7.2/10
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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)

TV-14 | | Drama, History, Western | TV Movie 27 May 2007
A chronicle of how American Indians were displaced as the U.S. expanded west. Based on the book by Dee Brown.

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(screenplay), (based on the book by) (as Dee Alexander Brown)
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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 29 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ohiyesa / Young Charles
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Uncle
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Henry Dawes
...
...
President Ulysses S. Grant (as Fred Thompson)
Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse ...
One Bull (as Nathan Chasing Horse)
Wayne Charles Baker ...
Jacob
Brian Stollery ...
Bishop Whipple
...
...
Billy Merasty ...
Young Man Afraid
Morris Birdyellowhead ...
American Horse
...
Chasing Crane
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Storyline

In the 1880s, after the U. S. Army's defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the government continues to push Sioux Indians off their land. In Washington, D.C., Senator Henry Dawes introduces legislation to protect Native Americans rights. In South Dakota, school teacher Elaine Goodale joins Sioux native and Western-educated Dr. Charles Eastman in working with tribe members. Meanwhile, Lakota Chief Sitting Bull refuses to give into mounting government pressures. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Epic Fall of the American Indian

Genres:

Drama | History | Western

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Release Date:

27 May 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Wounded Knee Project  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally began development in 1995 as a two-part miniseries for ABC. See more »

Goofs

During the scene in the barn where Aidan Quinn's character was making the 50-cent per acre offer, breath could be seen coming from the Lakota (certainly CGI) but none from the soldiers. See more »

Quotes

Sitting Bull: You must take them out of our lands.
Col. Nelson Miles: What precisely are your lands?
Sitting Bull: These are the where my people lived before you whites first came.
Col. Nelson Miles: I don't understand. We whites were not your first enemies. Why don't you demand back the land in Minnesota where the Chippewa and others forced you from years before?
Sitting Bull: The Black Hills are a sacred given to my people by Wakan Tanka.
Col. Nelson Miles: How very convenient to cloak your claims in spiritualism. And what would you say to the Mormons and others who believe that their God ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Game: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Jesus, Lover of My Soul
Written by John Wesley and Charles Wesley
Performed by Wayne Charles Baker
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User Reviews

 
The Story Speaks Louder Than This Film
7 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE is a somber retelling of the events leading up to the massacre at (what is now) the Wounded Knee Memorial. But this isn't a documentary. This is a made-for-TV fictional retelling, and it is the "made-for-TV" bit that makes this important American event lose some of its composure.

The entire production flags because of the TV aspect, many of the film shots losing their impact either because of lack of attention to detail or funds (or probably both). Either way this could've been an extreme visual recollection for most viewers but instead it lacks the depth I would've liked to have seen.

Regardless, there are some stellar appearances and acting within it. August Schellenberg as Sitting Bull undeniably has the most impact. Recent movie viewers will probably remember him from his portrayal as Powhatan in THE NEW WORLD. The contrast between the character in The New World and here in Wounded Knee shouldn't be lost, either. Without Powhatan and Pocahontas, the white settlers at Jamestown would've perished within the first few winters. And now, in Wounded Knee, it is the white man who destroys what is left of Native American life; a terribly stark (and bloody) reality.

The other notables are Adam Beach (FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS) as Charles Eastman, and Aidan Quinn as Senator Henry Dawes. They spend a lot of time together on film and they played against/off each other exceptionally well. Charles being the "new wave" Indian who melds into the white man's way of life until exposed to reservation life at Pine Ridge. Henry Dawes seeing himself as "The Great White Savior Of The Indians" by passing legislation that loops a few nooses around the necks of the Plains Indians' way of life without even realizing it.

But other actors have little to offer. Anna Paquin (X-MEN) as Charles' white love interest (and eventual wife) is seen too infrequently so the relationship between the two has little impact. She does a good job of acting but the script stymied any possibility of real success. From here the acting dips into the drab and boring. I have to give mention to Senator Fred Thompson (currently a Republican runner for the U.S. Presidency) who plays President Ulysses S. Grant. We see maybe four frames of film with him in it and then he's gone. This surprised me greatly since it was Grant's administration that doomed Native Americans by rounding them up and placing them on reservations.

Despite my misgivings about the script, cinematography and acting, this is a vital story that needs to be told, and it isn't something that is normally taught in grade school or higher. Europeans (us) conquered this land and its people, and pushed them into holding pens where they, to this day, await justice for our multiple treaty violations and massacres of their men, women and children (I will say that the scenes depicting large-caliber rifle bullets ripping through young kids was filmed well and was equally hard to watch).

So the story gives this film a higher rating than anything within it, which is unfortunate, as this terrible moment in American history needs to be remembered just as much as Germany needs to remember its holocaust.


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