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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.

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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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 ...
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 »

Parents Guide:

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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)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

The original version shows Val Kilmers character drinking peyote; now that scene has been cut and it makes no sense. Why is he freaking out and having visions in the fire. It destroys the whole point of the movie in that the Val Kilmer character couldn't use logic, etc. to solve the case and had to try something else and learn his 'spiritual' background and get help from the 'spirit world' beyond our normal perceptions... Now it's just some guy acting weird because of a fire... It doesn't explain why he pulls his gun and the Indian sheriff tells him 'I know you're scared'... it was because he was having peyote visions; which are now censored, because all you belong in the soul harvester machine and if you dared take peyote you might learn that truth.. See more »

Quotes

Ray Levoi: This land is not for sale!
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Badlands
Written and Performed by Bruce Springsteen
Courtesy of Columbia Records
by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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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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