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Thunderheart (1992)

A young mixed-blood FBI agent is assigned to work with a cynical veteran investigator on a murder on a poverty-stricken Sioux reservation.

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2 nominations. See more awards »

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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 »

Director: Jonathan Wacks
Stars: Gary Farmer, A Martinez, Joanelle Romero
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Frank Coutelle
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Jack Milton
...
Sheila Tousey ...
Maggie Eagle Bear
Ted Thin Elk ...
Grandpa Sam Reaches (as Chief Ted Thin Elk)
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Jimmy Looks Twice
Julius Drum ...
Richard Yellow Hawk
Sarah Brave ...
Maisy Blue Legs
Allan R.J. Joseph ...
Leo Fast Elk
Sylvan Pumpkin Seed ...
Hobart
...
Agent Mackey
...
FBI Agent
Brian A. O'Meara ...
FBI Agent
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Storyline

An FBI man with Sioux background is sent to a reservation to help with a murder investigation, where he has to come to terms with his heritage. Slowly he rejects the intimidating tactics of his fellow FBI agents, who are not so interested in solving the crime as covering up an incriminating situation with the locals, and as he becomes more tuned to his heritage, the locals begin trusting him. Based on actual Reservation occurrences of the '70s. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Two men from different worlds. Two cops after the same killer. Together they must uncover the secrets. Together they must discover the truth.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, and for some areas of violence | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

3 April 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Coeur de tonnerre  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$22,660,758 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie is actually a thinly veiled account of real events that occurred on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the early to mid-Seventies. Exploration for Uranium, disease from irradiated water, the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the "Traditional" Natives fight against the Tribal government "Guardians Of the Oglala Nation (GOON's), and the FBI's assistance to the "Goons" by providing weaponry and other assistance are some of the things that are referred to in the movie that were true and documented by Writer/Director Michael Apted when he was a regular visitor to the Reservation during that time. See more »

Goofs

When Ray is staking out Grandpas trailer and gives milk to the dog, he has an M16 with a round hand guard. Round hand guards didn't become available until the M16A2 in the early/mid-1980s. See more »

Quotes

Richard Yellow Hawk: Well, well, well, the Washington Redskin.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Baby Let's Dance
Written by Ali Olmo & Germaine Franco
Performed by Ali Olmo
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Apted's best outing as a director
22 May 2000 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Michael Apted has had a few indifferent movies, but Thunderheart is in my view his best. Apted spotlights the tribal Indian community in Badlands, South Dakota, exploring the mysticism of the Sioux culture and examining the impact of its forced co-existence with the modern American way of life. This juxtaposed mix of two cultures is best exemplified by Val Kilmer, who plays a young, brash and cocky FBI investigator with Sioux blood sent "back home" to investigate a homicide.

The murder investigation proves to be the tip of the iceberg, revealing a greater conspiracy to steal the land away from the Sioux. There is a surreal edge to the movie throughout, balanced well with an engaging and gripping story line. Kilmer is at his best here, aided well by a great supporting cast. The action was thick and fast, surrounded by an aura of mystical magic that was best supplied by James Horner's thumping soundtrack. For two hours I was enthralled. This is an excellent movie.


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