The Indian Runner (1991)

R  |   |  Drama  |  20 September 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 6,568 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 19 critic

A Vietnam vet comes home to his small town and finds himself in conflict with rules that his brother has vowed to uphold.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Roberts
Mrs. Roberts
Enzo Rossi ...
Harry Crews ...
Mr. Baker
Mrs. Baker
Trevor Endicott ...
Brandon Fleck ...
7-Years-Old Frank Roberts
Kathy Jensen ...
Lady at Carwash
James Devney ...
Deputy #1 (as Jim Devney)


An intensely sad film about two brothers who cannot overcome their opposite perceptions of life. One brother sees and feels bad in everyone and everything, subsequently he is violent, antisocial and unable to appreciate or enjoy the good things which his brother desperately tries to point out to him. Frank understands the atrocities of life as a big picture; Joe does not. Joe is content to enjoy smaller pleasures: children, family, routine. Joe mistakenly believes he can straighten his little brother out and convince him that life is good. Frank is a cursed man. He is cut between his love for his brother and his repulsion at self-indulgent contentment. The result is a painful story of heartbreak, heartache, disappointment, despair, and the tragic side of love. Written by wedgwood

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language, and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 September 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Indian Runner  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)


$191,125 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sean Penn and Viggo Mortensen later appeared in the film Carlito's Way (1993). See more »


After the chase scene near the end of the film between Joe in the police car and Frank in the Buick, Joe turns off the red police lights, then the car's headlamps and steps out of the car and stands next to it. In the final scene we see Joe still standing next to the police car but the car's headlamps have mysteriously come on again. See more »


Frank: I see a guy like that, I want him to look at me cross-eyed!
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Features Gilligan's Island (1964) See more »


Written by Marty Balin
Performed by Jefferson Airplane
Courtesy of the RCA Records Labels of BMG Music
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User Reviews

Great great film
8 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

Absolutely one of my favorite films of all time. Not enough real movies like this. Tells an important tale of family, love and loss. Sean Penn is a national treasure as both an actor and filmmaker. David Morse and Viggo Mortensen give their best performances of their careers. Charles Bronson is such a surprise as the father.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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