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Thunderheart (1992)

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



2 nominations. See more awards »



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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 ...
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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

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?


In the movie, Val Kilmer plays a character who is 1/4th Sioux. In real life, he is 1/4th Cherokee. See more »


Bloodstain disappears from the right side of LeVoi's shirt. See more »


Grandpa Sam Reaches: They broke my TV.
See more »


Featured in Reel Injun (2009) See more »


Written and Performed by Bruce Springsteen
Courtesy of Columbia Records
by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

If you're not in a hurry, a great film.
10 February 1999 | by (living room) – See all my reviews

I had to go with a 9 for this one, because it is a bit long and sleepy, plus the viewer must pay very close attention to follow it. The first time I saw it, at age 17, I didn't really get it, but I had been impacted by it's honest portrayal of the reservation.

Now that you've been warned, I recommend it. I had immediate respect for the Indians I had always considered worthless. We cannot expect them to succeed in a world they didn't create, nor particularly wish to participate in. The intelligence level of the Indian characters is admirable, complimentary, and believable. I'm going to watch it again tomorrow.

Val Kilmer is superb as usual, and Graham Greene should have gotten an Oscar, but sometimes there aren't enough to go around. The cinematography is just amazing. If you like movies that meet you half way and take energy to watch, you'll be impressed. If you liked Titanic, don't bother.

22 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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