The Education of Little Tree (1997)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  25 December 1997 (USA)
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Reviews: 21 user | 19 critic

Little Tree is an 8-year-old Cherokee boy, who, during the time of the depression, loses his parents and starts to live with his Indian grandma and grandpa and learn the wisdom of the ... See full summary »


(novel), (teleplay) (as Earl Hamner) , 2 more credits »
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4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Little Tree / Joshua
Little Girl
Pine Billy
Christopher Fennell ...
Wilburn (as Chris Fennell)
Willow John
Leni Parker ...
Rebecca Dewey ...
Bill Rowat ...
Robert Daviau ...
Norris Domingue ...
Mr. Jenkins
Calf's Owner


Little Tree is an 8-year-old Cherokee boy, who, during the time of the depression, loses his parents and starts to live with his Indian grandma and grandpa and learn the wisdom of the Cherokee way of life. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A boy of two worlds must learn to be his own man.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and thematic elements including old fashioned discipline | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'éducation de Little Tree  »

Box Office


$119,254 (USA) (23 January 1998)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The book on which this movie was based was originally published in 1977 under the title and subtitle "The Education of Little Tree: A True Story," with the author's name given as "Forrest Carter." However, after the publication, it was revealed that the book was not really a true story, and "Forrest Carter" was actually a pseudonym for Asa Earl Carter. Asa Carter was a Ku Klux Klansman and the alleged author of George Wallace's 1963 "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" speech. See more »


When Little Tree arrives in the car at the Notch Gap Indian School, when he gets out of the car, a large reflector is visible reflected in the car door, as is the reflected outline of a crew member holding it. See more »


Featured in Troldspejlet: Episode #21.9 (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Fine acting in nice story
4 November 2014 | by See all my reviews

It is 1935 in the mining town of Jericho City, Tennessee. Little Tree (Joseph Ashton) lost his mother a year after his father died in the Army. His grandparents (James Cromwell, Tantoo Cardinal) take him away from his white trash Aunt Martha into their mountain home. They live an Indian life. He makes moonshine whiskey with his good friend Cherokee Willow John (Graham Greene). Little Tree befriends a little girl (Mika Boorem). They face discrimination from the powerful and racism from everybody. Eventually the authorities force Little Tree into a residential school where they rename him Joshua.

It is a little distressing to find out the authorship of the book. However I can't actually find any deliberate racism in the movie. It's a fine little movie but not that compelling. The little kid is fine. Cromwell is great as always. It's about their relationship and it's a nice little story about that.

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