7.2/10
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134 user 42 critic

Smoke Signals (1998)

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Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversize glasses and telling everyone stories no-one wants to hear. His parents died in a fire in 1976, and Thomas was saved by... See full summary »

Director:

Chris Eyre

Writers:

Sherman Alexie (book), Sherman Alexie (screenplay)
12 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Adam Beach ... Victor Joseph
Evan Adams ... Thomas Builds-the-Fire
Irene Bedard ... Suzy Song
Gary Farmer ... Arnold Joseph
Tantoo Cardinal ... Arlene Joseph
Cody Lightning ... Young Victor Joseph
Simon Baker ... Young Thomas Builds-the-Fire
Monique Mojica Monique Mojica ... Grandma Builds-the-Fire
John Trudell ... Randy Peone
Chief Leonard George Chief Leonard George ... Lester Fallsapart (as Leonard George)
Michael Greyeyes ... Junior Polatkin
Darwin Haine ... Boo
Michelle St. John ... Velma
Elaine Miles ... Lucy
Cynthia Geary ... Cathy the Gymnast
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Storyline

Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversize glasses and telling everyone stories no-one wants to hear. His parents died in a fire in 1976, and Thomas was saved by Arnold. Arnold soon left his family (and his tough son Victor), and Victor hasn't seen his father for 10 years. When Victor hears Arnold has died, Thomas offers him funding for the trip to get Arnold's remains, but only if Thomas can also go with him. Thomas and Victor hit the road. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A new film from the heart of Native America.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some intense images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 November 1998 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona See more »

Filming Locations:

Idaho, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$43,574, 28 June 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,719,300, 18 October 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The first movie to be written, directed, and co-produced by Native Americans. See more »

Goofs

There is no way that one bus driver could have driven the same bus continuously from Idaho to Arizona. Federal law would prohibit it. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Sometimes it's a good day to die, and sometimes it's a good day to have breakfast.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Support HONOR/EARTH campaign. Support American Indian College Fund. Contributions from the profits of this film will be made to each of these organizations. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jersey Girl (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Treaties
(1995)
Music by Jim Boyd
Lyrics by Sherman Alexie
Performed by Jim Boyd and Debra Ludwig (as Debra), Pam Ludwig (as Pam) and Lori Ludwig
Courtesy of Thunderwolf Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Overlooked masterpiece
13 February 2003 | by andiam123See all my reviews

This film did not get the attention it deserved. When I first heard about a film made by Native Americans, I was afraid it would be an exercise in political correctness. But the ethnicity of the characters took a back seat to the universal themes of friendship and learning to come to terms with one's past. This is one of the greatest "buddy movies" ever made. A couple of years after I saw it I drove through the American Southwest for the first time, and images of the film kept coming into my head. This is a film which really stays with you.


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