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

R  |   |  Drama  |  26 July 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 5,431 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 108 user | 79 critic | 29 from

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
See  »

Did You Know?


While this film would never get SPCA approval, every animal killed was used in true Inuit fashion; all the meat was consumed, and the skins were put to practical use. 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 Reel Injun (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

The film makes the most of the immense snowy landscape…

It tells a legend from the two thousand years ago, about Atanarjuat, who incurs the jealous enmity of Oki when he marries Atuat… Oki kills Atanarjuat's brother, but Atanarjuat escapes in a stunning sequence, running naked across the ice floes, outstripping his pursuers until, his feet torn and bloody, he is taken in by a friendly sorcerer…

The motion picture concedes nothing in the way of authenticity, with sequences that show in realistic detail the training of sled-dogs, cutting up animal carcasses or making an igloo… But the convincing ethnographic elements only serve to intensify the compelling story and characters, which take on a truly epic dimension…

If the purpose of a national cinema is to represent the culture of the peoples it belongs to, then "Atanarjuat" achieves this victoriously, both the content of the film and the manner of its telling being wholly specific to Canada, yet in the process achieving a universal appeal…

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