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Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)

Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (original title)
A cynical Buffalo Bill hires Sitting Bull to exploit him and add his credibility to the distorted view of history presented in his Wild West Show.

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Arthur Kopit (suggested by the play "Indians" by), Alan Rudolph (screen story) | 3 more credits »
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... The Star (William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody)
Joel Grey ... The Producer (Nate Salisbury)
Kevin McCarthy ... The Publicist (Maj. John Burke)
Harvey Keitel ... The Relative (Ed Goodman)
Allan F. Nicholls ... The Journalist (Prentiss Ingraham) (as Allan Nicholls)
Geraldine Chaplin ... The Sure Shot (Annie Oakley)
John Considine ... The Sure Shot's Manager (Frank Butler)
Robert DoQui ... The Wrangler (Oswald Dart) (as Robert Doqui)
Mike Kaplan ... The Treasurer (Jules Keen)
Bert Remsen ... The Bartender (Crutch)
Bonnie Leaders Bonnie Leaders ... The Mezzo-Contralto (Margaret)
Noelle Rogers Noelle Rogers ... The Lyric-Coloratura (Lucille DuCharme)
Evelyn Lear ... The Lyric-Soprano (Nina Cavallini)
Denver Pyle ... The Indian Agent (McLaughlin)
Frank Kaquitts Frank Kaquitts ... The Indian (Sitting Bull)
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Storyline

Buffalo Bill plans to put on his own Wild West sideshow, and Chief Sitting Bull has agreed to appear in it. However, Sitting Bull has his own hidden agenda, involving the President and General Custer. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The wildest Wild West show of them all !

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Features a cast of over five hundred. See more »

Goofs

Sitting Bull joined Cody's show in 1885. The performing arena shows several Wyoming state flags, but Wyoming wasn't granted statehood until 1890, and that flag wasn't adopted until 1917. See more »

Quotes

William F. 'Buffalo Bill' Cody: Where were ya?
William Halsey: It's the first of the moon.
Nate Salisbury: That's not what Buffalo Bill asked ya! Now where in the hell have you been?
William Halsey: During the first day of the first moon, Sitting Bull visits the sun in the mountains while his squaws move the teepees to the moon path.
Nate Salisbury: Damn it, Halsey! Stop sunning and mooning us! Now where the hell have you been?
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Crazy Credits

Robert Altman's Absolutely Unique and Heroic Enterprise of Inimitable Lustrel See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Robert Altman (2001) See more »

User Reviews

 
A very uneven film, prone to excesses
28 October 2002 | by LumpenproleSee all my reviews

I really enjoyed some of Buffalo Bill and the Indians. The first half hour of the film is Altman doing what he does best, the camera wanders around a fully-realized world built from the ground up and peopled by Altman. The overlapping dialogue is great and the casting looks perfect. I think the film peaks with the scene where Bill and Annie Oakley are target practicing - Altman weaves together firearms, sex, showbusiness and relationships into a pretty funny scene.

Then the Indians show up. Sitting Bull and William Halsey are portrayed as noble, mysterious and aloof. The movie spirals into a series of events where they confound the smarmy Bill Cody over and over. The last hour of the movie requires Newman to act more and more flustered by Sitting Bull until he has a really cringeworthy breakdown in front of a ghostly Sitting Bull. Maybe there was more fresh drama in watching a white profiteer abase himself before noble Injuns in 1976. It's hard for me believe that anyone but the most hardcore sentimentalist will find the drama between Cody and Bull interesting.

Anyway, there's stuff for hardcore Altman fans to watch for. Newman is initially impressive in his role and then sputters. The pageants and attention to details that Altman excels at are well done. Ultimately the themes of showbiz and history wilt before the rambling blah of the noble savage.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1979) | (video)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo | Dolby (Stereo)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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