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Powwow Highway (1989)

R  |   |  Drama  |  24 February 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,248 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 5 critic

Depicts the struggles of reservation-dwelling Native Americans in the North Central United States. The main character is an introspective and lovable person in a process of seeking pride ... See full summary »



(based on the novel by), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Buddy Red Bow
Philbert Bono
Bonnie Red Bow (as Joannelle Nadine Romero)
Rabbit Layton
Sam Vlahos ...
Wayne Waterman ...
Wolf Tooth
Margot Kane ...
Geoffrey Rivas ...
Sandy Youngblood (as Geoff Rivas)
Roscoe Born ...
Agent Jack Novall
Louie Short Hair
Tony Frank ...
Captain Roberts
Chrissie McDonald ...
Jane Red Bow
Sky Seals ...
Sky Red Bow
Aunt Harriet


Depicts the struggles of reservation-dwelling Native Americans in the North Central United States. The main character is an introspective and lovable person in a process of seeking pride and identity through traditional and mystical means of gathering power. His high school friend, who is a Vietnam War Veteran, is exerting power as a highly principled social activist, using a modern rational materialist adversarial model of progress. Written by Stan Detering <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

24 February 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az ősök földjén  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$283,747 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Film debut of Wes Studi. See more »


Buddy Red Bow: Now you're wasting your time, Sandy. You see, my red, it don't wash off.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The cast can be seen walking along the highway for part of the ending credits. See more »


Featured in Rich Hall's Inventing the Indian (2012) See more »


Written by Kim Wilson
Performed by The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Courtesy of Bruco Music
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the first great NA films
2 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the great disappointments about most of the films that predate this one and revolve around anything purporting to be about "Native Americans" or "Indians," is the stereotypical nature of the characters (mostly, "noble" and "stoic"). This was one of the first and still is one of the best films that captures the humor that is intrinsic to the culture(s) of most of the Native Americans that I've ever been around. Without this film, "Smoke Signals" might never have been possible, since it broke some much needed ground, helping to end the still prevalent practice of using non-Indians to play Indians.

The great thing about this film is that, like Smoke Signals, it has themes that transcend the merely cultural. Most of the elders I know teach with humor, and this movie captures that beautifully.

It's a movie not to be missed!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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