I have tried to limit this list to proper period dramas (no animated features or alternate histories) and arrange them…
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee
The Epic Fall of the American Indian
Beginning just after the bloody Sioux victory over General Custer at Little Big Horn, the story is told through two unique perspectives: Charles Eastman, a young, white-educated Sioux doctor held up as living proof of the alleged success of assimilation, and Sitting Bull the proud Lakota chief whose tribe won the American Indians’ last major victory at Little Big Horn.
Long movie, slow start, but excellent material to work with.
This movie is painful to watch, painful because it is true. For decades before this book came out, books and movies made Indians out to be cold blooded killers who attacked the white man at every turn. As this movie shows, this was not the case. This movie should be shown in every high school and/or the book should be required reading.
Every American needs to see this epic film! August Schellenberg was the perfect choice for Sitting Bull! His performance was one of the best parts of the film. Aidan Quinn plays a great ass when he needs to. Adam Beach once again nails his role. This is the story that American history books don't like to focus on. This film might make you cry. This film might help you understand the pain that Native Americans felt as their culture and way of life was ripped away from them by force.
"Sitting Bull? More like BullShitting." – James McLaugh
A review in haiku:
BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE
This land is your land
(for now). This land was made for
you and (mostly) me.
"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is not adaptable in the conventional sense. It's episodic, it's the story of many different Native American tribes and their conflicts with the U.S. government."
-Dan Giat, Screenwriter
"We talked a lot about adapting the book into a film, and it's damned if you do, damned if you don't, because if you go into one specific area you by default ignoring other aspects of the story that need telling. So what we decided on doing was really to stay in the period, focusing on the time that Sitting Bull had returned to Standing Rock Reservation, because that is a story that has never been told before in any great detail."
-Tom Thayer, Executive Producer…
An extremely powerful look at the shameful past of the United States and the massacres of the native North American nations. The movie houses on several story arcs and has an incredibly powerful and sorrowful ending. The tale is historically accurate and the cinematic quite impressive.
Rather conventional at times, but still a very strong movie. It's a good window into a difficult chapter of American history.
This well intentioned historical drama just can not bring its elements together in a way that fuses the drama to the history. Still it does work from time to time.
People should really read the book this is based on. What was done to the native american's was a disgrace. A good strong cast.
Every miniseries, made-for-television movie, special, or documentary ever nominated for an Emmy Award in any category.
Need to add:
A list of Native American portrayals in film