by Jack Nilan            EMail : jacknilan@yahoo.com

  1. Last of the Mohicans (1992)
  2. Atanarjuat : The Fast Runner (2001)
  3. Dances with Wolves (1990)
  4. Black Robe (1991)
  5. Dreamkeeper (2003)
  6. Fort Apache (1948)
  7. Cabaza de Vaca (1991)
  8. The New World (1995)
  9. Little Big Man (1970)
  10. Ulzana's Raid (1972)
  11. Apocalypto (2006)
  12. Windwalker (1980)
  13. The Silent Enemy (1930)
  14. The Searchers (1956)
  15. Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
  16. A Man Called Horse (1970)
  17. Nanook of the North (1922)
  18. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
  19. Hondo (1953)
  20. Rio Grande (1950)
  21. She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949)
  22. Broken Arrow (1950)
  23. Tomahawk (1951)
  24. In the Land of the War Canoes (1914)
  25. Run of the Arrow (1957)
  26. Son of the Morning Star (1991)
  27. The Plainsman (1936)
  28. I Will Fight No More Forever (1975)
  29. Last of the Mohicans (1936)
  30. Apache (1954)
  31. Geronimo : American Legend (1993)
  32. Devil's Doorway (1950)
  33. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)
  34. Song of Hiawatha (1997)
  35. Canyon Passage (1946)
  36. The Savage Innocents (1960)
  37. Ishi : The Last of His Tribe (1992)
  38. Drum Beat (1954)
  39. Into the West (2005)
  40. Seminole (1953)
  41. Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
  42. The Savage (1952)
  43. The Vanishing American (1925)
  44. The Great Sioux Uprising (1953)
  45. Last of the Dogmen (1995)
  46. Meek's Cutoff (2010)
  47. Eskimo (1933)
  48. Soldier Blue (1970)
  49. They Died with Their Boots On (1941)
  50. Geronimo (1962)
  51. Pillars of the Sky (1956)
  52. Trooper Hook (1957)
  53. Distant Drums (1951)
  54. Across the Wide Missouri (1951)
  55. The Lone Ranger (2013)
  56. Buffalo Bill and the Indians (1976)
  57. Column South (1953)
  58. Eagle's Wing (1979)
  59. Yellowstone Kelly (1959)
  60. Buffalo Bill (1944)
  61. The Stalking Moon (1968)
  62. Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)
  63. Seven Cities of Gold (1955)
  64. The Last Frontier (1955)
  65. The Missing (2003)
  66. Comanche Territory (1950)
  67. The Unforgiven (1960)
  68. Comanche (1956)
  69. Squanto : A Warrior's Tale (1994)
  70. Tecumseh : The Last Warrior (1995)
  71. Pawnee (1957)
  72. The Glory Guys (1965)
  73. Kings of the Sun (1963)
  74. The Squaw Man (1931)
  75. Return of a Man Called Horse (1976)
  76. Wind River (2000)
  77. Indian Paint (1965)
  78. White Feather (1955)
  79. The Battle at Apache Pass (1952)
  80. Taze: Son of Cochise (1954)
  81. Winterhawk (1975)
  82. Buffalo Soldiers (1997)
  83. The Indian Fighter (1955)
  84. Chief Crazy Horse (1955)
  85. War Drums (1957)
  86. Navajo Joe (1966)
  87. The Sons of the Great Bear (1966)
  88. Sacred Ground (1983)
  89. The Far Horizons (1955)
  90. War Arrow (1953)
  91. Ride Out for Revenge (1957)
  92. Pathfinder (2007)
  93. Grayeagle (1977)
  94. The Mountain Men (1980)


This web site is attempting to list, review and create some discussion about the best movies ever made about American Indians in the pre-assimilation era. The movies listed here focuses on Native Americans living in their traditional ways. I consider this era to be up to around the time of Wounded Knee in 1890.

     In considering which movies to include I have considered how big a role Indians had in the movie's plot, how well the movie showed the Native Americans lifestyle, how the Indians were portrayed and how good the movie was. The biggest factor for me was how good the movie was.

     Some of the movies, such as in Ulzana's Raid, will have portrayals that some may consider to be negative. Others, like Dances with Wolves, will have a view that some may consider too idealistic. Hopefully, all the movies included in this list will have some redeeming values.

     History is written by the winners but that doesn't mean that we have to go along with the traditional Hollywood view of Native Americans. There have been some strong portrayals of Indians in the movies. I think a case can be made for several movie representations of Native Americans, who can be viewed as patriots, fighting against an alien invading force. Magua in Last of the Mohicans (1992), Scar in The Searchers, Captain Jack in Drum Beat, Ulzana, Massai and Geronimo are just a few portrayals that can be considered positive when examined from a Native point of view.

     I realize that the term "best" is very subjective when it comes to discussing movies. What one person considers the best movie ever made, someone else may consider one of the worst. Some people consider The Searchers to have one of the most negative portrayals ever of Native Americans, while others consider it to be one of the most positive. Movies about Native Americans reflect the changing attitudes of American society towards Native American history and of the American treatment of them. Was Magua a hero or was he a villain? It really all just depends on your point of view.



Essays










Jack Nilan                   The Best Native American Movies                  2006 - 2012


Custom Search



American Indian Webring
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >> ]