

Allan F. Nicholls ... The Journalist (Prentiss Ingraham) (as Allan Nicholls)

Geraldine Chaplin ... The Sure Shot (Annie Oakley)

John Considine ... The Sure Shot's Manager (Frank Butler)

Robert DoQui ... The Wrangler (Oswald Dart) (as Robert Doqui)
Mike Kaplan ... The Treasurer (Jules Keen)

Bert Remsen ... The Bartender (Crutch)
Bonnie Leaders ... The Mezzo-Contralto (Margaret)
Noelle Rogers ... The Lyric-Coloratura (Lucille DuCharme)

Evelyn Lear ... The Lyric-Soprano (Nina Cavallini)

Denver Pyle ... The Indian Agent (McLaughlin)
Frank Kaquitts ... The Indian (Sitting Bull)

Will Sampson ... The Interpreter (William Halsey)
Ken Krossa ... The Arenic Director (Johnny Baker)
Fred N. Larsen ... The King of the Cowboys (Buck Taylor)
Jerri Duce ... The Cowboy Trick Rider
Joy Duce ... The Cowboy Trick Rider

Alex Green ... The Mexican Whip and Fast Draw Act
Gary MacKenzie ... The Mexican Whip and Fast Draw Act
Humphrey Gratz ... The Old Soldier
Pat McCormick ... The President of the United States (Grover Cleveland)

Shelley Duvall ... The First Lady (Mrs. Grover Cleveland)

Burt Lancaster ... The Legend Maker (Ned Buntline)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dennis Corrie ... Rancher (uncredited)
E.L. Doctorow ... Adviser to President Grover Cleveland (uncredited)

Patrick Reynolds ... President Cleveland's Aide (uncredited)

Directed by
Robert Altman 
 
Writing credits
Arthur Kopit (play "Indians")

Alan Rudolph (screen story and screenplay) &
Robert Altman (screen story and screenplay)

Produced by
Robert Altman .... producer
Scott Bushnell .... associate producer
Jac Cashin .... associate producer
Dino De Laurentiis .... executive producer
Robert Eggenweiler .... associate producer
David Susskind .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Richard Baskin 
 
Cinematography by
Paul Lohmann (director of cinema photography)
 
Film Editing by
Peter Appleton 
Dennis M. Hill  (as Dennis Hill)
 
Production Design by
Anthony Masters  (as Tony Masters)
 
Art Direction by
Jack Maxsted 
 
Set Decoration by
Dennis J. Parrish 
 
Costume Design by
Anthony Powell 
 
Makeup Department
Monty Westmore .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Les Kimber .... unit manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Rob Lockwood .... second assistant director
Tommy Thompson .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Rusty Cox .... scenic artist
Dennis J. Parrish .... property master
Graham Sumner .... assistant property master
Graham Sumner .... assistant set decorator
 
Sound Department
Chris McLaughlin .... sound
Richard Oswald .... sound editor
Richard Portman .... sound re-recording mixer
William A. Sawyer .... sound editor (as William Sawyer)
James E. Webb .... sound (as Jim Webb)
Rob Young .... sound (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Logan Frazee .... special effects
Terry D. Frazee .... special effects (as Terry Frazee)
John Thomas .... special effects
Bill Zomar .... special effects
Joe Zomar .... special effects
 
Stunts
John Forster .... stunts (uncredited)
Greg Walker .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Arthur Brooker .... grip (as Art Brooker)
Edmond L. Koons .... camera operator (as Eddie Koons)
J. Michael Marlett .... gaffer
Jack L. Richards .... camera operator (as Jack Richards)
Robert Reed Altman .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Peter Appleton .... featurette cinematographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
J. Allen Highfill .... costume assistant
Jules Melillo .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Stephen Altman .... apprentice editor (as Steve Altman)
Mark Eggenweiler .... apprentice editor
Tony Lombardo .... assistant editor
Tom Walls .... assistant editor
 
Other crew
Lyn Austin .... Broadway stage producer
John Bianchi .... Buffalo Bill's gun belt by
John Binder .... script supervisor
Dino De Laurentiis .... presenter (as Dino DeLaurentiis)
Maysie Hoy .... researcher
Dan Perri .... title designer
John Scott .... head wrangler
Oliver Smith .... Broadway stage producer
Roger L. Stevens .... Broadway stage producer (as Roger Stevens)
Tommy Thompson .... production executive
Norman Walke .... operator: titan boom
Joe Thornton .... production assistant (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
123 min | Finland:105 min (1979) | 135 min (video release)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The nickname of William Frederick Cody (Paul Newman) was "Buffalo Bill". The character though is billed as "The Star" in the opening credits and under his abbreviated real name, "William F. Cody", in the closing credits.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: Sitting Bull joined Cody's show in 1885. The performing arena shows several Wyoming state flags, but Wyoming wasn't granted statehood until 1890, and that flag wasn't adopted until 1917.See more »
Quotes:
William Halsey:Sitting Bull says that history is nothing more than disrespect for the dead.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in A Decade Under the Influence (2003)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
another Altman de-mythological exploration mixed with show-biz satire, but it's very underrated with a great Newman performance, 14 October 2008
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

A lot of reviews on this site keep this down as something of a misfire from director Robert Altman, that it might have been too easy a target or that it's being too cynical. Can there be enough cynicism in looking at the history of Old-West Americans and American Indians? After so many years of Westerns showing things as black and white- of John Wayne Vs. Tonto and the like- there needed to be a good dose of reality, but not just by any run of the mill filmmaker. Altman is able to sympathize with the Indians while at the same time adding a certain mystery to them (how they cross the river, come back from the mountains). On top of this he makes a very strong, funny comment on celebrity and mythology in a somewhat typical de-mythological style. It's not entirely an anti-centennial statement (his real centennial movie is Nashville), but one that criticizes things while still staying true as a semi-serious comedy.

In fact, this has a few of the funniest scenes in any Altman picture. Take when Annie Oakley (Geraldine Chaplin) is performing her 'stunt' with her partner, and throughout the picture it's been a dicey and tense act with it never being as clear-cut as it should be; Annie is always talking to herself in mid-shot, asking to try it again if she misses. Then when it comes time to do the 'stunt' in front of President Cleveland, she shoots her partner right through the shoulder, with it (mostly) being passed off like nothing happened. Little asides like this that build up- or, for example, a hatred for birds that inexplicably Bill has against the cheery German singer who owns it, leading up to a frantic shoot-em-up against the bird's cage until it escapes. Sometimes it's simply "funny ho-ho" humor, the kind that one might have a quick chuckle and then see back to what's going on. But it's brilliant "funny ho-ho" comedy, where manners are tested to the extremes in the face of Buffalo Bill's troupe and the unmovable Sitting Bull and his 'voice' played by Chief from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

There is actually something of a firmer story for Altman than usual, though that goes without saying it's like a belt thrown on once in a while with a pair of pants. Buffalo Bill is riding on his reputation, and hosts a big-time show that is a good lot like the circus only real physical prowess and weirdness replaced usually by good-old-fashioned American storytelling, which is, basically, that Indians killed a lot of people and then Buffalo Bill struck back. When Sitting Bull actually comes to the act to be apart of it, he has some conditions to be in it, *many* conditions, some easy (i.e. setting up camp across the river), some that test Bill's patience (i.e. changing the whole story of Sitting Bull to show Bill killing masses of Indians). Meanwhile, President Cleveland is coming for a special visit, Bill's drinking gets bigger, and he loses the thread of his own presumed skills like when he can't bring back Sitting Bull and his group when the "escape" to the mountains.

This all leads up to a conclusion that has a double-side to it. On the one hand the very end should feel kind of conventional, where Buffalo Bill faces off against Sitting Bull (or rather another actor playing him), and 'wins' in front of the cheering audience. On the other hand this is preceded by a tragic note, and a very strange, near perfect dream scene where Buffalo Bill confronts and constantly shifting-position Sitting Bull, confronting him as well as his own ego and reputation. At the end of it all, Altman isn't saying outright America is evil or anything; it's that there are some serious wounds caused not simply by the obvious Americans vs Indians but by over a century of holding up icons to the sky without the slightest gray area or real humanization past superhero status. And in the midst of all this, in the work of Altman's usual good ensemble (Keitel, Joel Grey, Chaplin are very good, Lancaster good if in a superfluous mouth-piece role), Paul Newmna shines incredibly in a role that requires him to be star-like but to also get into the shallowness and inner demons of the character. It might even be one of the best performances he gave in his career: he's magnetic in personality, naturally comic, and haunted to a degree. A-

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