6 user 23 critic

Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015)

With an older brother in jail and living with their single mother on Pine Ridge Reservation, Johnny and his sister Jashuan's lives develop new challenges when their absentee cowboy father ... See full summary »



5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Director: Chloé Zhao
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Credited cast:
Wambli BearRunner ...
Auntie Wambli
Lisa Winters
Dakota Brown ...
Dakota Fire Thunder
Cat Clifford ...
Cat Clifford
Jorge Dullknife ...
Jorge Iron Bear
Aurelia Clifford
Shamauri Hawkins ...
Angie Britt
Travis Lone Hill ...
Travis Lone Hill
Kevin Hunter ...
Kevin Winters
Derrick Janis ...
Victor Chasing Hawk
Lauren Janis ...
Lauren Janis
Gabby Montileaux ...
Gabby Iron Bear
Dorothy Nelson ...
Third customer
Allen Reddy ...
Bill Britt


With an older brother in jail and living with their single mother on Pine Ridge Reservation, Johnny and his sister Jashuan's lives develop new challenges when their absentee cowboy father suddenly dies. The loss prompts Johnny to strike out for Los Angeles, but would mean leaving behind his beloved sister. Written by Red Haircrow

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



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Release Date:

9 September 2015 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Les chansons que mes frères m'ont apprises  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,430 (USA) (4 March 2016)


$34,195 (USA) (6 May 2016)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


On a DVD extra, director Chloé Zhao said of the tight budget, light plotting, and neo-realist style casting, "We're capturing truth - because truth is the only thing we can afford." The production used mostly local residents as actors, and, according to Zhao, 80% of the story depicted is true to the actual life of the young man playing Johnny Winters (John Reddy). The house that Winters lives in is the house that Reddy lived in, and Reddy, also one of twenty-five children to one father, has many of his real family members playing members of his family. In fact, the man shown delivering the eulogy for Winters' father is Reddy's actual father. See more »

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User Reviews

Very Worth Seeing
26 July 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I enjoyed the film, a contemporary portrait of growing up and coming of age in America in a very different setting and culture than most. Early on, the movie gave me the distinct feeling of watching a documentary rather than a fiction with rehearsed actors. Images tell the stories as much as the dialog, which is very spare. The characters seem very real, as real as their scruffy surroundings. A worthwhile portrait of a part of society most of us won't see, "really" see. The Badlands scenery is very stark and so are (most) of the lives depicted. It's interesting that I saw this film in a contemporary arts center, where it played for two nights. It seems films like this struggle to get on enough screens in enough places to get noticed much. Maybe some people will get to see in on video, I hope.

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