An FBI man with Sioux background is sent to a reservation to help with a murder investigation, where he has to come to terms with his heritage. Slowly he rejects the intimidating tactics of his fellow FBI agents, who are not so interested in solving the crime as covering up an incriminating situation with the locals, and as he becomes more tuned to his heritage, the locals begin trusting him. Based on actual Reservation occurrences of the '70s.Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Two hundred and fifty Native Americans worked as extras on the movie. See more »
After Maggie Eagle-Bear's son is shot in the arm, the volume and pattern of blood covers nearly his entire upper arm. In the next camera shot, the volume of blood is significantly less and a different pattern. In the third camera shot, the blood volume returns to the same as the first shot. See more »
The version prepared by Tristar for commercial television showing featured 270 separate cuts, removing 22 minutes of footage. To shorter the film even further, the film was time-compressed to gain an additional 4 minutes, and the credits speeded-up to lose another 2 minutes. Director Michael Apted asked to have his name removed from the mutilated TV version, or have a disclaimer shown before the title credits, stating that he disowned that version. After legal litigation, Tristar opted to remove Apted's name and credit the TV version to pseudonymous director Alan Smithee. See more »
Written and Performed by Bruce Springsteen
Courtesy of Columbia Records
by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing See more »
Apted's best outing as a director
Michael Apted has had a few indifferent movies, but Thunderheart is in my view his best. Apted spotlights the tribal Indian community in Badlands, South Dakota, exploring the mysticism of the Sioux culture and examining the impact of its forced co-existence with the modern American way of life. This juxtaposed mix of two cultures is best exemplified by Val Kilmer, who plays a young, brash and cocky FBI investigator with Sioux blood sent "back home" to investigate a homicide.
The murder investigation proves to be the tip of the iceberg, revealing a greater conspiracy to steal the land away from the Sioux. There is a surreal edge to the movie throughout, balanced well with an engaging and gripping story line. Kilmer is at his best here, aided well by a great supporting cast. The action was thick and fast, surrounded by an aura of mystical magic that was best supplied by James Horner's thumping soundtrack. For two hours I was enthralled. This is an excellent movie.
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