After a cavalry group is massacred by the Cheyenne, only two survivors remain: Honus, a naive private devoted to his duty, and Cresta, a young woman who had lived with the Cheyenne two years and whose sympathies lie more with them than with the US government. Together, they must try to reach the cavalry's main base camp. As they travel onward, Honus is torn between his growing affection for Cresta, and his disgust for her anti-American beliefs. They reach the cavalry campsite on the eve of an attack on a Cheyenne village, where Honus will learn which side has really been telling him the truth.Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
Released in August 1970, the film drew attention for its frank depictions of violence, specifically its graphic final sequence. Some film scholars have cited Soldier Blue as a critique of America's "archetypal art form [the Western]," with other interpretations ranging from it being an anti-war picture to an exploitation film. See more »
The voice-over at the end of the film describes the events we have just witnessed as taking place in 1864.However,earlier in the movie Honus tells Cresta that his father was killed at the battle of Little Bighorn which occurred in 1876. See more »
The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC upon release to remove the decapitation of an Indian squaw and a scene where an Indian woman is raped and her breasts hacked with a knife. The UK Embassy video release in 1986 restored the beheading but was cut by 36 seconds by the BBFC with edits made to the rape scene, a horsefall, and a shot of a naked Indian woman strung up by her wrists with blood on her breasts. The 1998 BMG version had been pre-edited and reframed by the distributor and excluded the shot of the Indian woman, though this version was then cut by 23 seconds by the BBFC for further cruel horsefalls and with the rape scene still significantly reduced. The full version was submitted in 2005 and, although the BBFC only required 6 seconds of horsefall edits, the distributor(Momentum Pictures) made further additional cuts of 22 seconds, mainly to the rape scene. The 2008 Optimum DVD restores all the violence with only 6 secs of horsefalls still cut. See more »
Anti-US military Western with Peter Strauss and Candice Bergen
Released in 1970 and directed by Ralph Nelson, "Soldier Blue" is a Western starring Peter Strauss and Candice Bergen as a soldier and Native sympathizer, the only two survivors of a cavalry group Massacred by the Cheyenne. As they travel together to get back to the soldier's unit he struggles with his affection for the woman and a revulsion for her anti-US government outlook. Then he sees the awful truth.
This controversial Western showcases the atrocities of the US Army against Native Americans wherein the average US Cavalry solder is depicted as a shifty, droop-eyed, unwashed, stupid cracker idiot with flies buzzing around his head. The opening Indian attack is set in order to align the audience's sympathies with Honus (Strauss, the 'Soldier Blue' of the title), so that the viewer travels on the same journey as him, starting by regarding the Indians as murderous barbarians, and ending up forced to confront the idea that maybe his kin are just as barbaric when the occasion is 'right' (or, should I say, wrong).
The final massacre is shocking, but hampered by the film's insistence on stacking the deck so completely in terms of depicting the US military as savages dripping with ee-vil. In other words, it loses its impact because it's so overdone.
In reality, utterly barbaric attacks applied to both uncivilized Natives and the civilized Europeans, but more so with the former, which is documented. Since the 60s-70s there has been an overemphasis on the injustices committed by the US Army or settlers and we get a handful of examples: Wounded Knee, Bear River and Sand Creek (the latter being what "Soldier Blue" is based on). Yet we never hear the other side of what caused these events nor do we hear of the atrocities of Natives committed against New Americans. For instance, we never hear of the Dakota "War" of 1862 (Santee Sioux went on the war path and murdered between 600-800 white settlers, which constituted the largest death toll inflicted upon American civilians by an enemy force until 9/11), The Ward Massacre, The Nez Perce uprising which killed dozens of settlers in Idaho and Wyoming, and the Massacre at Fort Mims. We never hear of the countless innocent settlers who were murdered by roaming bands of young "warriors": While a chief was signing a peace treaty on the tribe's behalf they were out robbing, raping and murdering.
I'm just saying that it's easy to be pro-Native sitting on the comfort of your sofa, but not so much when you and your loved ones are threatened with torture & slaughter.
The Europeans wanted the Native's land and resources while the Indians wanted the technology of the Europeans. Both sides used treaties to make peace while still trying to get what they wanted when war was too expensive. Both sides made war when they felt no other option.
I love Native American culture, but the whitewashing of Native atrocities and this revisionist history stuff is dishonest and unbalanced. "Soldier Blue" is guilty of this but, as a movie, it's entertaining and its message is necessary in light of all the movies that depict Indians as sub-human savages to be gunned down on the spot.
The film runs 114 minutes and was shot in Mexico.
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