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Thunderheart (1992)

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A young mixed-blood FBI agent is assigned to work with a cynical veteran investigator on a murder on a poverty-stricken Sioux reservation.

Director:

Michael Apted

Writer:

John Fusco
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Val Kilmer ... Ray Levoi
Sam Shepard ... Frank Coutelle
Graham Greene ... Walter Crow Horse
Fred Ward ... Jack Milton
Fred Dalton Thompson ... William Dawes
Sheila Tousey Sheila Tousey ... Maggie Eagle Bear
Ted Thin Elk Ted Thin Elk ... Grandpa Sam Reaches (as Chief Ted Thin Elk)
John Trudell ... Jimmy Looks Twice
Julius Drum Julius Drum ... Richard Yellow Hawk
Sarah Brave Sarah Brave ... Maisy Blue Legs
Allan R.J. Joseph Allan R.J. Joseph ... Leo Fast Elk
Sylvan Pumpkin Seed Sylvan Pumpkin Seed ... Hobart
Patrick Massett ... Agent Mackey
Rex Linn ... FBI Agent
Brian A. O'Meara Brian A. O'Meara ... FBI Agent
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Storyline

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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Two men from different worlds. Two cops after the same killer. Together they must uncover the secrets. Together they must discover the truth.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, and for some areas of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures [UK]

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Sioux

Release Date:

3 April 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Coeur de tonnerre See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,507,425, 5 April 1992, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$22,660,758
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Squeeze (1977) was the first ever cinema thriller movie directed by British director Michael Apted. Apted would later go on to direct several other thrillers such as Enigma (2001), Enough (2002), Blink (1993), Thunderheart (1992), Gorky Park (1983), Class Action (1991), Extreme Measures (1996) and The World Is Not Enough (1999). See more »

Goofs

Bloodstain disappears from the right side of LeVoi's shirt. See more »

Quotes

William Dawes: [Authoritatively to Levoi] It's a sensitive operation. I want it closed in three days!
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Connections

Featured in Rich Hall's Inventing the Indian (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Gonna Take Time
Written and Performed by Ali Olmo
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Thunderheart : the American Indian lives on in American Soul
10 June 2005 | by LogicalimanSee all my reviews

Watching Val Kilmer execute a brilliant performance is not only entertaining, to say the least, but moving.

Kilmer comes to grips with his 1/4 Sioux background and with the forces of "civilization" as an FBI agent. The forces of civilization are the infamous greed and corruption, or "special interests" as some politicians prefer to use. The Sioux are accused of proud but reckless. They're right about the pride. What is omitted by the forces of civilization is the honor of these people.

Particularly engaging is the mysticism of the Sioux. FBI agent Ray Levoi (Kilmer) is gradually absorbed by this mysticism (as can be the audience), and opens greater insight into the real conflict.

While probably the majority of Americans cannot claim Native American heritage, surely, the land can. And belonging to the land, as Americans, that heritage must be ours as well. This film inspires one to feel such thoughts and feelings, especially if we feel attachment to (and presumably, love for) this land, America.

One most interesting observation about owls: one character says to Levoi, the FBI agent, "the owl is the messenger; it means somebody's going to die." That is a common interpretation in Mexico too, surely brought down by its Indians, the common vision there being that of a barn owl (lechuza, in Spanish).

This mysticism is very powerful in this film. I recommend it for quality acting performances, and high spirituality.


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