Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)
"Atanarjuat" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama  |  26 July 2002 (USA)
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The telling of an Inuit legend of an evil spirit causing strife in the community and one warrior's endurance and battle of its menace.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Natar Ungalaaq ...
Sylvia Ivalu ...
Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq ...
Lucy Tulugarjuk ...
Madeline Ivalu ...
Pauloosie Qulitalik ...
Qulitalik / A shaman (as Paul Qulitalik)
Eugene Ipkarnak ...
Sauri, the chief
Pakak Innuksuk ...
Amaqjuaq (as Pakkak Innushuk)
Neeve Irngaut ...
Abraham Ulayuruluk ...
Apayata Kotierk ...
Mary Qulitalik ...
Luke Taqqaugaq ...
Alex Uttak ...
Eric Nutarariaq ...
Young Sauri


Centuries ago, in what would become the Canadian Arctic, Atuat is promised to the malevolent Oki, son of the leader of their tribe. But Atuat loves the good-natured Atanarjuat, who ultimately finds a way to marry her. Oki's sister, Puja also fancies Atanarjuat, and when she causes strife between him and his brother Amaqjuaq, Oki seizes the opportunity to wreak a terrible revenge on Atanarjuat. Written by Shannon Patrick Sullivan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality/nudity and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

26 July 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


CAD 1,960,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$36,342 (USA) (7 June 2002)


$3,786,801 (USA) (24 January 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| | | (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first Inuktitut-language feature film. See more »


Just before Atanarjuat jumps over the crevasse, the shadow of a crew member appears in the snow, at the bottom of the screen, to the left. See more »


Atuat: [to Atanarjuat] I hunt you. You're my own wolf.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's end credits play next to behind the scenes footage of the making of the film. Many primary cast and crew members appear at the same time that their credits come on screen. See more »


Featured in The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Well crafted and refreshingly different
22 July 2001 | by (Wellington, New Zealand) – See all my reviews

Pretty well guaranteed to be the only Inuit film you will ever see. This is the story of two brothers and the trouble caused to them by a neighbouring family/tribe and some kind of evil spirit. The mystical elements are fairly low key and the story revolves around the always popular themes of jealousy, betrayal, rivalry and love.

If the plot is nothing new, the people it portrays are. As the story progresses almost documentary like details of hunting, igloo-building, celebrations and other aspects of life in the frozen north of Canada are provided. Much of the movies' strength comes the sheer originality of the culture. When is the last time you saw an Inuit man running naked across the ice being pursued by murderers in seal skins?

The cinematography is particularly striking, with the powerful light of the Arctic giving the film its own character. Vast landscapes of snow and ice are contrasted with the confines of the igloo and tent. Very impressive for a first time director.

The film would probably have been improved by some judicious editing. As you enter the third hour your desire to see another set of feet trudging through the snow is a little limited.

Well crafted, full of fascinating details and certainly one of a kind.

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