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Thunderheart (1992)

R  |   |  Crime, Mystery, Thriller  |  3 April 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 10,812 users  
Reviews: 84 user | 15 critic

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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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 »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

3 April 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Coeur de tonnerre  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$22,660,758 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A fictitious Sal Mineo movie, "Arrows on the Prairie" is mentioned. Although the movie is fictional, Mineo did star as a young Sioux warrior in "Tonka" (1958) and later as a Cheyenne warrior in "Cheyenne Autumn" (1964). See more »


In the stronghold scene, one of the tribal traditionals (ARM members) is holding a rifle with a small white tag and string attached to the trigger guard. This small missed detail is presumably from the props department for equipment accountability. See more »


Bartender: Goddamn prairie niggers!
See more »


Referenced in The Killing: Keylela (2012) See more »


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

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A magnificent movie!
27 March 2003 | by (Charlotte NC) – See all my reviews

This movie blasted me in the theater! I had heard from friends & relatives how beautiful the Badlands were. The cinematography of this film brought that beauty directly at me. The script was concise & smart. I enjoy scripts that require my attention to there detail.

Most of all, the actors excelled in their parts. Val Kilmer handled the transitions perfectly: from disinterested agent to nonbeliever to skeptic to reluctant believer to full realization without a seam! I really like Fred Ward and hated his character in this movie. Sam Shephard provided his consistent great performance. I think it was the first time I had seen Graham Greene. He turned in a fabulous performance.

This film insures that you question everything you learned from a textbook. It brings you in, shows you another viewpoint, illustrates the other side of the story, and demands that you think before you take a side. I paid to see this film twice in the theater and bought the DVD when it was released. I watch it regularly.

If I had to pick another film that had similar power, it would be "In Pursuit Of Honor" with Don Johnson & Craig Sheffer.

37 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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