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Geronimo: An American Legend 1993

Subtitles
4.3 out of 5 stars (42) IMDb 6.5/10

Walter Hill's revisionist western tells the story of the native American chief Geronimo (Wes Studi) after his homeland is overrun by the migrant whites. Betrayed by General George Crook (Gene Hackman), Geronimo gathers a small group of fellow warriors and together they leave their reservation and head out on a war party.

Starring:
Jason Patric, Gene Hackman
Runtime:
1 hour, 55 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Action & Adventure
Director Walter Hill
Starring Jason Patric, Gene Hackman
Supporting actors Robert Duvall, Wes Studi, Matt Damon, Rodney A. Grant, Kevin Tighe, Steve Reevis, Carlos Palomino, Victor Aaron, Stuart Proud Eagle Grant, Stephen McHattie, John Finn, Lee de Broux, Rino Thunder, Hoke Howell, Richard Martin Jr., J. Young, Raliegh Wilson, Jackie Old Coyote
Studio Sony Pictures International
BBFC rating Suitable for 12 years and over
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This could have been a great film but, for a number of reasons, it falls just short of greatness, being a good rather than a classic western.

It certainly seems extremely authentic in costume, weaponry etc and the countryside is well filmed with the long sweeping shots that remind me of many previous, well loved westerns. The action is also well handled and fairly realistic.

Wes Studi makes a very impressive and credible Geronimo. It's about the best depiction of him that I've ever seen. The only trouble is, we don't see enough of him, getting more of Patric and Damon instead. Their stories are interesting but this is supposed to be a film about Geronimo after all.

We have some good performances here in supporting roles with Robert Duval and Gene Hackman as reliable as ever. It was good to see characters who couldn't make their minds up about the Apache as well as the hardline extremists in this film. Robert Duval's character is a good example of this, half hating and half admiring his long term adversaries.

The Apaches are represented fairly well but Wes Studi gives the most memorable performance by far as you'd expect. I am glad that this film doesn't shy away from depicting atrocities committed by both sides and, while the Apache are certainly depicted as the main victims, this film is reasonably even handed in its approach. That said, the Mexicans don't get much of a look in and the majority of the fighting Geronimo was involved with was against them. After all, Geronimo is his Spanish name as this film reveals.

As another reviewer pointed out, I noticed a few homages to the Magnificent Seven and Ulzana's Raid. This is a shame in many ways as a film ought to be able to stand on its own and not 'borrow' from others.
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Format: DVD
A western for grown-ups. By that I mean it treats the Native Americans with respect and honour, but doesn't demonise all of the white Americans as rapacious, mercenary fools. Sure, there are plenty of those in the film, but they're not stereotypes - rather they are there to explain the motivation for the US Government and the settlers, miners and (appallingly) the bounty hunters. The performances - to my naive eyes at least - were convincing and honest. In particular, Robert Duvall portrays his character very well with all the ambivalent attitude towards the Native Americans one would expect of a jaundiced old "Indian fighter". Wes Studi has an intensity in the role of Geronimo that conveys his character's humanity, self-belief and intelligence. Jason Patric is believable as the honourable army officer and Gene Hackman, as always, is 100% value-for-money as the (enlightened for his time) general.
If you want a shoot-them-up, gung-ho western, forget it, but if you want an interesting, intelligent and sincere perspective on the end of an era, then have a look at this movie.
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Format: DVD
There's a lot wrong with Walter Hill's Geronimo: An American Legend. For a start, there's far too little of the magnificent Wes Studi and far too much of the unconvincingly one-note (and an off-key note at that) Jason Patric and a milquetoast Matt Damon when we want to spend more time with Geronimo. As John Milius said, "I wrote a script about a mighty warrior chief. They made a film about a ***king white male model." Not to mention film critic Larry Gross' rewrite is overly partial to other movies, particularly The Magnificent Seven and Alan Sharp's script for Ulzana's Raid. And, like all historical manhunt movies, it winds down as attrition wins over courage. Yet despite its flaws it's still one of the most impressive American Westerns of the past few decades.

Geronimo may be sidelined for much of the picture, but when Wes Studi is allowed centerstage, he burns with the intensity of a supernova in a performance at once ferocious yet controlled, giving a sense not just of the rage and calculated violence but of the sadness that drives it. He's a proud man, but also a constantly disappointed one. When he's on screen, everyone else might as well not be there. When he isn't, Gene Hackman's General Crook and Robert Duvall's tracker Al Sieber provide enough believable old-school professionalism to compensate for Patric and Damon.

Then there's the film's extraordinary visual sense. Unlike most modern films (including Hill's own subsequent Western, Wild Bill) it really embraces the landscape and isn't afraid of strikingly composed extreme long shots to give a real sense of scale to the picture.
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Format: DVD
I have discovered this film very lately. The cast is very powerful and the Apache legend Geronimo is played by Wes Studi who acts brilliantly. The life of the Apaches is pictured in a realistic way. The US Government's Indian policy towards the real landowners is shocking. The Apache can not understand why he has to move elsewhere leaving his territory to the White men. Then he takes up arms against Government. Of course the historical development of capitalism stops at no barrier getting away with local cultures, destroying their livelihood, committing incredible crimes aganist humanity. Gene Hackman portrays a general caught between his feelings and the duties placed upon him by the Army.A sad end awaits Geronimo and his friends as they lay their arms after years of fighting. The most devatated ones are the Apaches who betrayed their own people to help the US Army. The Army no longer needs them and they are forced to join their Apache people in the open air prisons.We need to mention the local civilian cowboys who massacre the helpless Indian women and children for the killing's sake. Robert Duvall portrays a famous Apache hunter whose name has to be forgotten.All in all a good film worth watching.
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