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Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee

309 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Inspired by Dee Brown's acclaimed bestseller, the HBO Films event begins powerfully with the Sioux triumph over General Custer at Little Big Horn. The action centers on the struggles of three characters: Charles Eastman (Adam Beach, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS), a young, Dartmouth-educated Sioux doctor; Sitting Bull (August Schellenberg, THE NEW WORLD), the proud Lakota chief who refuses to submit to U.S. government policies designed to strip his people of their identity, dignity and sacred land; and Senator Henry Dawes (Aidan Quinn, EMPIRE FALLS), one of the men responsible for the government policy on Indian affairs. While Eastman and schoolteacher Elaine Goodale (Anna Paquin, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND), work to improve life for the Sioux on the reservation, Senator Dawes lobbies President Grant for kinder Indian treatment. Epic in scope, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE is a new Western classic called "...insightful...deeply affecting...visually striking" by The Washington Post.

Special Features

-Audio Commentary
-Photo gallery
-Production Notes

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: April 26, 2011
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (309 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,190 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

172 of 185 people found the following review helpful By Bob Reece on August 8, 2007
Format: DVD
HBO's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" is not a mini-series; in fact, it only covers the last two chapters of Brown's book and runs a little over two hours. The film would have been better titled, The Last Days of the Sioux Nation: Second Edition

There are many historical inaccuracies in this film; some are big, and some are small. Director Yves Simoneau recounts the story of reservation life, the taking of Indian lands and the debate that ensued. Choosing drama, as opposed to a documentary style, to recount these subjects is most challenging. When one looks past the inaccuracies in "Wounded Knee", one will discover many moments of brilliance.

So, let us undo some of the most important snafus first:

* The film opens with a young Ohiyesa -- Charles Eastman living in the village at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Eastman was never there.
* Sitting Bull physically lashes his men for attempting to flee Canada for their old homeland. This was never the case. Sitting Bull did use the akicita (similar to law enforcement officers) to keep people from leaving Canada. The film accurately portrays why Sitting Bull took the actions he did.
* Sitting Bull surrenders at Standing Rock instead of Ft. Buford.
* Charles Eastman was not the right-hand man to Dawes in developing what would later become the Dawes Act.

"Wounded Knee" indeed seems to be two films. The first covers the latter years of Sitting Bull's (August Schellenberg) life which are filled with triumph and defeat, greatness and loneliness. The second involves the rescue of a culture gasping its last breath.
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125 of 140 people found the following review helpful By James A. Holland on February 22, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Bury My a decent film. I always welcome any film that, respectfully and honestly, tries to deal with native american subject matters.
However; this film was simply too riddled with historical inaccuracies to be what it should have been.
The first problem arises in that Dee Brown's book in itself romantizises the massacre at wounded knee. To base a film on a book that is already flawed, from a native point of view, is tatamount to building a house on quicksand.

Ok let's look at the character of Ohiysa, or Dr. Charles Eastman, portrayed by Adam Beach.
Ohiyesa was Whappeton-Sisseton the film he is portrayed as LAKOTA. To most people that won't matter much, but for both the Lakota and Dakota people it does.
He sometimes speaks in Lakota....which, as a Dakota, he most certainly would not have. True, both dialects are mutually understandable and are of siouan origin, but Ohiyesa would certainly have spoken his Whappeton Dakota dialect....not the Oglalla Lakota dialect.
Then he is placed in the wrong place and time. Ohiyesa was nowhere near the greasy grass (little big-horn) when the lakota camp was attacked by Reno and his men. In fact, he was a state away up in North Dakota or further over in Minnesota....not in Montana where the battle took place.
Neither was he ever close to the wounded knee massacre. He WAS the agency physician at Pine Ridge, Oglalla Lakota Reservation, but not at the time of the battle at wounded knee.

Chief Tatanka Iyotake...Sitting Bull. August Schellenberg did a good job with the script he was given. What bothers me however, is that in almost all native type movies the actors are forced to speak in a very awckward manner which comes across as phoney and contrieved.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on January 7, 2008
Format: DVD
BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE is a somber retelling of the events leading up to the massacre at (what is now) the Wounded Knee Memorial. But this isn't a documentary. This is a made-for-TV fictional retelling, and it is the "made-for-TV" bit that makes this important American event lose some of its composure.

The entire production flags because of the TV aspect, many of the film shots losing their impact either because of lack of attention to detail or funds (or probably both). Either way this could've been an extreme visual recollection for most viewers but instead it lacks the depth I would've liked to have seen.

Regardless, there are some stellar appearances and acting within it. August Schellenberg as Sitting Bull undeniably has the most impact. Recent movie viewers will probably remember him from his portrayal as Powhatan in The New World. The contrast between the character in The New World and here in Wounded Knee shouldn't be lost, either. Without Powhatan and Pocahontas, the white settlers at Jamestown would've perished within the first few winters. And now, in Wounded Knee, it is the white man who destroys what is left of Native American life; a terribly stark (and bloody) reality.

The other notables are Adam Beach (Flags of Our Fathers) as Charles Eastman, and Aidan Quinn (Legends of the Fall) as Senator Henry Dawes. They spend a lot of time together on film and they played against/off each other exceptionally well.
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