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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 »
Reviews
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

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's closing credits declare that the picture was "Filmed entirely on the Stoney Indian Reserve, Alberta, Canada". 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: The difference between a white man and an injun in all situations is that an injun is red. And an injun is red for a very good reason. So we can tell us apart.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Altman (2014) See more »

User Reviews

Interesting, like all Altman films, but not his best.
11 August 2006 | by McGonigleSee all my reviews

This movie is certainly worth watching if you're an Altman fan, or a fan of revisionist Westerns. The performances are great (as per usual when Altman is at the helm) and the movie is entertaining enough on its own merits.

The two biggest flaws, though, are these: Compared to most of Altman's films, much of the dialogue in this movie is very "stagy" and theatrical. I suppose it's supposed to be that way because of the questions of "myth" and "legend" that the story concerns itself with, but my impression was that such theatrical-sounding dialogue didn't mesh well with Altman's typically naturalistic style of filming.

The other problem I had is that the whole subject matter -- myth vs. reality, history vs. reality, show business vs. reality, etc. -- isn't really explored with any depth or subtlety. We're constantly being reminded that Buffalo Bill is a man who created his own legend out of lies, and that that is the basis of modern show business to this day, but really, that just didn't strike me as being a particularly insightful observation. This is hardly the first movie to point out that lies are often more "real" (or more attractive) than the truth, and Altman doesn't seem to bring anything new to the table.

Still, it's Altman, which means it's well-made, entertaining and beautiful to look at. I don't think this will ever be considered one of his major works but it's certainly worth a look.


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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

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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