Smoke Signals (1998)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  26 June 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 7,946 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 132 user | 56 critic | 17 from

Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversize glasses and telling everyone stories no-one wants to hear. His parents died in a fire in 1976, and Thomas was saved by... See full summary »



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10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Evan Adams ...
Suzy Song
Young Victor Joseph
Young Thomas Builds-the-Fire
Monique Mojica ...
Chief Leonard George ...
Lester Fallsapart (as Leonard George)
Junior Polatkin
Michelle St. John ...
Cathy the Gymnast


Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversize glasses and telling everyone stories no-one wants to hear. His parents died in a fire in 1976, and Thomas was saved by Arnold. Arnold soon left his family (and his tough son Victor), and Victor hasn't seen his father for 10 years. When Victor hears Arnold has died, Thomas offers him funding for the trip to get Arnold's remains, but only if Thomas will also go with him. Thomas and Victor hit the road. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A new film from the heart of Native America.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some intense images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

26 June 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$43,574 (USA) (26 June 1998)


$6,719,300 (USA) (16 October 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The song "All My Relations" performed by Ulali at the end of the film uses the traditional Irish tune "Garryowen". The tune was a favorite of Acting-General George Armstrong Custer during the Civil War, and became the official air of the US 7th Cavalry Regiment in 1867. According to legend, it was the last tune played before the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Custer and his entire regiment were killed. See more »


When Victor drops Thomas off at his home, you can see the shadow of the rear-view mirror, cast on the truck seat. In the next scene, when Victor stops at his home, the mirror is gone but the bracket is there. See more »


Victor Joseph: You gotta look mean or people won't respect you. White people will run all over you if you don't look mean. You gotta look like a warrior! You gotta look like you just came back from killing a buffalo!
Thomas Builds-the-Fire: But our tribe never hunted buffalo - we were fishermen.
Victor Joseph: What! You want to look like you just came back from catching a fish? This ain't "Dances With Salmon" you know!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Support HONOR/EARTH campaign. Support American Indian College Fund. Contributions from the profits of this film will be made to each of these organizations. See more »


References The Lone Ranger (1949) See more »


Music by Jim Boyd
Lyrics by Sherman Alexie
Performed by Jim Boyd and Debra Ludwig (as Debra), Pam Ludwig (as Pam) and Lori Ludwig
Courtesy of Thunderwolf Records
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User Reviews

Excellent movie about just being Indian, from Indians.
24 July 2002 | by (San Jose, CA USA) – See all my reviews

I lived where this was filmed and really enjoyed the movie for the content and the location. The inside jokes about being Indian were great and since I no longer live on the reservation it reminded me of home. The story was believable and the actors brought it to life. I had to call my brother and tell him to watch it again and look closer at the end credits and background of the film, it is wonderful. Congratulations to the Cast & Crew.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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